Team India started off on a winning note in the ODI series by winning the first ODI of the series, thereby drawing the first blood. Virat Kohli's scored 112 while Rahane scored 79 to set the platform for a comfortable victory.
Thanks to Kohli's 112, India registered a comprehensive victory against South Africa in Durban as they chased down 270 with over fours overs to spare and six wickets remaining. However, the foundation of the facile win was laid after Kohli was joined by Rahane for a record 189-run stand for the third wicket. India lost their openers with 67 on board after South Africa posted 269/8 with captain Faf du Plessis scoring 120.
Kohli and Rahane then joined forces to steer the innings. Rahane, who was excluded from the first two games of the three-Test series that preceded the ODIs, struck a half-century studded with five fours and two sixes. He was out after scoring 79 off 86 with India just 14 runs away from sealing the victory.
In his column for TOI, Ganguly specifically pointed out the contribution of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ajinkya Rahane.
"I am extremely happy to see the way Ajinkya Rahane and Bhuvneshwar Kumar stamped their authority once again. They are invaluable to this team," he wrote. "Rahane's performance was not a surprise because he is a class act. Along with his quality as a batsman, what he needs to learn from his skipper is how to get a hundred. Maybe a dinner together will help! His knock of 79 in the first ODI was as good as Virat's but the difference is that Virat very rarely misses out on a ton once he is set."
He also kept a word on India's dominating performance in the match. "I am not surprised to see the performance of Kohli and his boys. The victory at Wanderers will be etched in the minds of the Kohli brigade. The value of this sort of win is not measured as just another win — its effect is far reaching and we saw that in the ODI in Durban where India dominated."
Ganguly said that although South Africa will miss the services of AB de Villiers for the next two ODIs and Faf du Plessis for the rest of the series owing to his finger injury, there is still a lot of cricket to be played.
"There is still a lot of cricket to be played but I have a feeling that India have delivered the first psychological blow to South Africa over the last two matches. South Africa, without [AB] De Villiers and [Dale] Steyn, have a big hole in their side," he observed.