Chasing a daunting target of 327 against a bowling attack that has left no room for maneuver in this tournament, South Africa performed only slightly better than Sri Lanka in the previous match.
Half the side was in the dugout for 40 runs and with the pace trio and Ravindra Jadeja already wreaking havoc early on, it took captain Rohit Sharma to bring on China’s Kuldeep Yadav only in the 18th over.
Birthday boy Kohli may have managed to steal the limelight earlier, but Jadeja underlined his benefit to the team in Hardik Pandya’s absence by adding an extremely valuable 29 from 15 balls to boost the total and then stunned the opponents with a five-over. wicket carry on a useful surface (5/33).
For the record, this is the second time an Indian spinner has taken a five-wicket haul in a 50-overs World Cup, after Yuvraj Singh’s 5/31 against Ireland en route to victory in 2011.
No wonder head coach Rahul Dravid rated Jadeja’s performance as ‘outstanding’ as recently as Saturday and felt his contribution was sometimes overlooked.
The win helped India retain their place at the top with 16 points from eight against the Proteas’ 12 points from as many matches and cemented it once and for all when it comes to the semi-final clash. The team members still have their final league match against the Netherlands in Bengaluru, but they can start planning for an early Diwali celebration and keep an eye on potential semi-final opponents.
news source (www.nationalheraldindia.com)