When the ICC released the schedule for the 2019 World Cup, India were scheduled to start the tournament very late and their first match was against a tough South African team. The late start worked well for the Indians as they got to relax a bit longer and watch the rest of the teams play each other and feel the pressure of playing in the World Cup.
Bowlers Run Through South Africa
South Africa had already played two games leading into the India game on June 5. The Proteas have had to deal with multiple injury concerns in England as they have lost Dale Steyn for the remainder of the tournament and L Ngidi for the next 10 days. A weakened bowling line-up against a strong Indian batting line-up was a recipe for disaster.
The South Africans played it safe and elected to bat first after winning the toss and it backfired. J Bumrah was on fire picking up the first two wickets and putting South Africa on the back foot. Y Chahal picked up four wickets to break the back of the South African batting line-up and K Yadav chipped in with one.
The Proteas managed to get to 227 thanks to some lower order partnerships with contributions coming from A Phehlukwayo (34), Chris Morris (42) and K Rabada hit (31).
Easy Win Over Weak South Africa
KG Rabada and C Morris put up a brave bowling performance but the Proteas had no answers for R Sharma who scored an unbeaten 122 to take India to victory. He started off slowly and decided to bat through the innings as he watched wickets fall around him. Sharma finished with a strike rate of 84 which included 2 sixes and 13 fours.
Captain Virat Kohli struggled to find the gaps and score freely and got out for 18. Sharma formed partnerships with KL Rahul and MS Dhoni who looked good out in the middle. H Pandya hit some lusty blows in the end to take India home with 15 balls to spare.
India will be happy with this performance. However, they realize that their next match will be a lot more difficult and will be a true test of their skills. India are scheduled to play Australia in London on June 9 and will be keen on securing their second win!