@the_topspin 2 minute read
After back-to-back defeats in their first two games of the 2019 World Cup, South Africa crumbled once more when they faced India in Southampton. Here’s Lawrence Booth’s report from the 2020 Wisden Almanack.
South Africa v India
Match 8, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
The Ageas Bowl, Southampton
June 5, 2019
India made a belated first appearance, and performed like old hands. Bumrah disposed of the openers, Chahal flummoxed the middle order, and Sharma ticked off his 23rd ODI century. For South Africa, it was a third defeat in seven days – a scenario so wearingly familiar that du Plessis, their captain, skipped the post-match press conference, sending Morris instead.
Without Dale Steyn, who was now out of the tournament because of his shoulder, and Lungi Ngidi, nursing his hamstring, du Plessis had chosen to bat in testing conditions. That must have delighted India. First the relentless Bumrah brushed aside Amla – back after concussion – and de Kock. Then Chahal bowled van der Dussen, reverse sweeping, in the same over, and du Plessis through the gate. Morris rallied, but 227 felt like a white flag.
Still, with a bit more luck, South Africa’s bowlers might have made life tricky. Du Plessis, running forward from second slip, spilled Sharma off Rabada on one, and both openers gloved lifters just over gully. Rabada did get Dhawan, but not even the wicket of Kohli – superbly pouched by de Kock off Phehlukwayo for 18 – could change the game.
Sharma was unflustered, adding 85 with Rahul and 74 with Dhoni, and surviving on 107 when Miller dropped a dolly at cover off an incredulous Rabada. It was the mistake of a team whose spirit was breaking.
First published in the 2020 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.