India: 331/7 (Dhawan 114, Rohit Sharma 65, Jadeja 47*, McLaren 3/70, Duminy 1/42, Tsotsobe 2/83)
Aided by some filthy bowling upfront and a rollicking 80-ball century by Shikhar Dhawan, India made a handsome total in their ICC Champions Trophy opener.
It’s the second consecutive opening game in the ICC Champions Trophy in which the Proteas have been ransacked for more than 330 runs.
India should have made much more, but South Africa seemed to find their length and composure in the last 10 overs, conceding 80 as compared to the 127 conceded in the first 20 overs.
It will still be a tough chase.
On winning the toss in overcast conditions, the last thing AB de Villiers would have wanted from his bowlers is to serve up pies with coffee in the cold Cardiff morning.
South Africa’s wolf pack did exactly that in a session of mayhem.
India’s new opening partnership of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma made hay as the sun started to come out.
Sharma crafted a lovely 81-ball 65 studded with eight boundaries and one six.
It provided the perfect slipstream for Dhawan, who chose the agricultural route.
It worked out for him as he scripted an epic 82-ball maiden ODI century.
The lack of straight boundaries showed up South Africa’s lack of full deliveries.
On as flat a track as this, the best opportunity for a wicket lay in using the overcast conditions to the maximum.
In fielding first and playing four seamers, South Africa gave themselves the opportunity to exploit them.
Instead, they fed India a diet of half-trackers and long hops. India did not waste the buffet, motoring at five to the over, which they increased to six later.
Their second 50 was sourced in only 39 balls.
It took a bad ball to get rid of Sharma, who shovelled a short one down Robin Peterson’s throat at deep square leg.
Instead of going into his shell, Dhawan opened up, with his best shot being a straight driven six off Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
He had two lives, with Morné Morkel, who limped off with a quad muscle strain, misjudging a hook shot, and De Villiers fluffing a stumping when the southpaw was on 102.
He did not make the most of his second bit of, luck but few of his team-mates did better, falling in quick succession.
It was left to captain MS Dhoni to finish what the openers started.
He contributed a sparkling 27, while the tall total seemed to get into his team-mates’ heads.
It got to his head, too, as South Africa reeled him and the rest of the team in towards the end.
A good start for India had been squandered, leaving the door open for South Africa to mount a challenge.
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