Rohit Sharma was the star performer of the game as India began their World Cup 2019 campaign. It kick-started with a six-wicket win over South Africa at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Wednesday. Way to go Rohit! However, for South Africa, it was a third straight defeat in their campaign. This left them hanging on the edge for qualifying in the Semi-Finals!
South Africa had a tricky total to defend against India with 227 on the board, with Chris Morris(42) and Rabada(31) helping towards the total. India had to score 228 in 50 overs.
India managed to score only 14/1 in the first seven overs, Rohit survived a dropped catch by Faf du Plessis at the second slip; then anchored India’s chase.
South African Pacer Kagiso Rabada struck early with the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan for eight, but his team was short on runs to put pressure on the opposition batting.
Virat Kohli got out at 18 by Andile Phehlukwayo – the first time in three World Cups where the star batsman had not started the tournament with a hundred. Honestly, all of us were slightly disappointed. Thank god for Sharma who kept the chase on course, building a partnership that included an 85-run third-wicket stand with KL Rahul, who put a 26 on the board!
Virat’s thoughts on Rohit’s game
The opener’s well-judged mix of caution and aggression helped him reach his 23rd one-day century (122 off 144 balls). This matured innings prepped him for the upcoming games of the tournament. Virat Kohli at the press conference said: “I think it was by far his best ODI innings, partly because that is the first game the World Cup brings.” about the 32-year-old batsman. He further continued “ I know when you go off in a few balls which bounce like that early on, it’s not easy to gather yourself and be calm. There can be a tendency to try and hit your way out of the situation. But Rohit was very composed. He’s played a lot of games, so we expect maturity and level of responsibility from him but of all the brilliant innings I’ve seen him play, this is top of the pile.”
Both debutant(World Cup) Indian bowlers also did their part, Yuzvendra Chahal(4/51) and Jasprit Bumrah(2/35) who troubled the South African batting line up. Furthermore, the track offered bounce and seam movement, and Indian pacers were up to the mark in delivering early blows.
At the end, it was India who became victorious and started their World Cup campaign with a nail-biting win.
Team India, you made us proud!