India on Wednesday defeated South Africa by six wickets in their opening World Cup encounter after restricting them to 227 for 9. Thanks to a fine century by Rohit Sharma, who remained unbeaten at 122, India were able to achieve the target without much fuss in 47.3 overs.
Rohit Sharma’s innings assumed significance in light of how he received no support from the other end and single-handedly scripted India’s victory. Shikhar Dhawan (8), Captain Viarat Kohli (18), KL Rahul (26) and MS Dhoni(34) all departed without showing their batting prowess.
For South Africa, Kagiso Rabada took two wickets, while Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo shared one wicket each.
South Africa won the toss and elected to bat, but their batsmen could never settle before the Indian bowling attack. Chris Morris was the highest scorer for South Africa with 42 runs, while Faf du Plessis contributed with just 38 runs and Andile Phehlukwayo made 34 runs.
For India, the pick of the bowler was Yuzvendra Chahal with 4 for 51. He was also responsible for sending du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen and JP Duminy to pavilion cheaply. Their departure left South Africa reeling at 89 for 5 in 23 overs. Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuwaneswar Kumar scalped two wickets each.
South Africa could never recover from the loss of Hashim Amla, who fell to Bumrah. Also giving away his wicket to Bumrah was Quinton de Kock.
Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada made desperate efforts to give stability to South African innings but that was not of much help as the Proteas fell short of around 80 more runs since the average total in the last five ODIs for sides batting first here is 311.
Elsewhere, New Zealand beat Bangladesh by 2 wickets at The Oval in London. Batting first Bangladesh were bowled out for 244 in 49.2 overs. New Zeland achieved the target in 47.1 overs for the loss of 8 wickets.
There was a time when the New Zealand innings nearly collapsed giving hopes to Bangladesh after Ross Taylor (80 runs) and Kane Williomson (40 runs) departed. However, thanks to the lower middle-order batsmen that the Kiwis were able to pulled off a narrow win in a tense finish.