Bengaluru, June 5: India will finally kick off their campaign at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 on Wednesday (June 5) when they take on a battered South Africa at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton.
The Men in Blue are the last of the 10 participating teams to begin their journey in the World Cup because of technical reasons while the fans have turned impatient to see their favourite team play.
They are likely to face a strong competition from the Proteas, who despite their injury problems, will go all out to stay relevant in the competition after two back-to-back losses.
In the meantime, India captain Virat Kohli is on a hat-trick and if he could do it, the fans will be left overwhelmed. The 30-year-old ace batsman has played in two World Cups before this edition and on both occasions, he has hit a hundred in his first game. While it was a 100 not out against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2011, Kohli scored 107 against Pakistan in Adelaide in 2015. On both occasions, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the side's captain and India won both games. Can he repeat the same feat a third time?
It was a 'grudge match' for India against the Tigers and they came out with their blazing bats to teach the opponents a lesson. Co-hosts Bangladesh's captain Shakib Al Hasan won the toss and elected to field and it was all India from there. Opener Virender Sehwag slammed 175 in just 140 balls and he added 203 runs for the third wicket in 24 overs with Kohli who came in at No.4. Kohli's innings was largely eclipsed by Sehwag's, but it was a memorable moment for him to have scored a century on World Cup debut. Kohli hit eight fours and two sixes en route his ton and India posted a mammoth 370 for for in 50 overs and went on to win the game by 87 runs.
Kohli had turned India's premier batsman by this time and once Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat against the arch-rivals at the Adelaide Oval, the ace batsman was in action straightaway. After Rohit Sharma fell for 15, Kohli came in at No.3 and added 129 runs with the other opener Shikhar Dhawan (73) in just over 22 overs. He scored another 110 runs with Suresh Raina (74) for the third wicket before falling in the 46th over. The knock took 126 balls and played a key role in cementing the innings. India totalled 300 for seven in 50 overs this time and won the game by 76 runs as Pakistan were all out for 224. Kohli was adjudged the man of the match.