Melbourne: Shikhar Dhawan blazed his way to a career-best century as India posted a commendable 307 for seven against title contenders South Africa in the second group league encounter of the ICC Cricket World Cup, here today.
Courtesy Dhawan’s 137 off 146 balls and Ajinkya Rahane, who blasted his way to 79 off 60 deliveries, India posted their highest total in a World Cup game against the Proteas surpassing their previous highest of 296 in Nagpur, during the last edition of the mega-event.
It was yet another mini-collapse at the death as India lost five wickets for 46 runs in the last 6.3 overs.
En route his seventh ODI ton, that had 16 boundaries and two sixes, Dhawan earned the distinction of achieving the highest score by any batsman in a World Cup game against South Africa.
The Delhi left-hander’s love affair with South African bowling continued and this was his second ODI hundred against the Proteas in successive ICC tournaments, after having scored one back in 2013 in a Champions Trophy game in Cardiff.
The Indian top-order once again fired beautifully. Dhawan and Virat Kohli again had a productive partnership that yielded 127 runs for the second wicket.
Kohli (46, 60 balls) again was playing the role of an anchor before a moment’s indiscretion saw him gift his wicket to leg-spinner Imran Tahir by posting his long hop straight to Faf du Plessis at short mid-wicket.
However, Rahane was in a mood to make amends for his failure during Pakistan game as he matches Dhawan stroke for stroke during their rollicking 125-run stand for the third wicket in only 16.3 overs.
Rahane hit seven fours and three sixes with Dhawan, who has regained his form just when it mattered the most, started his innings from where he had left off against Pakistan.
It started with a clip off Vernon Philander to square leg boundary followed by a square drive off Dale Steyn. Then came an attractive cover drive as Dhawan got going.