At last, India broke the jinx! India has beaten a strong South African cricket team, that has been hailed as a strong favorite for the current edition of World cup-2015. Team India batted, bowled and fielded brilliantly on a day, where both teams looked highly intent on asserting their supremacy and emerge as group leaders. The team that won sent out a strong statement to other serious contenders like New Zealand and Australia. Incidentally, India triumphed in an emphatic fashion and laid a strong claim to their title defense. It may be recalled that India happens to be the defending champion.
India won the toss and elected to bat first. Rohit Sharma opened with Shikhar Dhawan, Both have been in good form, but Rohit set off for a non-existent single and AB de Villiers hit the bull’s eye with a direct throw. The ebullience of De Villiers is up to the fore, as he had just one stump to aim at. Rohit Sharma departed without scoring. Kohli joined Dhawan and the two batted sensibly and put on a century partnership. Virat Kohli departed trying to pull a length delivery from Imran Tahir and perished at mid-wicket. He tried this shot many times over with little success over the course of the current OZ tour. The classic example being his dismissal to Nathan Lyon in Adelaide test match, when India tried to force the issue on a 5th day pitch. Virat’s dismissal sealed their fate then.
Don't remember South Africa being outplayed like this in a long, long time!
- Sourav Ganguly
Ajinkya Rahane joined Dhawan next and the duo put on yet another century partnership. Rahane played his shots from the very first ball and looked in rich vein of form. He stepped out to loft Dale steyn for a six over straight fence. His gameplay was a treat to watch. Dhawan, at the other end, completed his hundred with a rasping cut to square leg fence. Both Dhawan and Rahane stepped on the gas and started scoring at a breeze. Dhawan, after scoring his hundred was unstoppable, but he fell to a mistimed hook after a well made and well compiled 137. Rahane hit 79 of just 62 balls, before trapped in front by a Dale Steyn’s special.. It must be said that Indian batsman, handled Steyn exceedingly well. Rest of the Indian batsman perished to indiscrete shots and could not accelerate at death. They failed to add yet another 30 runs for the platform, they were given.
South Africa, rather began their chase on a disastrous note, when Quinton De Kock spooned up a simple catch to Virat Kohli at mid-off when the score was just 12. Both Umesh Yadav and Mohd. Shami were right on money, piling it on and offering no freebies whatsoever. This very Indian attack was written off and dubbed as a joke after their total failure in test and tri-series, before the showpiece event began. But they proved that Indians are big match players and on their day, they can take down even the best of the batting line ups and the proteas proved no exception. Hashim Amla returned in the 11th over for just 22 unable to break the shackles. .
I just want to sit in my room and feel sad for a while!
- A B De Villiers
A B de Villiers who came in next held the innings together with Faf Du Plessis and brought some sense of stability and momentum to South African innings. He however attempted a non-existent 2nd run taking on Mohit Sharma and could not regain his crease. Dhoni promptly removed the bails. Prior to his ill-judged second run, he faced 4 consecutive deliveries without scoring a run. He was obviously frustrated and tried to up the run rate getting consumed in the process. Such was the stranglehold exerted by Indians on a day, when batting didn’t seem to be overtly difficult. He was caught short of the crease by a good foot or two.
However, with ABD’s exit, South Africa’s back was broken as he has been in unbelievable form and is the most prolific run getter for South Africa. His whirlwind 31 ball century against west Indies is still fresh in the memory of Cricket fans, the world over. Other batsmen came and gone. By De Villiers own admission, the match was lost due to the two big run-outs of his and Colin Miller. Those run-outs, however were engineered by Indians’ tight fielding and stellar bowling performance.
Without an iota of doubt, this must go down as one of the best performances by India in recent times. Their batting, bowling and fielding were top class and they made a strong statement to all title contenders that they are no push-overs. India getting into top-form would add a lot of variety to the world cup and truly makes it multi-dimensional. The result of this match was extremely just and magnificent and is a great Philip to the WOW factor in this world cup.