Rohit Sharma admits he had to change style to lead India to ICC Cricket World Cup victory over South Africa
Rohit Sharma admitted he had to rein in his natural attacking instincts as his unbeaten century led India to victory over South Africa on an historic day at the Ageas Bowl.
Hampshire’s home ground hosted it’s maiden ICC Cricket World Cup fixture.
And it was India who came out on top as they clinched a six-wicket victory in their tournament curtain raiser.
In contrast, South Africa suffered a third successive loss and they face an uphill task of reaching the semi-finals.
Set 229 to win by the Proteas, Sharma’s brilliant 122 not out delighted the swathe of India supporters inside the Ageas Bowl.
The opening batman held back from his usual explosive style on a wicket that suited the bowlers.
His innings consisted 13 fours and one maximum from 144 balls.
And although it wasn’t a vintage Sharma display, he celebrated getting India over the line.
He said: ‘There was a bit in the pitch for the bowlers so I couldn’t really play my natural game.
‘Certain shots that I love I had to cut out because it was important to take our time.
‘I tried to leave as many balls as possible at the start.
‘Those are the basics you have to do sometimes.
‘Building partnerships was the key even though it was a small total.
‘It was not a typical Rohit Sharma innings! But I had to get the job done.’
South Africa were soon regretting their decision to bat first as Jasprit Bumrah (two for 35) opened up with a terrific spell of aggressive bowling.
In his first over he sent down a ball that seamed in and almost cut Quinton de Kock in two.
Bumrah didn't have to wait long before striking the first blow. In his next over he had former Hampshire batsman Hashim Amla caught at second slip by Rohit Sharma for six.
The South African batsmen continued to have a torrid time and Bumrah struck again in the sixth over.
De Kock trying to drive a ball that was full and wide could only edge it to Virat Kohli at third slip.
At 26 for two the Proteas were in deep trouble.
Their total of 34 after 10 overs represented the lowest opening power play of the tournament to date.
Faf du Plessis (38) and Rassie van de Dussan (22) steadied the ship with a 50 partnership off 68 balls.
The introduction of spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (four for 51) and Kuldeep Yadav (one for 46), however, spelt further trouble for South Africa.
Chahal removed van der Dussan and du Plessis in the 20th over and JP Duminy was later trapped lbw by Yadav.
South Africa were in dire straits at 98 for five but brave resistance from lower order batsmen David Miller (31), Andile Phehlukwayo (34) and Chris Morris (42) lifted them to 227 for nine at the close of their innings.
The fall of Shikhar Dhawan, caught behind off the bowling of Kagiso Rabada early in the India innings restored some hope in the South Africa ranks.
India captain Virat Kohli fell to a terrific one-handed diving catch from wicket-keeper de Kock off Phelukwayo with India on 54 for two. A superb innings century by Sharma ably supported by KL Rahul (26) and MS Dhoni (34) saw India h