India off to a flyer

India off to a flyer

Dhawan slams maiden ODI ton in 26-run victory Cardiff (PTI): Opener Shikhar Dhawan bludgeoned his way to a maiden ODI century as a rejuvenated...

Dhawan slams maiden ODI ton in 26-run victory Cardiff (PTI): Opener Shikhar Dhawan bludgeoned his way to a maiden ODI century as a rejuvenated India kicked off their campaign in the ICC Champions Trophy with a comfortable 26-run victory over South Africa here on Thursday Chasing an imposing target of 332, South Africa were all out for 305. The Proteas lost three top wickets for six runs in the group B match. The star of the show was Dhawan, who made 114 of a mere 94 balls to set the tone for India.
The left-hander had scored 185 on his Test debut against Australia in March. South Africa, who ran neck-and-neck in terms of runs with India till at least the 35th over, paid the price for losing far too many wickets after at least three middle-order batsmen frittered good starts. India, on the other hand, profited after their openers Dhawan and Rohit Sharma (65) laid a solid foundation with an opening stand of 127. Dhawan was adjudged Man of the Match. Robin Peterson's departure in the 25th over opened the floodgates as South Africa lost three quick wickets, including the man who had the calibre to take the game to the wire, skipper A B De Villiers. The left-handed Peterson was out for 68 and his 124-run third-wicket partnership with De Villiers kept South Africa in the running even after the Proteas lost openers Hashim Amla (22) and Colin Ingram (6). At a time when South Africa needed to protect their wickets, De Villiers' exit gave India a great advantage. He charged out to Yadav, tried to slap a short of length ball to mid-wicket but ended up top-edging to square leg, where Jadeja held an easy catch. From 182 for four, South Africa collapsed to 188 for six in the 33rd over when David Miller was run out without facing a ball. Faf Du Plessis flicked Suresh Raina and turned back for a second run but Miller refused. Ishant had all the time in the world to do the needful from mid-wicket. A 50-run seventh wicket stand between Du Plessis and Ryan McLaren (71 not out off 61 balls, maiden ODI half-century) raised some hopes for the South Africans but that was not to be. Du Plessis (30 off 23 balls) holed out to Raina at mid-off off Ishant Sharma (2/66), once again a reliable batsman paying for indiscretion. South Africa thus became the first team to lose a match while chasing a score at Cardiff. All previous seven (completed) ODIs saw the team batting second emerge victorious. With their third victory in as many Champions Trophy games, India thus keeps their all-win record intact against the South Africans. Earlier, Dhawan's century and his opening stand with Sharma helped India score a commanding 331 for seven. India were put into bat after skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni lost the toss in an overcast and chilly morning. The morning session belonged to Dhawan. He was third out in the 38th over after scoring a well-paced 114, studded with 12 fours and a six. Brief scores: India 331 for 7 (Shikhar Dhawan 114, Rohit Sharma 65; Ryan McLaren 3/70) bt South Africa 305 all out (Ryan McLaren 71no, A B de Villiers 70, Robin Peterson 68; Ravindra Jadeja 2/31, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2/49).
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