The match, which was being billed as the clash of the top two sides in the World Cup, turned out to be quite an anti-climax as India were completely dominant in the game. Batting first after winning the toss, they posted 326/5 on the board as Kohli and Shreyas Iyer (77 off 87) played fine knocks. Ravindra Jadeja then picked up 5/33 as the Proteas were bundled out for a paltry 83 in 27.1 overs.
Yet again, skipper Rohit Sharma got India off to a terrific start, racing away to 40 in 24 balls, slamming six fours and two sixes. Kagiso Rabada gave South Africa some breathing space, having the Indian opener brilliantly caught at mid-off by Temba Bavuma. Shubman Gill (23 off 24) then fell to peach from Keshav Maharaj as the left-arm spinner got one to zip past the ball and hit the off stump.
An economical spell from Maharaj (1/30) slowed down India, but Kohli and Shreyas weathered the storm. They eventually ended up featuring in a defining third-wicket stand of 134, which put India in a solid position. The fine partnership ended when Shreyas miscued an attempted slog off Lungi Ngidi (1/63).
KL Rahul (8 off 17) struggled and eventually fell to a brilliant diving catch from Rassie van der Dussen off Marco Jansen’s (1/94) bowling. Even as Kohli slowed down a bit as he approached his record-equaling hundred, Suryakumar Yadav (22 off 14) and Jadeja (29 not out off 15) played impressive cameos to push India to 326.
In the chase, Mohammed Siraj got India off to the perfect start yet again as the in-form Quinton de Kock (5) dragged a delivery back onto his stumps. Bavuma (11) was then knocked over by a ripper from Jadeja. Mohammed Shami forced Aiden Markram (9) to nick one to the keeper.
Two brilliant reviews saw India get the wickets of Heinrich Klaasen (1) and Van der Dussen (13) as South Africa lost half their side for 40. There was no resistance from the lower order as Jadeja and left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav (2/7) ran through the tail.
--By A Cricket Correspondent