ICC World Cup 2019: Match 8, South Africa vs India – Who Said What

ICC World Cup 2019: Match 8, South Africa vs India – Who Said What

"Hats off to Rohit," said Kohli after the win.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

India’s much-awaited first game in the ongoing World Cup finally took place at The Rose Bowl in Southampton on Wednesday and they didn’t disappoint their fans. The Men in Blue were clinical in their approach and courtesy a strong bowling effort followed by Rohit Sharma’s impeccable century, they defeated South Africa by six wickets. India are up and running in the mega event and the fans would be hoping that they continue in the same vein going forward.

Chasing a total of 228 runs, India were in a spot of bother. They started extremely slowly with Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris hitting right lines and troubling the batsmen. Shikhar Dhawan, in the process, got out cheaply as well and then Virat Kohli was also made to earn every run. He eventually edged on off Andile Phehlukwayo on 18 off 34 deliveries and at 54/2, South Africa hoped for a turnaround.

However, Rohit Sharma was set by then riding on his luck early on and stitched a vital 85-run stand with KL Rahul. The latter threw away his wicket when on 26 which brought MS Dhoni to the crease. Rohit Sharma kept his cool and with no pressure of the required run-rate, the duo played smartly playing out the good bowlers and took on the opposition spinners.

They added 74 runs for the fourth wicket and during the match-winning partnership, Rohit Sharma also brought up his century. Just when the victory was only a formality, Dhoni, strangely looked for the glory shot and was dismissed on 34. But Hardik Pandya came out and played his shots to take India over the line as Rohit stayed unbeaten on 122.

Chahal shines with the ball

Earlier in the day, Yuzvendra Chahal spun the web around the South African batsmen after Faf du Plessis opted to bat first. Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock were snaffled by Jasprit Bumrah and they never recovered from the early blows. At 89/5, they looked down and out, but the lower-order fought hard defying India’s wrist spinners later in the innings to post a competitive total of 227/9 after 50 overs.

Chahal shined with the ball for the Men in Blue and returned with the figures of 4/51. The total was never going to be enough to defend and though South Africa tried hard, India were too good on the day.

Man of the Match, Rohit Sharma said:

Different experience from India. There was something in it for the bowlers through the game, so you had to play out the overs initially and see what the ball was doing.

Couldn’t play my natural game. You have to take your time. Certain shots that I like playing, I had to cut out and play close to the body, and follow the basics properly – try and leave as many balls as possible on a pitch that is doing a bit. Building partnerships were key in this chase.

It was a small total, but since there was something in it for the bowlers, it was tough and we needed partnerships. It’s the batsmen’s job to get the job done, whoever is out in the middle. We can’t rely on one or two individuals all the time. That’s been the hallmark of this team over the last two years – someone always puts their hand up and takes the responsibility to take the team across the line.

I hope at some stage someone will put their hand up and take that challenge. That’s the beauty of playing in England – we are playing a little early. We play in July/August, but this is June. The weather has been good, and overcast, so you don’t sweat too much like in India. It wasn’t a typical Rohit Sharma innings, but I had to play out the overs initially to make sure that the job is done.

India skipper, Virat Kohli said:

The wait was very long and then you get a game like this where it was challenging throughout. We might not have had the run rate, but if you look at how the game went and how the pitch behaved, it was challenging.

Hats off to Rohit, and also the guys who batted around him. We were going to bowl first. Jasprit is operating at a different level to be honest. Chahal was outstanding as well. There’s one thing to see a bowler bowl, but to catch that ball, to feel the heaviness of it. When I caught it, I could feel the pain for 15 minutes.

With the new ball he was absolutely outstanding. Haven’t seen Amla get out like that. Even Quinny, he rushed him for pace. The first win is always important. On the field, we were confident as a group.

With the bat, we had to work our way through. That’s where Rohit’s innings was very very special. KL batted really well with him. Then MS showed great composure. Hardik finished well too. He looks in a good headspace. One thing to say we’re a strong team on paper, but it’s another to be professional about the win in all three aspects.

South Africa skipper, Faf du Plessis said:

I thought India were magnificent on a tough pitch. They bowled really well. Their bowling attack is strong. All bases covered. Fast bowlers initially and spinners who get wickets. We clawed back with the bat again.

Some great batting by Rohit, a bit of luck, but he did what we didn’t do – saw the innings through. The build-up to the match, a lot of runs were scored, and the make-up of our team, with the fast-bowling resources gone, we went with spin.

If we had Ngidi, we would have the chance to attack with overcast conditions. Rabada was an absolute champion – he was extremely unlucky, and I have never seen so many balls falling in no-mans land, but he and Morris were excellent today, bowling with pace and good control and even got 40-odd runs today.

They were the two stand-out performers today. The change-room is hurting. We are making mistakes all the time – today the mistake was one guy not batting through the innings. To have so many 30s and 40s is not acceptable at a World Cup.