India vs South Africa Review : Atul Wassan Shares his views as Indian Cricket Team won their first 2019 Cricket World match vs South Africa
The Indian Cricket Team under the leadership of skipper Virat Kohli kicked-off their World Cup campaign on a real high as they defeated the mighty, yet a depleted South African side by 6 wickets at The Rose Bowl in Southampton on Wednesday.
Chasing a rather below par total of 227 put on the board by the Proteas, courtesy a top-notch all-round bowling performance by the Indians, Team India, after some minor hiccups throughout the match, eventually went past the target with 15 balls to spare. It was Rohit Sharma’s scintillating knock of 122 off 144 deliveries that acted as a major deterrent for the Proteas in a bid to prevent their third successive loss in the ongoing World Cup.
An ‘unlike Southampton pitch’
The Rose Bowl at Southampton has been a paradise for batsmen in the recent past and the numbers are quite telling- the average first-innings score was 311 prior the match played on Wednesday.
But, against what almost everyone expected, including the Proteas skipper Francois du Plessis who chose to bat first after winning the toss, there was something there for the pacers even in the second innings when the Indian batting turned up. The surface had that tennis ball sort of a spongy bounce with the ball tending to misbehave after hitting the deck.
This is where the absence of South Africa’s veteran fast bowler- Dale Steyn hurt the Proteas the most, especially after looking at the way 23-year-old Kagiso Rabada bowled yesterday. He could have got out Rohit Sharma in as many as three occasions, had the Goddess of fortune smiled at him, even a tad.
Jasprit Bumrah- The star performer
If it was Kagiso Rabada for South Africa, it was the apple of all eyes-Jasprit Bumrah who was the star performer for India at Southampton with the leather in hand. He dismissed both the openers-Quinton de Kock and the veteran Hashim Amla within the first six overs, and consequently prevented them from getting off to a flier.
Playing is debut World Cup match, the 25-year-old showed no nerves whatsoever and was simply unplayable throughout the innings, returning with the bowling figures of 10-1-35-2.
It was a bit surprising to see Bhuvaneshwar Kumar playing ahead of the in-form Mohammed Shami, as India decided to play both their wrist spinners, instead of fielding in their ever-potent fast bowling trio. But, the overcast conditions at The Rose Bowl and Bhuvaneshwar’s ability to swing the ball both ways, meant that Shami had to sit out. Bhuvaneshwar, didn’t disappoint his skipper as he too returned with impressive figures of 10-0-44-2.
The exceptional ‘Kulcha’ duo
Although it was Jasprit Bumrah who did the early damage with the new ball, the two wrist spinners- Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who have been quite a revelation for India in the limited-overs format, did what was expected of them.
Two years down the lane no one would have thought that India would be operating with the two wrist spinners at tandem, and that too in England, replacing the experienced duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. But, they have done it with a bang, and their performance on Wednesday was a perfect testament to it.
The duo broke the back of the entire South African middle-order and shared 5 wickets between at the cost of only 97 runs in their 20 overs. A significant damage was done by Chahal as he picked up four crucial wickets, including that of their in-form skipper Faf du Plessis.
Chahal particularly, was brave enough as he regularly tossed up his deliveries, thereby enticing the batsmen to go for the big shots as they charged down the track. This worked brilliantly in the leg-spinner’s favour.
Kuldeep Yadav, who has been a more attacking bowler, in comparison to Chahal in the previous series, perfectly played the role of containing the batsmen as Chahal was amongst the wickets.
A gem of an innings from Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma’s 122 off 144 was a perfect gem of an innings to say the least. It could have been a tricky target with the way the pitch behaved, coupled with excellent new ball bowling from Rabada and Chris Morris.
Moreover, with Shikhar Dhawan (8 off 12) back in the hut early on in the 6th over itself, he played his unnatural game to perfection.
Rohit Sharma, who is known for his flamboyant and glamorous display of stroke play, played it the ‘dirty’ way on the testing Southampton pitch. Considering how close the match got in the end even in the absence of a full-fledged bowling attack, had he not survived and curbed his instincts, the match would have perhaps slipped out of India’s hands.
All in all, it was the perfect game for India, and it can be said with a sense of conviction, that India ticked all the boxes in their match against South Africa.
— The Bharat Army (@thebharatarmy) June 6, 2019