India vs South Africa

Robin Peterson’s (left) run-out sparked a turnaround as South Africa collapsed from 155 for two to eventually lose by 26 runs © Getty Images

By Jaideep Vaidya
 
Cardiff: Jun 6, 2013
 
Shikhar Dhawan‘s maiden One-Day International ton and Ravindra Jadeja‘s all-round effort ensured a comfortable 26-run victory for India against South Africa in the opening match of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013. India thus went on top in Group B in the points table.

India posted a commanding 331 for seven on the board before bowling out the Proteas on the last ball of the match for 305. The Indians thus picked up two points and started their campaign on a high.

South Africa, who chose to bowl first in chilly, overcast conditions at Cardiff, went in with four seamers, but failed to make the most of their advantage as the Indians milked 261 runs off Morne Morkel (none for 27), Ryan Mclaren (three for 70), Lonwabo Tsotsobe (two for 83) and Rory Kleinveldt (none for 81).
 
Dhawan (114 off 94 balls) was supported by Rohit Sharma (65 off 81 balls) up the order, before a flurry of wickets in the last 16 overs briefly stalled India’s surge. In the end, it was a cameo from Ravindra Jadeja (47 not out off 29 balls) that got India to a score they would have fancied themselves defending.
 
India’s defence was off to a perfect start after Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav snapped up openers Colin Ingram (6) and Hashim Amla (22), respectively, early. The Proteas were at 31 for two in four overs and staring down the barrel. Here, an unlikely pairing came together as Robin Peterson, who was promoted up the order, was joined by captain AB de Villiers.
 
The duo snatched the initiative from the pumped up Indians before they knew it as the team’s hundred was up in the 14th over itself. Peterson was the more aggressive of the two, which is an accomplishment in itself given de Villier’s usual flamboyance. The 33-year-old Peterson, who made his ODI debut back in 2002, reached his maiden half-century in the 18th over. De Villiers didn’t take much longer to notch up the 33rd fifty of his career as the Proteas reached 154 for two in 24 overs.
 
It was here that Jadeja decided enough was enough. The new man with the golden arm of India cricket, who has carved a reputation of being a partnership-breaker and game-turner, inflicted three dismissals in quick succession in three different ways.

First, Peterson was run out via a superb effort from Jadeja at mid-wicket, who dived to stop the ball and swiftly threw the ball to ‘keeper Dhoni as the batsman was well short of his crease.
 
Jadeja then trapped JP Duminy in front with his deceiving straight one, even as South Africa wasted their only referral of the innings. Then, it was de Villiers’s turn to succumb to Jadeja after a mistimed chip went straight to the Indian at short leg. From 155 for two, Jadeja had pushed the Proteas down to 184 for five. That was soon to become 187 for six after David Miller became the first batsman in the Champions Trophy to be dismissed run-out without facing a single delivery, thanks to Faf du Plessis slipping over while running.
 
With 144 to win from 17 overs and No 8 McLaren joining du Plessis, the partisan Indian contingent at Sophia Gardens had already begun celebrating. However, in the day and age of Twenty20, the target was still achievable. Du Plessis and McLaren brought up their fifty partnership before anyone even realized it and brought the equation down to 95 off 77 balls. However, du Plessis all but ended the Proteas’ hopes as he lobbed Ishant Sharma straight to Suresh Raina at mid-off.

McLaren, however, carried on and brought up a gritty half-century batting with the tail. Last man Morkel provided good support and stuck around with McLaren for a frustrating 48-run stand, before Bhuvneshwar cleaned up the former on the last ball of the match.

In the end, as it turned out, Jadeja was the difference between the two teams. His 47 not out helped India on to a good total, before he came back to bowl nine overs for an economical 31 runs, picking up two wickets along with a catch and a run-out to his name. However, it wasn’t good enough for him to bag the Man of the Match award, which went to Dhawan.

Brief scores:

India 331 for 7 in 50 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 114, Rohit Sharma 65, Ravindra Jadeja 47*; Ryan McLaren 3 for 70) beat South Africa 305 in 50 overs (Ryan McLaren 71*, AB de Villiers 70, Robin Peterson 67; Ravindra Jadeja 2 for 31, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2 for 31) by 26 runs.

Man of the Match: Shikhar Dhawan

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