Straight from team selection, the India team is right on the target. They didn’t try new things, no trials, straight away they went with most consistent 11 from past 2 to 3 years.
Bhuvi and Bumrah as opening bowlers, Kuldeep and Chahal as spinners and Hardik as allrounder.
It’s a tough call on Jadeja but with first match in World cup, Indian team management did the right thing in going with 2 Genuine Spinners/2 Seamers.
Bhuvi looked little out of the form but the greatest strength of him was not to leak runs in the beginning of the innings which is the most important thing for any team. (2 – 44)
Bhumrah looked in super form during the first phase and in the last phase as well by picking two important wickets at the beginning. (2 -35)
Chahal was the star of the bowling attack today by picking 4 wickets for 51 runs and breaking the dangerous partnership between Du Plessis and Van der Dussen in the same over.
Kuldeep does not look in great form, may be he still thinks about his form in IPL. But he is a champ and can join the party at any point of the series. (1 – 46).
Rohit played a superb innings by scoring his 2nd Hundred in WC. Its not the hitman today, it’s a different Rohit Sharma by rotating strike more than hitting boundaries. This was one of his best innings as there is something for the bowlers in the pitch and Rabada was on fire. Rohit played a matured innings and when Virat got out, he took the responsibility and played till the end and make sure India started their campaign with a winning note.
The most discussed No 4 _ – KL Rahul once again backed himself for No 4 by playing a good innings and had a great partnership with Rohit.
Dhoni came a head of Jadhav and played his cool innings as usual and he looked in great touch from ball 1.
Now let’s join the match….
From Ball 1 Bhuvi and Bhumrah on target, no width, no loose balls, right on the length. The duo made the SA batsman struggle to earn runs. Bhumrah with two super deliveries removed Q De Kock and Amla with two good catches as slip by Virat and Rohit.
As in last two years , the greatest strength for Indian bowling is the Spin Duo controlling runs and taking wickets in the middle. They are doing this for last two years taking at an average of 3 to 5 wickets in the spell of 20 overs between them.
Both, Chahal and Kuldeep debut WC match and they didn’t show any nervousness at any point of time. They were right on target and Chahal broke the important partnership between van der Dussen and Du Plessis by taking both wickets in the same over.
Those two wickets in the same over opened the gate to SA middle and lower order. Although there was a fight back from middle and lower order, the bowling from Chahal, Kuldeep was too good and they didn’t leak the runs.
Final phase of the game taken over by Bumrah and Bhuvi with super death bowling and Bhuvi ended the game with two wickets in the last over.
On the other end all the SA batsman got their starts but no one turned that into a big innings.
Couple of partnerships started between Du Plessis and van der Dussen of 54 runs, Miller and Phehlukwayo of 46 runs but none of them converted to big 100 to 120 runs partnership. At the end Morris and Rabada played a crucial partnership of 66 runs which took them to 227 which gave something to bowlers to bowl at.
2nd Innings – India Batting.
It was a bit shaky start by Indian Batsman Rohit and Dhawan by giving away wicket chances in the first over to Rabada and luckily both the balls landed in no mans land.
More than a shacky start , it was a great bowling by Rabada and well supported by Morris.
Dhawan got out to a super delivery by Rabada in the 6th over by scoring just 8 runs. Surprisingly Virat took time to settle, it looks like he want to spend time in the middle but somehow not able to deliver his magical innings which he do day and night on any day.
On the other hand , the Hitman Rohit Sharma started playing a different innings than normal mostly looking to rotate the strike rather than hitting boundaries. Virat looked little uncomfortable and Rohit took the battle and started playing a very matured innings.
Virat got out for a superb catch by DeKock and the most discussed, commented and debated position – who will play at 4? In last one year Indian team tried so many players at no 4 and still it became a debatable point till the players landed in England for their warm up matches. Rahul with 100 in warm up matches gave answers to all the questions making his mark at No 4.
When once Virat Kohli wicket is down, always the Opposition will be in top gear and one level up because of the importance of Kohli’s wicket, so at that point of time , its not easy for a player to come and take the game in control but today Rahul played a good innings and looked in great touch from ball 1.
Rohit and Rahul going well with an 85 partnership and SA does have only one option to break the partnership. Rabada was bought into attack and got Rahul’s wicket with a mystery ball as Rabada himself was surprised after the wicket. Rahul played a good innings and made the mark once again at No 4.
Suddenly the volume in the ground went high as Thala Dhoni walked out. It was a good move by Virat sending Dhoni before Jadhav where you need a wicket holding innings and also telling Jadhav and Pandya that they should be more looking to finish the games for India in this WC.
Dhoni from ball 1 hitting everything in the middle and never looked in trouble. Rohit and Dhoni played a match winning partnership of 74 and in the process Rohit completed his 2nd hundred in WC. Rohit never lost his temper and never tried restless shots or reckless shots. He played every ball with the same intention as his first ball. He left so many balls and put away the bad balls which we can call as super innings under the conditions where it supports bowlers.
Finally Dhoni tried to finish of the game with big hit and got to Morris and then the upcoming finisher Pandya came in and smashed 3 fours to win the game for India and put up 2 points in the board.
It was a great match for India to start their World Cup tournament . Its not a one man game today and that’s the reason, it’s an important win. Chahal and Bumrah did heroics with the ball, Rohit , Rahul and Dhoni did the same with the Bat. It’s a prefect match where everyone got the opportunity and everyone got sometime in the middle and played their roles.