ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 India vs South Africa Match 8: Putting aside all the doubts around his form in white-ball cricket, deputy Rohit Sharma rose to the occasion as he smashed an unbeaten hundred to power India to a clinical six-wicket victory over South Africa in their opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Rohit played a magnificent knock of 122 not out off 144 deliveries studded with 13 boundaries and two huge maximums. Courtesy this win, India have started their World Cup campaign on an emphatic note while the Proteas have now lost all their 3 matches so far in the tournament. (MATCH HIGHLIGHTS)

Earlier, leggie Yuzvendra Chahal restricted South Africa to a sub-par total of 227/ 9.  South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis’ decision to bat under overcast conditions backfired with Jasprit Bumrah (2/35) setting the tone with twin blows in his opening spell. Chasing a modest 228 target, India made a nervous start in overcast conditions. The South African pace battery minus Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi did well to probe India openers. Proteas bowling spearhead – Kagiso Radaba provided the early breakthrough as he sent back Dhawan packing early. (SCORECARD)

Virat Kohli, world number one ODI batsman was tested by Chris Morris and Rabada. Despite not being near his fluent best, Kohli decided to bide his time and stitched a crucial stand with Rohit. However, Kohli perished for 18 when Andile Phehlukwayo induced a thick edge of Indian captain’s blade. South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock held on to a sensational catch.

Earlier in the match, Chahal (4/51) tightened the noose on Proteas batsmen as they could never really force the pace during the middle overs. Incidentally, this was the best 10-over single spell (in terms of wickets taken) by any bowler in a World Cup game. South Africa’s total got some semblance of respectability courtesy Chris Morris (42 off 34) and Kagiso Rabada (31 not out off 35), who shared a much needed 66-run stand for the eighth wicket. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/44) coming in place of Mohammed Shami was impressive in his second spell.

Under a thick cloud cover and a pitch that offered bounce, Bumrah was unplayable in his initial five over spell where he pitched on good length or back of it, getting the deliveries to rear up awkwardly and shape away from openers Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla. Bumrah dismissed Amla (6) with a beautiful delivery that rose from a length outside the off-stump and the outside edge was taken low in the slips by Rohit Sharma.

Skipper Du Plessis (38 off 54 balls) and Rassie van der Dussen (22 off 37 balls) did add 44 runs for the third wicket but it was more of a consolidation job as they found scoring runs difficult. The Powerplay yielded only 34 runs and even though the Proteas skipper hit four boundaries, he never looked comfortable.

Third seamer Hardik Pandya (6-0-31-0) also hit the hard lengths and one of his deliveries, a nasty snorter, hit Du Plessis flush on the gloves, leaving him in pain. Along with Kedar Jadhav (4-0-16-0), they shared the fifth bowler’s duties admirably giving away only 45 runs.

Once Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav (10-0-46-1) started operating in tandem, something was waiting to happen.

Van der Dussen, who was showing composure till then, suddenly had a brain fade as the right-hander tried an ambitious reverse sweep to a delivery drifting on his pads only to be bowled.

From 78 for 2, it soon became 80 for 4 as Du Plessis failed to read a Chahal googly and was bowled through the gate.

Kuldeep then had a horribly out-of-form JP Duminy (3 off 11) plumb in-front with scoreboard reading 89 for 5. David Miller (31 off 40 balls) and Andile Phehlukwayo (34 off 61 balls) again had to carry out a repair job adding 46 runs but Chahal collected another two wickets quickly to reduce them to 158 for 7.