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Champions Trophy: India beat South Africa by 26 runs

India. Foreign tour. Good start. You’ve rarely had the chance to use the three together since India’s ODI World Cup triumph in 2011. The 26-run victory over South Africa gave us that opportunity, reports Rohit Bhaskar. Scorecard

india Updated: Jun 07, 2013 02:20 IST
Rohit Bhaskar
Rohit Bhaskar
Hindustan Times
India,South Africa,Mahendra Singh Dhoni

India. Foreign tour. Good start. You’ve rarely had the chance to use the three together since India’s ODI World Cup triumph in 2011. The horror of the Natwest Series in England and the CB series in Australia, seem distant memories now. After back-to-back wins in the warm-ups, India opened the Champions Trophy with a convincing 26-run win over South Africa here on Thursday.

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan provided the team something it had been missing in that barren run — solidity at the top. The duo’s 127-run opening partnership was just what the doctor ordered.

A South Africa attack minus Dale Steyn and with an injured Morne Morkel reduced to 6.5 overs didn’t look threatening, barring the odd bouncer which thudded into the batsman’s helmet. The fact that part-time off-spinner JP Duminy, who picked up 1/41 off his 10 overs, was the best of their bowlers doesn’t bode well for the Proteas and underlines the importance of Dale Steyn.

A fact quantified by the South African selectors’ policy to use Vernon Philander primarily for Test matches.

If Sharma and Dhawan laid the platform it was utility all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja who added the finishing touches. The southpaw’s 29-ball 47 pushed India to 331/7. Before the match, television pundits had hinted at a piece of trivia, that in the final analysis, proved to be just that. Trivial!

Stats don’t lie
No team had won a match here batting first. But, as MS Dhoni rightly pointed out, when queried if India’s unbeaten record against South Africa in the Champions Trophy gave them an advantage, "Just because a stat is in our favour doesn’t really mean we’ll win the game". He could well add that just because a stat isn’t in their favour doesn’t really mean they’ll lose a game.

Chasing a stiff target, South Africa suffered early setbacks. Both the openers were gone before the fourth over. The unlikely duo of AB de Villiers and pinch-hitter Robin Peterson resurrected the innings, adding 124 runs for the third wicket at over a run-a-ball. Then, South Africa got in the mood for Led Zeppelin.

Communication Breakdown!
South Africa’s shocking calling led one television commentator to go on his twitter feed and hashtag the famous Led Zep song.

Ryan McLaren provided some lower-order fireworks, but the required run-rate was on a steep upward curve and eventually proved insurmountable.


First Published: Jun 06, 2013 15:10 IST