World Cup 2019, India vs South Africa: Five talking points

India began its World Cup campaign with a comprehensive defeat of South Africa at Southampton on Wednesday.

Rohit Sharma after getting to his 23rd ODI hundred and his second in a World Cup.   -  AFP Photo

India began its World Cup campaign, defeating South Africa by six wickets at Southampton on Wednesday. While it was a solid start for the tournament favourite, South Africa suffered its third defeat in as many games.

Sportstar looks at the five talking points from the fixture...

 

The Rohit show

Rohit Sharma provided a solid start to India and went on to score a century.

Both the openers — Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan — had performed poorly in the warm-up matches, leading to concerns about their forms. However, Rohit Sharma silenced the critics, playing a steady knock.

Rohit was dropped when he had just a single run on the board, and there was no looking back since. Rohit hit 13 boundaries and a couple of sixes to ensure there was no slip-up for India.

REPORT | India off to a winning start

 

Bumrah lives up to No. 1 tag

Jasprit Bumrah justified his rating as the world's top-ranked bowler with an inspired opening spell of two for 13 in five overs. Fielding restrictions in the opening stages of a One-Day International (ODI) match are all in favour of the batsmen but, amid talk of a World Cup run-fest, Bumrah proved the value of late movement in any form of cricket as he repeatedly beat the outside edge with a succession of deliveries.

He was rewarded with the wickets of Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock.

Read | Batsmen are clueless against Bumrah, says Kohli

 

Chahal plays a key role

With ODI pitches generally benign batting surfaces, having a wrist-spinner who can generate turn off even the most placid of pitches is a valuable asset for any side.

Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal ensured Bumrah's early breakthroughs were not wasted with a haul of four for 51. South Africa struggled to disrupt his line and length. The best of Chahal's wicket-taking deliveries was off Faf du Plessis; the Proteas captain made a defensive prod and was out bowled as the ball snuck through the gap between bat and pad.

 

Fine grab by de Kock

With relatively few runs to play with, South Africa needed to grab every chance that came its way going if it was to turn this match on its head.

Increasingly, whatever the type of cricket, wicketkeepers are often selected on their ability to bat rather than solely on their form behind the stumps. At his best, Quinton de Kock is a blistering batsman but he is also a fine gloveman and he gave South Africa a rare moment of joy by diving across first slip to dismiss Virat Kohli with a superb one-handed catch that saw the India captain fall for just 18.

It was the first time in three World Cups that the star batsman has not started the tournament with a hundred.

Read | Rabada extremely unlucky, says Faf du Plessis

 

Faf’s captaincy

With South Africa all three of its game so far, questions were raised about the team’s future in the tournament. Fans took to social media to slam the policies of the team management and also hit out at captain Faf du Plessis. He hasn’t had a memorable outing in the tournament so far, and a defeat against India has worsened things for the Proteas.

(With inputs from AFP)