ICC Champions Trophy 2013: Shikhar Dhawan's ton helps India set South Africa

Shikhar Dhawan scored 114 off 94 balls to help India to a huge total © Getty Images

By Jaideep Vaidya

Cardiff: Jun 6, 2013
 
Shikhar Dhawan scored his maiden One-Day International ton as India put on 331 for seven against South Africa in their Group B match of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013.
 
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 fancy themselves defending. Ryan McLaren was the pick of the South African bowlers with three wickets, but leaked as many as 70 runs.
 
In overcast, chilly conditions at Cardiff, South Africa skipper AB de Villiers had no hesitation bowling first after winning the toss. “There might be movement around. We have gone with four seamers,” he said. Although the injured Dale Steyn did not feature in the four, an attack consisting of Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, McLaren and Rory Kleinveldt looked intimidating enough.
 
India opened with one usual suspect, Dhawan, and another one who had scored just five and 10 in the warm-up matches, but was still considered good enough to be promoted up the order. Rohit, or No-hit, as he was cleverly named by his detractors, was picked over the classical opener in Murali Vijay, who himself did not inspire enough confidence from his performance in the warm-up ties.
 
The pressure was on Rohit, as the Indians started off cautiously against Morkel and Tsotsobe, scoring just 15 runs from the first five overs. The left-handed Tsotsobe then offered Rohit oodles of width on the first ball of the sixth over, and Rohit obliged with a whack over deep cover for six. Dhawan got into the attack soon after as he waltzed down the track and sent the last ball of the same over racing through the covers for four.
 
The two shots literally opened up the skies over Sophia Gardens as the two Indian batsmen got themselves comfy. They targeted a boundary an over and soon got the run-rate up to the six an over mark. The Proteas were guilty of bowling too many short deliveries on a hard pitch that did not offer much assistance.
 
The Indian makeshift opening pair brought up their century partnership in the 16th over. Statsman Mohandas Menon was quick to point out that the last time Indian openers had put on a 100-plus stand was when Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir smacked 176 past a hapless West Indies at Indore, a good 25 matches ago.
 
Unfortunately for this latest pair, with the score on 127, Rohit was to hole out to deep square-leg while executing a pull — a shot that had fetched both batsmen plenty of runs. Dhawan, who was on 53 off 49 balls at the time, took the cue and decided to up the ante as Virat Kohli walked in at No 3. The attractive pulls and the gorgeous drives through the covers and square of the wicket were out on display as Dhawan denied the Proteas a chance to get back into the match.
 
At the end of the 34th over, and the Batting Powerplay looming, India were at a healthy 209 for one, eyeing at least 350. Dhawan had just reached his century and was going strong. However, Kohli (31) became the second victim of the pull shot as a mistimed one went straight to deep midwicket. As Dinesh Karthik, who had scores of 106 not out and 146 not out to his name in the warm-up matches to his name, walked out at No 4, it would have seemed that India were still firmly in the driver’s seat.
 
However, the Proteas ensured that the foot that they had got through the door created a gap big enough for them to get through as India slipped to 260 for five, with Dhawan (114), Karthik (14) and Suresh Raina (9) falling in gaps of 15-20 runs. MS Dhoni then and Jadeja added a quick 31 before the Indian skipper holed out to long-on going for the big one.

But Jadeja was there to propel India in the death overs, as they got 47 runs off the last five to get to a comfortable 331. The intimidating South African pace quartet went for 261 of those, with two bowlers conceding more than 80 runs.

Brief scores:

India 331 for 7 in 50 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 114, Rohit Sharma 65; Ryan McLaren 3 for 70, Lonwabo Tsotsobe 2 for 83) vs South Africa.

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