Jasprit Bumrah spearheaded India’s relentless bowling onslaught to stun sorry South Africa and reduce the Proteas to 227 for nine at the World Cup clash in Southampton.
Pace ace Bumrah was hailed as the world’s best bowler by India great Sachin Tendulkar last month, and the 25-year-old lived up to that tag at the Hampshire Bowl.
Bumrah returned two for 35 in a stunning World Cup debut as India launched their campaign in style with the ball.
Yuzvendra Chahal claimed four for 51 as India caused plenty of spin problems too, but in truth two of those wickets were gifts.
South Africa’s limp batting display left head coach Ottis Gibson’s team staring down the barrel of opening a World Cup with an unprecedented three-straight defeats.
Another loss would leave captain Faf Du Plessis’ injury-hit Proteas likely needing six wins from their six remaining group-stage matches to stand any chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.
The tournament’s new round-robin group format could now leave South Africa facing a string of dead rubbers, unless they can quickly turn their form upside down.
A rampant India cared not for South Africa’s woes however, ripping through the Proteas’ top order with merciless accuracy.
Six years ago an 18-year-old Bumrah jumped from B-grade cricket to the Mumbai Indians on the strength of one over of sheer pace.
Now the combative seamer has opened his World Cup career in unforgiving fashion, with India reminding everyone how to dominate a match from the field.
Bumrah sent openers Hashim Amla and Quinton De Kock packing as India reduced South Africa to 24 for two, before Chahal dismissed Rassie Van Der Dussen and Proteas captain Du Plessis in quick succession.
Du Plessis shook off a nasty bang on the finger to muster 38, but that still proved wholly inadequate as South Africa limped through their innings.
Kuldeep Yadav accounted for JP Duminy lbw, then Chahal caught and bowled David Miller.
Andile Phehlukwayo flexed some muscle in anger but departed for 34 after falling to an innocuous straight ball from Chahal.
Chris Morris’ brisk 42 and Kagiso Rabada’s 31 not out glossed South Africa’s score, but India would doubtless have turned around confident of reaching their victory target with little fuss.