Rohit and India overcome dogged Proteas for opening win
Rohit Sharma made a crucial unbeaten 122 as India claimed a patient six-wicket triumph over South Africa, whose miserable Cricket World Cup continued with a third straight defeat.
India, making their tournament bow, started slowly in a seemingly straightforward chase of 228 as Virat Kohli failed to fire, but Rohit moved through the gears to defeat a Proteas attack missing Lungi Ngidi and Dale Steyn.
It was a victory World Cup debutants Jasprit Bumrah (2-35) and Yuzvendra Chahal (4-51) deserved, too, after superb displays at the Rose Bowl restricted their opponents to 227-9.
That total was only achieved thanks to the lower-order contributions of Chris Morris (42), Andile Phehlukwayo (34) and Kagiso Rabada (31 not out) but the score always looked below par and so it proved.
Rohit – dropped in farcical fashion by David Miller late in the piece – shared in stands of 85 with KL Rahul and 74 alongside MS Dhoni, bringing up three figures off 128 balls before finishing with 13 fours and a pair of sixes in his 144-ball knock.
Although India took their time, reaching their target with only 15 deliveries remaining, there was rarely any danger of the 2011 champions failing to kick off with a win, while the Proteas are already staring elimination in the face.