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Rohit century trumps Rabada and Morris all-round efforts

Wed, 5th Jun 2019

Kagiso Rabada of South Africa celebrates wicket of Shikhar Dhawan of India during the ICC Cricket World Cup match between South Africa and India at the Hampshire Bowl, Southampton on 05 June 2019 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

KAGISO RABADA and Chris Morris took the fight to India with both bat and ball but in the end the sub-continent giants cruised to a comfortable six-wicket victory over the Standard Bank Proteas with 15 balls to spare in the ICC Men’s World Cup at Southampton on Wednesday.

It meant that India kicked off their campaign with a convincing win while the Proteas have now lost three out of three and need to unleash a winning run in their remaining six matches.

Morris (42 off 34 balls, 2 sixes and a four) and Rabada (a career-best 31 not out off 35 balls, 2 fours) gave the Proteas something to bowl at with their eighth wicket stand of 66 off 62 balls after a top order collapse had seen them subside to 135/6 with all their specialist batsmen back in the pavilion.

Rabada and Morris then put tremendous determination into their bowling effort under conditions that offered assistance to the seamers in the first half of both innings.

But the Proteas below par score of 227/9 was never going to be quite enough.

There were two key performers for India. Rohit Sharma survived a simple chance off Rabada after he had passed his century to bat through the innings, finishing on 122 (144 balls, 12 fours and 2 sixes). It was his 23rd ODI century and his second at World Cup level.

He was the only batsman on either side to go past 50, let alone 100, with the second-best effort in the match being Morris’ 42.

The other key contributor was Yuzvendra Chahal. The leg-spinner finished with 4/51 and ripped the heart out of the South African middle-order, dismissing Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller at critical times.

The Proteas went into the match with both their specialist spinners but Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi were not able to exert anything like the same influence as their Indian counterparts, conceding 112 runs in their combined 19 overs without reward.

Jasprit Bumrah also played a key role for India up front, removing both Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock in his new ball spell. It was an intriguing comparison between the world’s two best young fast bowler with honours finishing pretty even as Bumrah took 2/35 and Rabada 2/39.

Beuran Hendricks joined the Proteas today as the replacement for Dale Steyn.