MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — India claimed its first World Cup win over South Africa after confidently defending a Shikhar Dhawan-led target of 308-7 for a 130-run victory in a Pool B match Sunday.
After Dhawan crafted a stylish century to set the platform for a big total, India stifled South Africa’s batsmen with some tight bowling paired with sharp fielding.
India is now undefeated in two pool matches at the World Cup after a 76-run win over archrival Pakistan last week.
The Indian bowlers never allowed South Africa to settle into its innings, claiming wickets with a regularity that denied the batsmen the chance to establish worthwhile partnerships.
Offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin had India’s best figures of 3-41, while Mohammed Shami (2-30) and Mohit Sharma (2-31) took two wickets each in an assured bowling display.
The game was a home match for India, as more than 86,000 — mainly Indian — fans turned the Melbourne Cricket Ground into a sea of the team’s blue, punctuated only by Indian flags waving around the stadium.
Quinton de Kock looked unsettled and made just seven before he was caught by Virat Kohli off Shami in the fourth over. His opening partner Hashim Amla made 22 before top edging a short-pitched Sharma ball to Shami at long leg.
AB de Villiers, who was responsible for two Indian run outs, was himself caught out of his crease thanks to a sharp Mohit return over the wickets. The South Africa captain made 30 in his brief, but confident knock off 38 balls.
Francois Du Plessis top scored for South Africa with 55. He brought up his half century shortly before being caught by Dhawan at mid-off from the bowling of Sharma. J P Duminy was then out for six attempting a reverse sweep, caught by Raina in slips off Ashwin.
David Miller (22) became the fourth run out of the match thanks to an excellent return throw from Umesh, and Vernon Philander was out for a duck two balls later in the same over, trapped lbw.
From then on, South Africa added just 24 runs for its last three wickets to finish on 177 all out.
Earlier, Dhawan treated South Africa’s much-vaunted bowling attack with disdain as he placed his shots around the MCG at will to reach 137 — the highest individual World Cup score against South Africa.
De Villiers gave South Africa a promising start after India won the toss and elected to bat, scoring a direct hit on the stumps after a diving stop, catching Rohit Sharma well out of his crease and yet to score in the third over.
Dhawan and Virat Kohli set about restoring India’s platform with some stylish stroke play from either end of the crease in a 127-run second wicket partnership.
Kohli made an attractive 46 before succumbing to the spin of Imran Tahir (1-48), clipping the ball straight to the chest of Faf du Plessis at short mid-wicket.
Ajinkya Rahane had 79 off 60 balls and shared a 125-run partnership with Dhawan for the fourth wicket.
Dhawan fittingly raised his century with a four through point off Parnell, raising his bat with outstretched arms and looking skyward to a standing ovation and the sustained roar of an appreciative crowd.