Eden Gardens, The Gulf Observer: India underlined their status as Cricket World Cup favourites by steamrolling second-placed South Africa to make it eight wins from eight on a record-equalling day for Virat Kohli.
Rohit Sharma’s table-topping hosts thumped the Proteas by 243 runs at Eden Gardens, dismissing their opponents for just 83 – Ravindra Jadeja snaring 5-33 – after Kohli’s 49th ODI century had underpinned their total of 326-5.
Kohli (101no off 121 balls) now has the joint-most ODI hundreds, level with fellow Indian Sachin Tendulkar, after scoring his second ton of this World Cup on his 35th birthday.
Three days after skittling Sri Lanka for just 55 en route to a 302-run victory in Mumbai, India’s bowlers were lethal again as South Africa’s innings lasted just 27.1 overs – Marco Jansen top-scoring with 14 – and Rohit’s men guaranteed top spot in the standings.
Two wickets came after successful reviews as Rassie van der Dussen (13) and Heinrich Klaasen (1) were out lbw to Mohammed Shami and Jadeja respectively to leave South Africa 40-5 in the 14th over, with those dismissals following Quinton de Kock (1), Temba Bavuma (11) and Aiden Markram (9).
De Kock chopped Siraj onto his stumps; Bavuma was bowled by a beauty from left-arm-spinner Jadeja; and Shami forced Markram to edge a peach behind to KL Rahul.
When David Miller (11) and Keshav Maharaj (7) were bowled by Jadeja, South Africa were 67-7 and they ultimately ended up shy of three figures as they took an absolute hammering in Kolkata.
South Africa had come into the contest with six wins from seven – their sole blemish a shock loss to Netherlands – but they were blown away by India’s bowling attack, like so many others before them.