Shikhar Dhawan exults after bringing up his ton © Getty Images Shikhar Dhawan exults after bringing up his ton © Getty Images

Shikar Dhawan back in form taking India Step-Closer to Quarter Finals

Written by  Published by:Pakistan Views Monday, 23 February 2015 08:10

Shikhar Dhawan smashed 137 off 146 balls as defending champions India whipped South Africa by 130 runs to step closer to a quarter-final berth in the World Cup on Sunday.

A boisterous crowd of 86,876 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground saw India pile up 307-7 after electing to bat first and then bowl out the Proteas for 177 with almost 10 overs to spare.

Faf du Plessis top-scored with 55 for South Africa but India made regular inroads in their batting, with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin taking three wickets and seamers Mohammad Shami and Mohit Sharma sharing four between them.

With two wins from as many games, MS Dhoni's men will move into the quarter-finals if they beat unfancied UAE next.

South Africa, one of the pre-tournament favourites who beat Zimbabwe in their first match, have two points from as many games.

Dhawan, the left-handed opener who resides in Melbourne with his British-Asian wife Ayesha and three children, hit 16 boundaries and two sixes on his way to his seventh ODI century.

All his seven hundreds have come in a winning cause, but it was the confident display against Dale Steyn and company that would have pleased India.

Steyn, one of the most fearsome fast-bowlers in the modern game, was clipped by Dhawan over backward square-leg for six and driven over his head for another maximum by Ajinkya Rahane and finished with poor figures of 1-55 from 10 overs.

South Africa were hampered further when seamer Vernon Philander hobbled off the field with a hamstring injury after bowling just four overs.

Dhawan, who made 73 against Pakistan, put on 127 for the second wicket with Virat Kohli (46) and 125 for the third with Rahane (79 off 60 balls).

The 29-year-old then fell in the 44th over when Hashim Amla picked up an easy catch at fine leg off Wayne Parnell.

After making 80 in the last 10 overs despite losing wickets, India broke through in just the fourth over of South Africa's innings when Quinton de Kock, who had hit a century every time he had faced India before, was caught at mid-off for seven.

Dependable opener Amla had made 22 when he top-edged a pull off seamer Mohit Sharma and Shami, who had claimed De Kock's wicket, took a well-judged catch at long leg.

Skipper AB de Villiers made 30 in a 68-run stand for the third wicket with Du Plessis but was run out as Mohit rifled in a throw from deep cover for Dhoni to break the stumps.

South Africa slipped to 133-4 in the 29th over when Mohit, returning for his second spell, had the dangerous Du Plessis caught at mid-off by Dhawan.

Ashwin, who came into the attack in the 22nd over, had JP Duminy caught in the slips and then trapped Philander leg before.

In between those two dismissals, David Miller was run out for 22 to leave South Africa gasping for survival at 153-7 in 34 overs.

The tail folded as Shami dismissed Steyn, Ashwin bowled Morne Morkel and Ravindra Jadeja claimed last man Imran Tahir leg-before to spark wild celebrations in the stands packed with India supporters.

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