It was a clinical display by the Indian bowlers, as they restricted South Africa to 227/9. Jasprit Bumrah started the domination with an absolute brute of an opening spell and it was followed by Yuzvendra Chahal and his craft as he sliced through the Proteas middle order with a 4-wicket haul.
However, South Africa came roaring back and Kagiso Rabada was at his imperious best as he delivered thunderbolts. He took out Shikhar Dhawan and almost had Rohit Sharma. The South African bowlers did not allow the Indian batsmen to get away and here, Rohit showed his experience as he was willing to battle it out through the tough period. He notched up his 23rd ODI century as India rocked home, and this effort was praised by captain Virat Kohli.
'Best ODI innings'
"I think in my opinion this is by far his best ODI innings because of the kind of pressure the first game brings from a World Cup point of view," Kohli said during the post-match press conference. "And then I know, as a batsman, when you go in and a few balls bounce like that, it's not easy to gather yourself again and play in a calm manner."
The opener was willing to soak up the pressure and give the good balls their due as he stuck it out without caring about his own strike-rate. Yes, he was helped by some iffy South African fielding, but the right-hander got into his stride and notched up his century to take India over the line. This effort was made note of by the skipper, who said that it never looked like Rohit would throw his wicket away.
Praising Rohit's gritty knocking, Kohli said Rohit showed a lot of maturity in the run-chase.
"He's played so many games, we expect a lot of maturity and responsibility from someone like him. But, in my opinion, of all the brilliant innings I have seen him play, I think this, for me, the top of the pile because of the way he compiled his innings and at no stage did we feel like, or he felt like he is going to throw it away," said Kohli.
Rohit dropped anchor and this allowed the other batsmen to come and play around him. He stitched an important 85-run third wicket stand with KL Rahul (26) and then a 74-runs stand with MS Dhoni (34).
Virat said that it was a tutorial by Rohit on how to control a game from one end and allow the others to come out and play with more freedom. He labelled it as the perfect innings on a wicket that had assistance for the fast bowlers and against a bowling unit which was looking to pick up wickets at all times.