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India produce convincing 26 run victory in ICC Champions Trophy against South Africa

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India put in a clinical performance with both bat and ball, riding mainly on the back off a maiden ODI century from Shikhar Dhawan to beat South Africa by 26 runs in the opening game of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013. India's batsmen put in consistent partnerships and finished off well with the bat before the bowlers kept pegging back the South African run chase to secure the all-important victory in their first game of the competition.

India and South Africa squared off for the first game of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff in a Group B encounter. Both sides realized the importance of securing an early victory in the competition, as the two skippers MS Dhoni and AB de Villiers walked out to the centre for the toss. South Africa won the flip of the cpin and decided to bowl first on a cloudy day in Cardiff.


South Africa, already missing the vastly experienced duo of Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis, were dealt another blow when Dale Steyn had to sit out of the game due to a side strain. The Proteas decided to go in with four seamers for the game, with Colin Ingram all set to open the batting for them. AB de Villiers acknowledged his side were short on international cricket experience, but was confident of the ability of the younger players in his side.

Indian Skipper MS Dhoni said he too would have preferred to bowl first, but he was not too disappointed with being put into bat as he felt the wicket would not change all that much over the course of the game. India made one major change to their line-up with opener Murali Vijay dropping out of the side and Rohit Sharma being bumped up to that position. India went in with 3 seamers and 2 spinners in the hope that Ravindra Jadeja would be able to manage his quota with some help from the part-timers, leaving themselves little room for error.

India's new opening combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma got off to a quiet side, as they saw off a good spell of bowling by Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe early on. After getting their eye in, the two batsmen started playing shots more freely and took the attack to the South African bowlers. Rohit Sharma especially looked in fine form as he played some elegant looking shots all over the ground. South Africa's bowlers repeatedly kept trying to bowl the short ball to the Indian batsmen but to avail as the Dhawan and Sharma played the pull shot with great control and ease.

South Africa's first and second change bowlers, Rory Kleinveldt and Ryan McLaren started off with poorly and looked very ordinary with their inconsistent bowling as the openers brought up the 100 run mark for India in the 15th over. It was finally in the 22nd over of the game that McLaren bowled one that cramped Rohit Sharma and he hold out in the deep, with India's score at 127/1 at this stage. Virat Kohli then joined Shikhar Dhawan and the two slowly built a good partnership and kept the scoreboard ticking along for the next 10 overs. Shikhar Dhawan slowly inched his way towards his maiden ODI hundred and finally reached the three-figure mark in the 32nd over with two consecutive boundaries with India at 194/1 at this stage.

Dhawan got a lucky break in the very next over as AB de Villiers missed a relatively easy stumping chance but it was Virat Kohli who fell next as Lonwabo Tsotsobe had him out caught in the deep in the very next over for a 41-ball 31. India took the batting powerplay in the very next over but after a couple of quite overs, Dhawan decided to take the attack to the South African bowlers only to find himself caught at square leg for a well-made 114 to JP Duminy.

Dinesh Karthik fell soon after to Ryan McLaren for a 15-ball 14 as the brakes were suddenly put on India's scoring rate. India went into the 40th over on 249/4, which soon became 260/5 in the 42nd over as Suresh Raina fell to Ryan McLaren for 9. Ravindra Jadeja then joined skipper MS Dhoni, as the latter helped take India closer to the 300-run mark. Dhoni fell for a 26-ball 27 with India's total at 291/6, but it was Jadeja's brilliant cameo of 47* (29) in the last four overs, which included 7 fours and a six that helped India end their 50 overs on a strong 331-7.

South Africa's opening batsmen Hashim Amla and Colin Ingram walked out to bat with a stiff target of 332 ahead of them. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar had Ingram caught at slip early on in the third over to leave South Africa at 13/1. It soon became 31/2 as Umesh Yadav had Hashim Amla caught behind for a 15-ball 22. Skipper AB de Villiers then joined Robin Peterson as the two batsmen put on a steady 124-run partnership though it was rather slow going and the required run rate crept to over 7.50 runs/over. It was finally in the 25th over, that a good throw from Jadeja and some quick work from Skipper MS Dhoni saw the dismissal of Robin Peterson for a 72-ball 68. JP Duminy fell shortly after to Ravindra Jadeja as the South Africans found themselves on 182-4 after 30.4 overs at this stage.

The turning point in the run-chase though came in the very next over as AB de Villiers's heave off   Umesh Yadav saw the fall of the South African skipper for a well made 70. Soon after, a tragic mix-up saw between David Miller and Faf du Plessis saw the run-out of South Africa's Miller with out facing a ball. South Africa found themselves at 188-6 in the 33rd over, still needing 144 runs from 17 overs. Ryan McLaren then joined Faf du Plessis out in the middle as the two began to hit a flurry of boundaries as South Africa took the batting powerplay in the 35th over, still needing 120 runs from 15 overs at 8 runs/overs at this stage.

South Africa soon lost two more wickets to Ishant Sharma this time as du Plessis and Rory Kleinveldt fell for 30 and 4 respectively, with the score at 251/8 after 40 overs. Jadeja picked up his second wicket of the game when he clean bowled Lonwabo Tsotsobe but the last wicket combination of Morne Morkel and Ryan McLaren stuck it out till the very last ball and put on a commendable 48 runs for the 11th wicket as South Africa were all out for 305 after 50 overs.

Shikhar Dhawan was voted Man-of-the Match for his century.

With victory against South Africa, India secured two points with a net run rate of +0.520. India's next game will be against the West Indies on June 11 at the Kennington Oval in London. South Africa on the other hand would now have to approach both their remaining group stage games as must-win encounters. The first of these encounters would be against Pakistan on June 10 at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham.


South Africa : AB de Villiers (c), Hashim Amla, Colin Ingram, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Robin Peterson, Rory Kleinveldt, Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe

India : MS Dhoni (c&wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.

Mini Scorecard

India 331-7 (50 overs, 6.26 runs/over)

S Dhawan 114 (94) R McLaren 3-70 (10)

R Sharma 65 (81) L Tsotsobe 2 -83 (10)

South Africa 305 all out (50 overs, 6.10 runs/over)

AB de Villiers 70 (108) R Jadeja 2- 31

R Peterson 68 (92) B Kumar 2-49

Result: India beat South Africa by 26 runs