Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan’s 137 runs combined with Ajinkya Rahane 79 was the foundation that allowed India to post 307-7 and ensure that the Proteas would need a record chase in front of a capacity crowd of 86 000 in Melbourne.
By so doing the defending World Champions India, announced themselves as genuine contenders to defend their title by overwhelming South Africa’s attack before bowling out the Proteas for a 130-run victory.
The win at the Melbourne Cricket Ground was India’s first win against South Africa at the World Cup after three previous losses.
Over and above the strong batting performance, India produced outstanding work in the field; sharing the wickets and running out two batsmen as South Africa’s top order collapsed to achieve 177 with 10 overs to spare, while losing their last seven wickets for 44 runs.
AB de Villiers’ men laboured on a hot day in the field after losing the toss. In an uncharacteristically clumsy fielding display, the Proteas dropped catches, including a chance to Hashim Amla at backward point which proved costly, as it was a let off for Dhawan on 53.
Proteas play West Indies next Friday in what AB de Villiers labelled a “must win-game.”