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India's vs South Africa: 5 Key Moments

June 07, 2019 08:20 IST

India announced themselves as one of the favourites for the World Cup with their convincing 6 wicket victory against struggling South Africa.

Rohit's unbeaten century and Yuzvendra Chahal's superb show with the ball along with Jasprit Bumrah helped India begin their campaign with a confident victory in Southampton on Wednesday.

Harish Kotian/Rediff.com picks the key moments in India's convincing win:

Rohit's responsible knock

Rohit Sharma

IMAGE: Rohit Sharma hit a confident, unbeaten, century. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Rohit Sharma anchored the run chase with an unbeaten 122 off 144 balls in conditions not exactly conducive for free-flowing stroke-play after the Indian bowlers had restricted South Africa to a below-par 227/9 after they elected to bat.

Rohit, who was dropped on 1 in the slips, played responsibly in the middle overs as he scored his 23rd ODI century.

He attacked South Africa's leg-spinners Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi as India reached 230/4 from 47.3 overs, condemning the ailing Proteas to a third successive loss and leave their World Cup hopes in disarray.

Rohit struggled initially against Kagiso Rabada who had him in trouble against the short ball. The India opener once fended a short ball uppishly, but it went over the point fielder and he was dropped by Faf du Plessis in the slips.

The experienced Rohit was made to work hard, but made sure he didn't throw away all the hard work despite batting cautiously against his natural approach.

With Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli perishing cheaply, Rohit took the onus upon himself to take the team home.

Little wonder Captain Virat Kohli termed it as Rohit's best innings in ODI cricket.

 

Partnerships proved crucial in middle overs

IMAGE: Rohit Sharma, left, with Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

After the two early jolts, Rohit did well to guide K L Rahul in the middle overs and then build another useful partnership with Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Rahul on his World Cup debut was batting at the crucial No 4 position, and with India not chasing a big target, had the luxury of playing himself in.

The two batsmen put on 85 runs for the third wicket to keep the Proteas at bay in the middle overs before Rahul was dismissed by Kagiso Rabada.

At 139/3 in the 32nd over, South Africa were still in the contest, but the experienced Dhoni thwarted their hopes.

Dhoni was content to bide his time and made sure Rohit and his steady partnership extinguished South Africa's chances.

South Africa tried to build the pressure with some disciplined bowling but Rohit and Dhoni paced their innings well and hit boundaries at regular intervals.

Their 74-run stand for the fourth wicket ensured India started off with a win.

Dhoni and Rohit's experience stood through in face of some testing bowling by South Africa in the middle over, especially Rabada, as they resisted going for the glory hits and waited for the right deliveries to get the boundaries.

Earlier, South Africa's best partnership was the 66-run stand between Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo.

The game was mainly decided in the middle overs as India scored 137 runs for the loss of two wickets in space of 30 overs from the 10th over till the 40th over.

In the same space of 30 overs, South Africa struggled against the Indian spin twins, as they lost 5 wickets for 127 runs and were unable to challenge with the bat in the death overs.

Boom Boom Bumrah

IMAGE: Jasprit Bumrah, left, celebrates taking a wicket with Captain Virat Kohli. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

It was Jasprit Bumrah's fiery spell with the new ball which set the tone for India.

He dismissed both openers to put South Africa on the backfoot at the outset.

Hashim Amla (6) and Quinton de Kock (10) were dismissed in successive overs by Bumrah, who was unlucky not to have ended up with more wickets in his first spell.

He bowled with good pace and produced some unplayable deliveries which made the pitch look much worse for batting then it actually was.

De Kock -- Bumrah's Mumbai Indians team-mate -- was all at sea as the Indian got a few to go past the edge. It was not long before de Kock got the edge and was caught in the slips after Amla had been dismissed in his previous over.

The young pacer, playing his first World Cup, finished with impressive figures of 2/35 in 10 overs and gave ample proof of why he is rated as the best bowler in ODIs.

Chahal turns it India's way

IMAGE: Rassie van der Dussen bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

With Kuldeep Yadav not in the best of form lately, Yuzvendra Chahal took it upon himself to deliver with the ball.

After Bumrah's fiery burst with the new ball, Chahal didn't let South Africa off the hook in the middle overs.

Rassie van der Dussen was done in by Chahal's drift as he shaped to reverse sweep but missed the ball completely to be bowled.

In the same over Chahal dealt the Proteas a body blow when he beat Skipper Faf du Plessis with a slider and had him bowled for 38.

Chahal broke the back of South Africa's batting line-up as he had David Miller caught and bowled before he had the dangerous Andile Phehlukwayo (34) stumped.

The leggie's inspirational spell of 4/51 consigned South Africa to a below-par 227/9.

Team selection

IMAGE: Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis at the toss. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

India took the aggressive route as far as their team is concerned.

Virat Kohli showed he meant business as he fielded both his wrist spinners -- Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal -- ahead of Ravindra Jadeja, knowing fully well that taking wickets is the best approach to winning in ODIs.

Jadeja had done well as the all-rounder in the warm-up match, but Kuldeep got the captain's backing despite a lacklustre showing in the IPL. And he repaid his captain's trust with a good spell as he took 1/46 in 10 overs.

Despite an indifferent start, where he gave away 17 runs in his first three overs, Kuldeep bowled much better in his second spell, not only taking J-P Duminy's wicket, but also giving glimpses of coming back to his best form, which should augur well for India going into the games against Australia and Pakistan.

HARISH KOTIAN / Rediff.com
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