How India’s juggernaut continued at World Cup with rout of South Africa

NEW DELHI: A Virat Kohli ‘stuff of dreams’ record-equalling 49th ODI century was followed by a five star performance from Ravindra Jadeja as India decimated formidable South Africa by 243 runs to maintain their sensational unbeaten run at the World Cup on Sunday.
After Kohli delighted the fans at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata with a superb century to level-up with legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most tons in the format, bowlers, led by Jadeja fired in unison as the Proteas were blown away in their chase of 327, folding for a lowly 83 inside 28 overs.
In what was expected to be a blockbuster of a contest between the top two teams of the tournament, it turned out to be a damp squib, courtesy a bowling masterclass by Jadeja, who registered his best ever ODI figures of 5 for 33.
With their 8th win, Rohit Sharma and co. continue with their dream run in the tournament and remain the only unbeaten team. India also maintained their top spot in the standings while South Africa, who suffered their only second defeat, continued to be at the second spot.
Here’s a look at the key moments of the game between India and South Africa in Match 37:
Rohit’s blazing start
Opting to bat after winning the toss, India got off to a flier, courtesy a Rohit Sharma blitzkrieg up top as he took the Proteas bowlers by surprise. At his favourite venue — where Rohit had previously notched up his highest ODI total of 264 — the India skipper went all guns blazing from the word go. Hitting the Proteas bowlers left, right and centre, Rohit helped India cross the 50-run mark in 4.3 overs. In a superb boundary-hitting spree, Rohit fired 6 fours and a couple of sixes on his way to a 24-ball 40 before falling in the 6th over. Virat Kohli then joined Shubman Gill but as soon as the partnership between the two got brewing, the latter fell of 23 soon after the end of first powerplay.
Kohli and Iyer’s impressive stand
India lost both their openers inside the first 11 overs but with 93 runs on the board, India got the start they needed and rattled the Proteas bowlers. Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer then dug in and looked to build a partnership. Amid a superb show from Proteas spinners, Kohli and Iyer focussed on rotating the strike along with getting the odd boundaries off loose balls. While Kohli played his usual way, Iyer, in particular, looked a bit more aggressive in their stand. As both kept the scoreboard moving along, India got to 143 for two at halfway mark and looked set for a big total. Kohli then notched up his fifty in the 29th over and Iyer soon followed him with his half-century in the 31st. With the partnership crossing the 100-run mark, India remained on-course for a big total. But Lungi Ngidi then ended a terrific 134-run stand as Iyer fell against the run of play.
Kohli’s much-awaited ton
With the Proteas spinners keeping it tight and India losing Iyer in the 37th over, a focussed Kohli carried on strongly, with his eyes set on a much-awaited ton. With a couple of brief partnerships with KL Rahul (8) and Suryakumar Yadav (22), Kohli carried on strongly. With a couple of quick wickets, it looked like South Africa were looking for a late comeback in the match but Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja ensured no further damage was done. Amid a fiery 41-run sixth wicket stand, Kohli brought up his 49th century as the Eden Gardens erupted in joy. After missing out on a ton on three occasions earlier in the tournament, Kohli eventually equalled Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most centuries in the format. With an unbeaten 101 alongside a quickfire unbeaten 29 from Jadeja, India got to a solid 326 for 5 at the end of their 50 overs.

Virat Kohli equals Sachin’s ODI century record with 49th ton on birthday

A horrendous start in chase
Chasing a tricky 327 on a two-paced surface was never going to be an easy task for the Proteas but the high-flying South Africa batting order never quite turned up. As Mohammed Siraj drew first blood with the wicket of Quinton de Kock (5) in the second over, the Proteas suffered a major early blow. While everyone was expecting another spectacle from the pacers, left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja rose to the occasion. Producing a peach to knock over skipper Temba Bavuma (11), Jadeja showed that the surface had a lot to offer even under lights. The remarkable Proteas middle-order, which was the talk of the tournament, fizzled out in the chase as the likes of Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller were a no show, all falling below the scores of 20. Jadeja led the rout as India grabbed wickets at regular intervals, never allowing the South African to get into the chase.
Jadeja’s second ODI fifer
While Mohammed Shami continue with his sensational run in the tournament, removing key batters Rassie van der Dussen (13) and Aiden Markram (9), Jadeja, after dismissing Bavuma, got rid of Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller cheaply to put an end to any of the South African hopes of a victory. With the wickets of Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada, Jadeja (5/33) notched up his second fifer and registered his best figures in ODIs. Kuldeep Yadav too picked up a couple of wickets as South Africa innings ended on a disappointing 83 all out in the 28th over.
Watch Cricket World Cup 2023: India crush South Africa by 243 runs | ODI World Cup

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