India beat South Africa by 243 runs to keep their CWC23 campaign to the next level

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Virat Kohli says I enjoy playing cricket again which is more important now and that I'm able to contribute for the team all over again

On his 35th birthday, Kohli gave himself a record-tying 49th ODI century and India their eighth straight World Cup win while Jadeja made a record by being the second Indian spinner to record a five-for in a World Cup, following Yuvraj Singh.

India had won the toss and decided to bat first. Even Kohli found it difficult to get the old ball away due to the tough conditions in Kolkata. Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, two left-arm spinners from South Africa, also presented Virat Kohli with drift, dip, and turn challenges.

Maharaj had removed the bail in his first over, dismissing 23-year-old Shubman Gill with a ripper that beat his outside edge. 

A similar delivery was bowled by Maharaj to Kohli, but the ball missed the outside edge. Kohli slowed down against spin after getting off to a quick start, reaching 17 off 13 balls at one point. But, he managed to see out overplay to dismiss the seamers. In the 35th over, as Lungi Ngidi returned to the attack, Kohli leaped out of his crease and carted him out for four.

Maharaj’s 10-0-30-1 boundary-less spell was reminiscent of the 90s ODIs. Not even India’s finest player of spin, Shreyas Iyer, could deceive Maharaj with his lengths and lines. Rather, Iyer let Kohli bat further into the innings by setting up Shamsi for four boundaries. Iyer went up to 77 off 87 balls after hitting 12 off 35.

Hardik Pandya, who is now out for the remainder of the tournament provided no batting insurance, therefore Kohli refused to take any unnecessary chances. On the other side, Suryakumar Yadav (22) and Jadeja (29) took similar chances, making sure that India crossed 300.

The 134-run stand between Kohli and Iyer at the third wicket was set up by Rohit. In the power play, the skipper of India raced out of the blocks, hitting 40 off just 24 balls. 

In the power play, he destroyed Marco Jansen, who was the most prolific bowler this tournament, and Ngidi, South Africa’s enforcer when Gerald Coetzee was not there.

In 9.4 overs, Jansen gave up 94 runs for just one wicket. As for Ngidi, he left the pitch due to a suspected injury two balls into the last over of India’s innings.

Then, South Africa’s problems affected their batting. In the second over, Quinton de Kock sliced Mohammed Siraj on, and Jadeja bowled Temba Bavuma as the new ball sailed past the outside edge.

The older ball was going to make things much more difficult. The middle-order in South Africa was destroyed by Jadeja and Mohammed Shami. 

While Shami outran Aiden Markram with the length and line of a Test match, Jadeja got rid of Henrich Klaasen and David Miller. Shami had to abandon the batter and kiss the outside edge of one delivery after bringing two deliveries back into Markram from over the wicket.

It looked for a while that India might get by without their best spinner, Kuldeep Yadav when it came to the ball. However, Jansen’s tail wagged for a considerable amount of time, which prompted the left-arm wrist spinner to be introduced. 

Kuldeep took two wickets while keeping them guessing by spinning the ball both ways. In addition to taking his second five-wicket haul in ODI cricket, Jadeja made history by being the second Indian spinner to record a five-for in a World Cup, following Yuvraj Singh.

On his 35th birthday, Kohli gave himself a record-tying 49th ODI century and India their eighth straight World Cup win.

Rohit Sharma, India captain:

“If we look at how we played in the last three games, we played better in terms of adapting to the situation. We were put under pressure against England. In the last game as well, we lost a wicket in the first over but got to a good score and seamers came to the party. Today was not an easy pitch; you needed someone like Kohli, who batted to the situation. Not to forget Shreyas. It’s important to let guys have freedom in the middle and what the team expects from them. You know it can’t always be done but when it does it looks good and that’s what happened with Shami. Same with Iyer, wasn’t getting the runs but he’s shown in the last two games the kind of class he has. Going hard in the first ten isn’t something we’ve discussed. That’s how Gill and I have batted together. We let our instincts take over. If the wicket is good, we keep going and things fall in place. Jadeja has been really good. Big matchwinner. He keeps doing the job and goes under the radar but today is a classic case of what he does – score late runs and take wickets. Not to get ahead of ourselves is something we are constantly talking about. When we turn up, we want to play to our potential.”

Temba Bavuma, SA captain:

“We know the challenge, know the narrative around us while chasing. Didn’t do it any justice today. When we talk about it as a batting group, gotta be honest. The first ten overs with the ball made it a challenge. We did do quite well after that. The biggest challenge was taking wickets and India built big stands. The conditions are the biggest learning. The wicket played as we suspected it to play – expected it to deteriorate but we didn’t adapt well. It will be up to us to adapt our skills accordingly.”

Virat Kohli, POTM: It was a big game.

“Probably playing the toughest team in the tournament so far, there was motivation for doing well. People made it a bit more special on my birthday. I had a sense of it being something more. When the openers start in that fashion, you’d think it was a belter. Conditions change with the old ball. The message from the management was for me to bat deep, I was happy from that perspective. We knew we were above par when around 315. I enjoy playing cricket again which is more important now and I’m able to contribute to the team all over again. Tendulkar’s tweet is quite special. It’s all too much to take in for now. It’s a huge honor to equal my hero’s record. He’s perfection with the bat. It’s an emotional moment. I know the days I come from, I know the days I have watched him on TV. To receive appreciation from him means a lot to me.”