Favourites India, South Africa romp to impressive victories
ADELAIDE, Australia (CMC):
Reigning World champions India and another tournament favourite, South Africa, both produced imperious batting efforts to stroll to uncomplicated wins in their opening fixtures of the 2015 Cricket World Cup yesterday.
At the Adelaide Oval, India beat perennial rivals Pakistan by 76 runs, while at Seddon Park in Hamilton, New Zealand, South Africa turned back a courageous Zimbabwe by 62 runs.
Both victories were undergirded by strong batting performances, with both India and South Africa both topping the 300-run mark batting first.
India piled up 300 for seven off their 50 overs, with stroke-maker Virat Kohli top scoring with 107, Suresh Raina (74) and opener Shikhar Dhawan (73) gathering half-centuries. Seamer Sohail Khan was the best bowler with five for 55.
GOOD START WASTED
In reply, captain Misbah-ul-Haq top-scored with 76 off 84 balls with nine fours and a six and opener Ahmed Shehzad got a patient 47. But Pakistan wasted a good start of 102 for two in the 24th over, to decline to 224 all out off 47 overs.
Seamer Mohammed Shami claimed four for 35, while fellow pacers Mohit Sharma (2-35) and Umesh Yadav (2-50) supported with two wickets apiece.
India started slowly, losing Rohit Sharma for 15 with the score on 34 for one in the eighth over, but two successive century stands took the game away from Pakistan.
Kohli put on 129 for the second wicket with Dhawan, who faced 76 balls and counted seven fours and a six before he was run out in the 30th over, failing to regain his ground at the non-striker's end after slight hesitation over a single.
The right-handed Kohli, who struck eight fours off 126 deliveries, then added a further 110 for the third wicket with Raina, whose cavalier knock came from just 56 balls and included five fours and three sixes.
In Hamilton, left-handers David Miller and JP Duminy hammered whirlwind unbeaten hundreds as South Africa stormed to 339 for four off their 50 overs.
Sent in, the Proteas were in a spot of bother at 83 for four in the 21st over, before Miller slammed 138 off 92 balls and Duminy 115 off 100 deliveries to stun Zimbabwe.
They posted a world record 256 for the fifth wicket, with Miller racking up seven fours and nine sixes and Duminy nine fours and three sixes.
Zimbabwe made a fist of it though, racing to 191 for two in the 33rd over, thanks to a classy top score of 80 from Hamilton Masakadza, who faced 74 balls and hit eight fours and two sixes.
He was supported by the elegant opener Chamu Chibhabha, whose 64 required 82 balls and included 10 fours, in a second wicket stand of 105.
However, once Masakadza perished, the last seven wickets tumbled for 86 runs, with leg-spinner Imran Tahir taking three for 36.