Melbourne: Keeping aside all the speculation and oppressions, India scripted history here when it defeated South Africa by 130-run. It was Shikhar Dhawan who scripted history for India and become hero of the match.
That said, there was no shortage of either colour or passion as 86,786 fans, a massive majority of them Indian supporters, crammed the biggest cricket ground in the world in the fond hope that India would end its ICC Cricket World Cup jinx against South Africa.
Their hopes were realised as India produced a commanding performance to sweep AB de Villiers’s men aside. Shikhar Dhawan’s seventh One-Day International hundred and a truly wonderful mid-innings flourish from Ajinkya Rahane had muscled India, batting by choice, to 307 for 7, but it was what followed that was special.
The bowling was relentlessly aggressive as Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma cranked up the pace on a surface that had become livelier under lights, but it was the fielding that shone the brightest.
Wonderful athleticism and accuracy from the deep from Mohit and Yadav resulted in the run outs of de Villiers and David Miller respectively. Games turn on just one such dismissal; two were two too many for South Africa. To see India field with the brilliance that it did must have been particularly heart-warming for Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whose side took a giant stride towards the quarterfinal with a comprehensive 130-run victory after South Africa was bowled out for 177 with nearly ten overs to spare.