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Hitman to the fore 

Southampton, June 5

Rohit Sharma curbed his natural flair for greater good as his gritty hundred complemented a superb bowling effort in India’s resounding six-wicket victory over a hapless South Africa in their World Cup opener here today.

It was an uncharacteristic 23rd ODI hundred for the Indian vice-captain (122 not out off 144 balls) in a successful chase of 228 in conditions that were not exactly conducive for free-flowing strokeplay. It might have taken India 47.3 overs to complete the chase but not for once were they in any sort of trouble.

Jasprit Bumrah bowled a scary opening spell while leggie Yuzvendra Chahal displayed his guile in the middle overs, making them equal contributors in India’s victory.

It did help that a bowling attack with a lone ranger in Kagiso Rabada  couldn’t have defended a 227-run total but nobody can take away the fact that conditions remained overcast throughout with the extra bounce causing discomfort for most of the established batsmen.

For South Africa, everything went wrong from the start as skipper Faf du Plessis first surprised everyone by deciding to bat first and then dropped Rohit in the slips when he had barely got off the mark. 

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