Dhawan goes “Dham dhamadham dham” as India thumps South Africa

 

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By Kersi Meher-Homji

Was it Melbourne or Kolkata, I wondered. Cheered on by a crowd of about 90,000 at the MCG last night (80,000 appeared to be from India– painted faces, Indian flags, whistles, drums and all), underdogs India thumped World Cup 2015 favourites South Africa by 130 runs with 58 balls to spare.

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And it was Shikhar Dhawan who led the Indians to their epic victory with his “Dham dhamadham dham” century. It feels as if India is approaching the shikhar of Himalayas.

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Although the reigning WC champions, India’s performances in Australia since November 2014 in Tests and in the Tri Nation series were so disappointing that few had predicted such improved performance in the current WC. And their worst batsman till 14th of February was Dhawan.

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With Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane continuing from where they left off in the Test series, they combined superbly with Dhawan in the World Cup. India has started brilliantly beating Pakistan by 76 runs last Sunday the 15th and the strong South Africa by 130 runs last night.

No one doubted their batting prowess but their bowling and fielding had let them down before this World Cup.

Surprisingly they bowled with control and fielded like acrobats last night and appear confident of making it to the semi-final. Their long stay in Australia is reaping benefits. With Kohli and Rahane, Australia now appears more like home away from home. Especially to Dhawan whose wife is a Melbournian.

Much-criticised Dhawan gave the start India needed by an incandescent innings of 137 smashng 16 fours and two sixes. He added 127 runs for the second wicket with Kohli (46) and 125 with Rahane (79 runs including seven fours and three sixes) for the third wicket.

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India reached 7 for 307 and India supporters still feared it was not enough as South Africa has a strong batting line up. At 2 for 108 in 22.5 overs they appeared well in the hunt but then skipper AB de Villiers was run out through a brilliant throw by Mohit Sharma. This was the beginning of the end as they lost their last eight wickets for measly 69 runs. That run out was a game changer.

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The Indian bowlers – both pace and spin – were accurate. Only Faf du Plessis, who made 55 runs scored freely.

South Africa’s 130 run loss is their biggest defeat in their history of WC. Who would have expected it yesterday evening? Many contributed to India’s big victory but none more so than Man of the Match Dhawan who was earlier passing through a horrid patch down under.

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At the presentation ceremony amid the cacophony of the hysterically happy crowd, he said, “I would say it’s a great feeling. It was important that the partnerships were going big for my team. That was my plan. We lost the early wicket today when AB [de Villiers] made a great run out.

“I just wanted to stay at the wicket, respected the good balls. I was relaxed, I knew once set I could bring up the run-rate again. After 20th to 25th over I was in, I knew I could get boundaries easily.

“Kohli and Rahane batted beautifully, Virat at the start when we were under pressure. He gave the stability and Jinky [Rahane] started on a good note and his strike rate was very good so I could relax at the other end.”

Before Dhawan walked off stroking his moustache he thanked the crowd for their non-stop support.

A happy and cool cat skipper MS Dhoni said, “I think more than just the result, it was how we played. Back to back performances by both the bowling and batting units. South Africa are a very good side, so one more complete performance. We can only speculate how important the toss was. We were able to swing the ball under lights. The bowlers bowled in good areas, and even Jadeja bowled very well, not just quick and flat the way he usually bowls.

“Very pleased with the run-outs. We usually see the oppositions taking on our fast bowlers in the deep. Mohit [Sharma] and Umesh [Yadav] are quite fast and have good arms. What’s happening really well is we are able to execute our plans. I can give fields to the fast bowlers. They are not bowling loose balls. They bowled tight lines and the batsmen had to play big shots to get runs. The amount of effort the fast bowlers are putting in the nets is beginning to show now.”

To add to India’s day of pride and glory, former Indian spinning great Anil Kumble was inducted into the prestigious International Cricket Council Hall of Fame at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.

Are these convincing victories over Pakistan and South Africa a flash in the pan for India or the beginning of a renewed era of success? Will South Africa prove their distracters, who call them “chockers”, wrong by lifting the World Cup for the first time?

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It’s too soon to say now but reigning champions India has begun her WC campaign sensationally.

Short URL: https://indiandownunder.com.au/?p=4403

Posted by on Feb 23 2015. Filed under Community, Featured, Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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