Cape Town - Even though it was a dead-rubber for the first time in the series everyone had a contest to savour.
But ultimately the result remained the same with the Proteas completing a memorable 3-0 cleansweep over India. It was just revenge for Temba Bavuma's side after the 5-1 drubbing India dished out the last time they were here in 2018.
In another major step in the development of this Proteas team, the bowlers held their nerve to close out a tense four- run victory as the sun set over Table Mountain on another scorching day in Cape Town.
India seemed to have found an unlikely hero in Deepak Chahar with the all-rounder striking a blitzkrieg half-century to take the game down to the wire after Virat Kohli (65) and Shikhar Dhawan (61) had provided the earlier momentum in trying to hunt down South Africa's 287 all out.
The Proteas, though, had looked to be sailing towards a series cleansweep until Chahar, who was playing his first game of the series, struck 54 off just 34 balls (5x4, 2x6) to swing the momentum back towards the visitors.
But with Chahar dismissed with 16 runs still required when Lungi Ngidi flummoxed him with a slower ball, it left just too much for tailenders Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal and Prasidh Krishna to do with Andile Phehlukwayo (3/40) and Dwaine Pretorius (2/54) closing out the innings.
The entire contest had though earlier been set up by the brilliance of Quinton de Kock.
Proteas captain Temba Bavuma had promised prior to the start of the series that De Kock "will have a point to prove". He certainly showed that with successive innings of 78 and 124 off 130 balls (12x4, 2x6) on Sunday.
It was a vintage De Kock with a flurry of belligerent strokes streaming off his bat all around the ground. The slap straight down the ground to proceed to 99 was particularly special.
South Africa were utterly dominant during the period De Kock was at the crease with Rassie van der Dussen after the early loss of Janneman Malan (1), Temba Bavuma (8) and Aiden Markram (15).
💯 A century for Quinton de Kock💯— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) January 23, 2022
A special knock as the Proteas opener brings up his 17th career ton in this format. It’s also his sixth career ton against India.
📺 Stream #SAvIND live: https://t.co/0BMWdeEYT3 pic.twitter.com/W3mOr44Vzl
The pair added 144 for the fourth wicket of 143 balls pushing the total to 214 in just the 36th over. Van der Dussen brought up his 10th ODI half-century in the process.
Although South Africa's innings took a downward spiral after the loss of De Kock and Van der Dussen in successive overs, they ultimately had just enough to squeeze out a victory that will be remembered for a while.