Southamptom: Riding on Rohit Sharma brilliant knock of 122 runs off 144 balls, India came out with flying colours in their world Cup opening match as they defeated South Africa by 6 wickets here at the Rose Bowl stadium on Wednesday.
Impressive bowling by Jasprit Bumrah (2/35 ), Yuzuvendra Chahal (4/51 ) and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar (2/44) restricted South Africa to 227.
Chasing the target, Indian batsmen who at once, looked frightened as Shikhar Dhawan walked to the pavilion after scoring just eight runs and leaving Indian fans in a state of shock. However, thanks to Rohit Sharma who single handedly kept the score board running.
Rohit and Virat Kohli patiently waited for the loose deliveries as India reached 50/1 after 15 overs.
Despite, everything was in favour of men in blue, Andile Phehlukwayo struck and then got rid of Virat in the 16th over for 18 runs as Quinton de Kock took a sensational catch behind the wickets to reduce India to 54/2 after 16 overs.
Later, KL Rahul (21) joined Rohit and stitched a 86-run-partnership before falling to Kagiso Rabada in 31.3 over. This partnership brought India closer to the target.
It was expected that the Dhoni and Rohit will stay at the crease to finish the match but Chris Morris in the 46.1 over dismissed Dhoni on a score of 34 runs off 45 balls.
In the end, Hardik Pandya making no mistake thrashed both Chriss Morris and Phehlukwayo as India cruised to a convincing win in their tournament opener.
For South Africa, Rabada took two wickets while Phehlukwayo took one wicket
Earlier, Indian team dished out a clinical performance to restrict South Africa on a score of 227 runs.
After opting to bat first, South Africa got off to a disastrous start as both the openers were sent back in the hut within the first power play.
Bumrah was the first one who got a breakthrough for India as he dismissed Hashim Amla (6) in 3.2 over on a score of just 11 runs. He grabbed his second wicket when he struck again 5.5 over to sent Quinton de Kock (10) on a score of 24 runs.
As both the openers collapsed within the first power play, none of the other batsmen from there even managed to form partnership in a must win match for the proteas.
However, under pressure Faf du Plessis(38 runs 0ff 54 balls) and Rassie van der Dussen (22 runs off 37 balls) added 54-run for the third wicket but they couldn't continue their partnership for long as Dussen was bowled out by Chahal in 19.1 over, while soon after that in 20th over Chahal picking up his second wicket, he sent Plessis back to the pavilion. The much needed partnership which could have taken proteas to a decent total in the match was hammered by Chahal.
David Miller too tried to form a partnership with Andile Phehlukwayo before falling to Chahal and added 46-run for the seventh wicket and took South Africa from 89 to 135 runs. Miller scored 31 runs off 40 balls.
After adding a few runs to his team's total, Phehlukwayo departed on a score of 34 runs. While trying to make a room, he was stumped by MS Dhoni on Chahal's ball in the 39.3 over.
Later, Chris Morris with Kagiso Rabada stitched a 66 runs-partnership for the eight wicket which helped South Africa to post a decent total of 227 runs against India in their stipulated 50 overs. Morris scored 42 runs off 33 balls with the help of 1 four and 2 sixes before falling to Bhuvaneshwar Kumar.
However, Rabada remained unbeaten on a score of 31 runs off 35 balls.(UNI)