Rohit Sharma plays a shot
Opener Rohit Sharma scored a composed unbeaten century as India got their Cricket World Cup campaign off to a solid start with a six-wicket victory over a sloppy South African side at a vibrant Rose Bowl yesterday.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, South Africa posted a below-par 227 for nine in their 50 overs.
India were cautious in their reply and the game was in the balance when Virat Kohli (18) was brilliantly caught by wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock with the score on 54 for two in the 16th over.
But Rohit (122 not out from 144 balls) punished the South African bowlers after being dropped on one.
He attacked South Africas leg-spinners Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi as India reached 230 for four from 47.3 overs, condemning the ailing Proteas to a third successive loss to leave their World Cup hopes in disarray.
Earlier, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was the pick of the bowlers as India restricted South Africa to 227 for nine.
Chahal returned figures of four for 51 to rip the heart out of the South African batting line-up, to the delight of a large contingent of Indian fans.
Chris Morris, batting at number eight, provided late resistance with his fighting 42 during an eighth-wicket partnership of 66 with Kagiso Rabada, who made an unbeaten 31 - his highest one-day international total.
Paceman Jasprit Bumrah did the early damage, dismissing both openers to put South Africa in deep trouble.
Chahal bowled Rassie van der Dussen for 22 with the first ball of his second over to end a 54-run third-wicket partnership.
He then bowled Skipper Du Plessis for 38 later in the same over.
Spin partner Kuldeep Yadav also chipped in with the wicket of J. P. Duminy, trapping the batsman lbw for three as South Africa slipped to 89 for five.
David Miller and Andile Phehlukwayo then put on 46 runs to slow India’s charge and keep the scoreboard ticking over.
But Chahal once again made the breakthrough, dismissing both batsmen. Miller was caught and bowled for 31 while Phehlukwayo was stumped on 34.
Earlier, Bumrah, had the ball darting around on a cloudy morning in Southampton as he sent back Hashim Amla for six.
Amla, who missed South Africa’s previous match against Bangladesh, defended a delivery with extra bounce from Bumrah but got an outside edge and was caught at second slip by Rohit Sharma.
Bumrah then struck again in his next over, with Quinton de Kock, who made 10, edging to Skipper Virat Kohli at third slip, meaning South Africa were two down for 24. (Agencies)