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ICC World Cup: India won by 243 runs against South Africa

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In the ICC Cricket World Cup, India registered another massive victory in the tournament as it thrashed strong batting side South Africa by 243 runsat Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Today Indian spinners proved their mettle on the field.

A five wicket haul by Ravindra Jadeja dismantled the Proteas batting line up, even before they could touch the score of 90 while chasing the huge target of327 runs. They were bundled out for just 83 runs in 27.1 overs. Fireworks went off all across the stadium as soon as Kuldeep Yadav took the last wicket for India.
 
Earlier, electing to bat first India piled up326 for the loss of 5 wickets. On his birthday, Virat Kohli hit an unbeaten 101 runs equaling Sachin Tendulkar’s record of highest number of 49 centuries in One Day Internationals. Virat touched the milestone in 277 innings as against Tendulkar’s 452innings. He was adjudged Player of the match.
 
Shreyas Ayer scored 77. Kohli and Shreyas built 134 run partnership. Rohit Sharma made 40 runs. India is currently at Number one position with fourteen points followed by South Africa at 2nd place with twelve points.

Virat Kohli joined Sachin Tendulkar at the top of the ODI centurions list as India posted 326 and then had another head from their five-fanged bowling attack bury South Africa under this mountain of runs. If the slow bowlers had been left feeling a little under the shadow of the quicks over the last couple of games, Ravindra Jadeja waved the spin flag with gusto, finishing with 5 for 33 in a dominating 243-run win for the hosts which assures them of a top of the league standings finish for a second straight World Cup.

Unlike four years ago when they dropped one game and had another one washed out, India have a chance of finishing with a 100% record in the league phase after making short work of the next best team in the competition. Over the past ICC torunaments South Africa have made a nasty habit of self-combustion but on this occasion they were simply outplayed. Not every defeat, even those on this scale, is a humiliation, though India have meted out strong punishments to a few teams and there was an eerie familiarity to the way Jadeja and Co. set about the evisceration job.

The central peg of this contest was how South Africa’s power-packed line-up would deal with the India’s relentless bowling attack. South Africa promised a fitting ripostes through their line-up starting with Quinton de Kock, a player with more hundreds in this tournament than any other player. He lasted all of 10 balls tonight before dragging Mohammed Siraj back onto his stumps. Siraj and his new-ball bowling partner Jasprit Bumrah were once more immaculate and South Africa’s batters did nothing to put them off their lengths.

And that meant, in a chase of 326 they had only 21 runs after seven overs before Jadeja was introduced onto the attack on a pitch conducive to his art form. It took him three balls to spin one ball past Temba Bavuma’s attempted forward defence and hit top of off. And then the procession began. Mohammed Shami came in from the other end and had Aiden Markram caught behind in his first over. In his third Shami nipped one back into Rassie van der Dussen and sent him on his way with the aid of the DRS.

Around those two Shami strikes, Jadeja ran riot. Heinrich Klaasen, South Africa’s best player of spin, picked a very full ball to attempt a sweep and saw the ball slip under his bat and, to his horror, saw DRS show three reds. David Miller also tried and failed with the sweep, ending up face to face with the wreckage behind at the end of his shot. Keshav Maharaj was cleaned up and then Kagiso Rabada sent a return catch Jadeja’s way to give him his second ODI five-fer. The victory was sealed by a brace of Kuldeep Yadav wickets not too long after that.

It was a continuation of the celebratory mode that has surrounded India’s campaign. The near-capacity crowd at the Eden Gardens had enough reasons to revel in the first innings starting with yet another blazing start from Rohit Sharma, who rocketed India to a 91-run PowerPlay. It seemed like a very different pitch when Rohit took guard after winning the toss on a sultry afternoon in Kolkata. As is his wont, the Indian captain set the tempo with a blistering 24-ball 40 in which he took on South Africa’s new-ball pairing of Lungi Ngidi and Marco Jansen. Rohit chanced his arm, hitting six fours and two sixes in an opening stand of 62 in just 5.5 overs. Shubman Gill was a willing partner to this early show of bravado and boundaries flowed from both ends before Kagiso Rabada applied the breaks by having Rohit caught at mid-off to a rasping drive.

The introduction of spin in the 11th over changed the complexion of the game. With his third ball, Keshav Maharaj produced a magic ball that dipped on Gill to pitch on leg stump and spin past his attempted forward defence to hit top of off. With the pitch offering substantial turn, Kohli and Shreyas Iyer were forced to deal in a diet of singles with the phase between 11-20 bringing just a solitary boundary, a stark contrast to the 10 overs before that. While Maharaj bowled his 10 overs on the trot for just 30 runs without conceding a single boundary, South Africa’s second spinner on the afternoon – Tabraiz Shamsi – struggled with his control and his errors in length were quickly cashed in on by Iyer, who quickly upped the scoring rate after the aforementioned period of stasis.

Both batters got to their fifties and pushed the run-rate back above six runs per over. The dominant partner now, Iyer welcomed the returning Jansen with three fours in an over but against the run of play, his enterprising knock ended on 77 when he miscued an attempted lofted shot off Ngidi. KL Rahul and Kohli struggled to find the same fluency against the older ball, the former perishing to Jansen. Overs 35-40 brought India only 20 runs and boundaries got harder to come by.

Kohli continued to keep plugging away at one end, hitting the gaps and running hard for his runs. Given India play with a long tail, he ensured there was no open end for South Africa to expose that lack of batting depth. He was helped in the quest to push India past 300 by a pair of cameos from Suryakumar Yadav (22 off 14) and Ravindra Jadeja (29* off 15). Kohli got to the much-awaited milestone off the 119th ball he faced – making it his joint-slowest century in the format – but the flourish at the other end meant India left South Africa having to chase a daunting score against the tournament’s most vaunted bowling attack. And the opposition finished a distant second against that challenge.

Brief scores:India 326/5 in 50 overs (Virat Kohli 101*, Shreyas Iyer 77; Keshav Maharaj 1-30) beat South Africa 83 in 27.1 overs (Ravindra Jadeja 5-33, Mohammed Shami 2-18, Kuldeep Yadav 2-7) by 243 runs

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