It was the first game for Team India as South Africa were already into there third game of the world cup and as the game ended, South Africa dug themselves further into the grave with their third consecutive loss taking them close to the early exit.
India on the other side had the exact match they needed to start their campaign i.e. a win but more importantly the ideal outing for their bowlers and batsmen.
India won comfortably with 6 wickets in hand but not before a fighting performance from Rohit Sharma who remained unbeaten on 122 off 144 deliveries after surviving an unplayable opening spell from Kagiso Rabada and a dropped catch late in his innings.
India started well with the ball with Bumrah again showing why he is the top rated bowler in world cricket with match scalp of 2 wickets, giving away just 35 runs in his quota of 10 overs, while Chahal broke the spine of the South African batting order with 4 wickets.
Earlier South Africa won the toss and chose to bat first despite the pitch looking seam-friendly at the start majorly due to the bad memories of bowling first in their previous two matches and conceding 300+ runs on both occasions to end up on the losing side.
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The sun did not shine upon the South Africans even while batting first as they lost both their openers – Amla and De Kock quite early to a masterly fast bowling spell from the No.1 ODI bowler of the world – Jasprit Bumrah.
South Africa was in trouble at 24 for 2 inside 6 overs when a 54 run stand between skipper Faf Du Plessis and H.E. Van der Dussen steadied the ship for the side. Just when they started to look settled, Indian leggie Chahal undid both the batsmen in the 20th over of the innings and with chinaman Kuldeep Yadav joining the party with the early wicket of veteran JP Duminy, it looked like curtains for South Africa with the scorecard reading 89 for 5.
Useful contributions down the order from Miller (31), Phehlukwayo (34), Morris (42) and Rabada (31 N.O.) helped South Africa reach a somewhat fighting score of 227 runs for the loss of 9 wickets on what could be termed as a tricky pitch. Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar finished with 2 wickets each with Chahal being the pick of the bowlers with 4 wickets in the kitty.
India started poorly with Shikhar Dhawan falling cheaply with the team score on just 13 runs off Kagiso Rabada. Captain Kohli entered the stage with big expectations from him but Rabada today was just unplayable even for the best batsman in the world as he too perished to the star fast bowler for just 18 runs.
It was the steady partnership between KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma which eased the nerves of the Indian dressing room and fans alike. Hardik Pandya came out to finish the proceedings after Dhoni departed and to the joy of Indian fans, he looked to continue his hot form from the IPL as he scored an easy 15 runs from just 7 balls to complete a successful day for his team.
India would be happy with the match time that Rohit Sharma, Rahul and Dhoni got in the middle as it fares well for the future of this team in this mega tournament.
With 9 matches to be played by each team in this event, there is a long way to go for all teams with enough time to bounce back. On one hand South Africa have almost all must win games for them now whereas for Team India, it is a battle well begun.
SA : 227/9 (50 overs)
Ind: 230/4 (47.3 overs)
M.O.M. : Rohit Sharma