Dhawan ton ensures India victory

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The opening Champions Trophy in sunny Cardiff on Thursday was a high-scoring affair, with number one ODI side India beating South Africa by 26 runs in a roller coaster game that saw many a half century scored.

The opening Champions Trophy in sunny Cardiff on Thursday was a high-scoring affair, with number one ODI side India beating South Africa by 26 runs in a roller coaster game that saw man a half century scored.

India posted an impressive 331 for seven, with batsman Shikhar Dhawan wowing fans with his maiden ODI century and Ravi Jadeja blitzing a nifty 47. The Proteas then did well to get near the total, but a flurry of middle order wickets ensured they were all out for 305.

South Africa chose to bowl first and from the get go that turned out to be the wrong call, as their bowling attack, without the injured Dale Steyn, struggled to find a rhythm against the Indians.

Dhawan and opening partner Rohit Sharma put on 127 for the first wicket and took full advantage of the sloppy bowling dished up to them. Both Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Rory Kleinveldt ended up going for more than 80 runs in their 10 overs.

The partnership was eventually broken in the 22nd over when Rohit was dismissed by Ryan McLaren, who took three wickets in the end. Sharma had made 65 off 81 balls, striking eight fours and a six.

Dhawan continued to impress, bringing up his century off 80 balls. At the other end, Virat Kohli made a decent if slightly sedate 31, before being dismissed with the score on 210, caught by Hashim Amla in the deep.

The Proteas managed to recover slightly from this point on, taking regular wickets. JP Duminy's part-time spin accounted for Dhawan, who was caught by replacement fielder Aaron Phangiso, who was on the field for Morne Morkel. The paceman had to leave the field with a quad strain.

The rest of the knock saw more wickets fall, including Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina, before Jadeja showed his quick-hitting prowess. He used 19 balls for his 47 not out, hitting two fours off the final two balls.

South Africa's chase got off to a great start in terms of run rate, but not in terms of wickets. They lost openers Colin Ingram and Hashim Amla early, leaving AB de Villiers and Robin Peterson to rescue the knock.

Peterson was sent up the order as a pinch hitter and did very well, scoring his maiden ODI fifty in the process. He and De Villiers put on 124 together for the third wicket, and they kept up with the rate with ease.

But once Peterson departed with the score on 155, run out by Jadeja, the Proteas lost the majority of their wickets in quick succession. JP Duminy was trapped LBW for 14 by Jadeja, while Faf du Plessis and David Miller also failed.

De Villiers was out for 70 in the midst of all this, leaving McLaren to try and salvage the chase, if only for net run rate purposes if it's required. The all-rounder was impressive, also making his maiden ODI fifty, and ended the game unbeaten on 71.

To be fair, India's bowling was hardly better than the Proteas' on this good batting deck, and had they kept a few wickets in hand the South Africans would probably have reached the target. The pace bowlers, as was the case with SA, were all mightily expensive.

<b>South Africa:</b> Hashim Amla, Colin Ingram, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Robin Peterson, Morne Morkel, Rory Kleinveldt, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

<b>India:</b> Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma.

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