ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 13th Match: India batter South Africa behind Dhawan’s century

Dhawan was named Man of the Match for scoring a career-best 137

Dhawan was named Man of the Match for scoring a career-best 137

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

India opener Shikhar Dhawan scored a career-best 137 to help his side batter South Africa by 130 runs in front of a packed house at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Dhawan was well supported by batsman Ajinkya Rahane, who scored 79.

However, South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis deserves some credit for his gutsy knock of 55.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni would have been brooding over his decision to bat first early on after opener Rohit Sharma was run out by South Africa skipper AB de Villiers for a duck.

Dhawan and Virat Kohli made up for the early loss of Sharma with a 127-run partnership, during which Dhawan brought up his half-century, before Kohli was caught by du Plessis at short midwicket off the bowling of Imran Tahir for 46.

Dhawan and Rahane kept the runs flowing with a 125-run partnership, during which Dhawan registered his seventh ODI century and Rahane his half-century, before Dhawan was caught by Hashim Amla at long leg off the bowling of Wayne Parnell.

Dhawan’s career-best knock of 137 came off 146 balls and included 16 boundaries and two sixes.

Suresh Raina only made six runs before he was caught by Rilee Rossouw, who was the substitute fielder, off the bowling of Morne Morkel.

Rahane went on to score 79 off 60 deliveries, which included seven boundaries and three sixes, before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Dale Steyn.

Rahane hit seven boundaries and three sixes during his knock of 79

Rahane hit seven boundaries and three sixes during his knock of 79

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

With India’s lower order failing to make any major contributions, the team finished on 307/7 off their 50 overs.

Morkel was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Steyn, Parnell and Tahir chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 308 to win, South Africa got off to a horrible start as opening batsman Quinton de Kock was caught by Kohli at mid-off off the bowling of Mohammed Shami for seven runs.

Amla managed to make 22 runs before he was caught by Shami at long leg off the bowling of Mohit Sharma.

Du Plessis and de Villiers steadied the innings with a 68-run partnership before de Villiers was run out by Mohit Sharma for 30.

Du Plessis ended up making 55 off 71 balls, which included five boundaries, before he was caught by Dhawan at mid-off of the bowling of Mohit Sharma.

Du Plessis made a valiant 55

Du Plessis made a valiant 55

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Following du Plessis’ dismissal, South Africa’s middle and lower order completely collapsed as they went from 133/4 to being bowled out for 177.

Ravichandran Ashwin inflicted the most damage with three wickets, while Sharma and Shami snapped up two wickets each and Ravindra Jadeja claimed one.

De Villiers was disgusted with his side’s performance, and said: “The run-outs cost us dearly tonight, just when we got started with the bat. We lost our way. Thought our bowlers fought back well, we were looking at 350 at one stage. It was a 270-275 kind of wicket, but looking at the way the Indians batted, it was a good effort to restrict them to 307. We just have to regroup as a batting unit and work hard on our game. I still thought it was a good toss to win. It was one of those where you wanted to bat first and put a team under pressure who had fielded in the heat, but still no excuses. We lost Vernon and I needed Parny’s overs. Otherwise I’d have ended up bowling again. We just didn’t bat well enough.”

Dhoni was pleased to have won, and said: “I think more than just the result, it was how we played. Back to back performances by both the bowling and batting units. South Africa are a very good side, so one more complete performance. We can only speculate how important the toss was. We were able to swing the ball under lights. The bowlers bowled in good areas, and even Jadeja bowled very well, not just quick and flat the way he usually bowls. Very pleased with the run-outs. We usually see the oppositions taking on our fast bowlers in the deep. Mohit and Umesh are quite fast and have good arms. What’s happening really well is we are able to execute our plans. I can give fields to the fast bowlers. They are not bowling loose balls. They bowled tight lines and the batsmen had to play big shots to get runs. The amount of effort the fast bowlers are putting in the nets is beginning to show now.”

Dhawan was named Man of the Match, and said: “I would say it’s a great feeling. It was important that the partnerships were going big for my team. That was my plan. We lost the early wicket today, AB hit a great run out. Just wanted to stay at the wicket, respected the good balls. I was relaxed, I knew once set I could bring up the run rate again. After the 20-25th over I was in and I knew I could get boundaries easily. [Kohli and Rahane] batted beautifully. Virat, at the start when we were under pressure, gave the stability and Jinky started on a good note, and his strike rate was good so I could relax at the other end.”

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