A sparkling maiden one-day international century from Shikhar Dhawan helped India to a 26-run victory over South Africa in the opening match of the ICC Champions Trophy at Cardiff today.
The 27-year-old opener scored a magnificent 114 off 94 balls as the reigning world champions posted 331 for 7 from their 50 overs, a total which proved beyond the Proteas, who battled to 305 all out in reply.
Dhawan, playing in just his sixth One-Day International, took advantage of a lacklustre bowling display from South Africa, who were without key seamer Dale Steyn and then lost Morne Morkel to injury after bowling just 6.5 of his overs.
New-look opening duo Dhawan and Rohit Sharma made AB de Villiers rue his decision to bowl first with a 127-run partnership in just 21.2 overs at Cardiff’s SWALEC Stadium.
The stand was eventually broken when Robin Peterson took a catch off the bowling of Ryan McLaren (3-70) to dismiss Sharma for a well-compiled 65.
Normal service was soon resumed as Dhawan upped the scoring rate, hitting a massive six and a lofted four off Lonwabo Tsotsobe, before reaching his first ODI hundred off just 80 balls.
The left-hander should have gone next ball, but De Villiers failed to gather a stumping chance off JP Duminy (1-42).
Tsotsobe picked up his first wicket as Hashim Amla caught Virat Kohli (31) on the boundary before Dhawan eventually fell for 114; sub fielder Aaron Phangiso taking a simple chance off Duminy’s bowling.
Wickets tumbled late in the innings but Ravi Jadeja’s hitting ensured South Africa would need to pull off the highest successful run chase in an ODI at Cardiff for victory.
Colin Ingram failed to take his chance at the top of the order when he fell to Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the third over of the reply but Amla’s quickfire 22 at least put the Proteas above the rate.
South Africa assumed favourites when Peterson, elevated to No 3 in the order, and De Villiers shared a 124-run partnership for the third wicket, taking the Proteas up to 155-2 in the 25th over.
But a crazy eight-over spell, in which Peterson (68) and David Miller (0) were both run-out, derailed the men in gold and green’s progress as they crashed to 188-6.The wicket of De Villiers, caught by Jadeja off the bowling of Umesh Yadav for 70, signalled the end of South Africa’s realistic hopes of victory, although Ryan McLaren’s unbeaten 71 added some respectability to the scoreline. (Sky)