'Loved the way he took on Marco Jansen': Manjrekar impressed with India's ‘unique batter’, says 'always been a huge fan'
Playing his first international game after over six months, India opener Shikhar Dhawan dazzled with the bat and emerged as the leading run-scorer from the Indian camp. The 79-run knock by Dhawan, however, came in a losing cause as India went down by 31 runs, failing to chase 297-run target in the first ODI.
Despite an average outing in the domestic season, the 36-year-old looked in sublime touch during his stay at the crease and collected 10 fours before falling prey to Keshav Maharaj.
Cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar was highly impressed with Dhawan's show and made no bones in admitting that he's a "huge" fan of the left-handed opener.
"I've always been a huge fan of Shikhar Dhawan... He's one of the very unique batters I've seen who's got better in the last three-four years of his career and that's on the wrong side of 30... After a long gap, he came in and played superbly. I thought it was a fantastic innings," said Manjrekar.
"I loved the way he took on Marco Jansen, the spinners as well. He looked the part and that's been Shikhar Dhawan's story in white-ball cricket in the last two-three years. His IPL game has also changed considerably. Only when he's there fielding in the deep, you get the realization that this guy's not getting any younger but when you see him bat - brilliant," the former cricketer added.
Meanwhile, South Africa captain Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen hit respective tons to steer the hosts to 296-4 after the hosts won the toss and chose to bat first in Paarl.
Bavuma hit 110 and van der Dussen made an impressive 129 not out off just 96 balls.
India in response got off to a promising start to reach 152-2 with 79 by Dhawan and 51 from Virat Kohli in his first game since giving up the Test captaincy after India lost to South Africa 2-1 in the test series last week.
But Kohli's dismissal to a mistimed sweep off spinner Tabraiz Shamsi started a run of wickets, leaving India at 214-8.
Shardul Thakur did his best to raise India at the end with 50 not out off 43 balls but the tourists only managed 265-8 in their 50 overs.
with AP inputs