In Brief

Cricket World Cup: India captain Kohli lauds Rohit’s best ODI innings

New Zealand keep their cool to beat Bangladesh and Swann still backs England

India opened their Cricket World Cup campaign with a comfortable six-wicket win against South Africa at the Hampshire Bowl on Wednesday.

Star of the show for the Indians was Rohit Sharma, whose unbeaten 122 eased his side to victory after the South Africans posted a modest total of 227-9 in their 50 overs.

They were restricted in their runs by the tidy bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal, who took 4-51 in his spell, and the Proteas are now staring elimination in the face.

Having lost their opening three matches - the first time in CWC history they have been beaten three times on the bounce - South Africa can’t afford to lose any of their remaining six matches if they want to reach the knockout stage.

“We’re pretty happy with how we played and starting well is always important,” said Indian captain Virat Kohli, who was dismissed for 18 by a brilliant catch from wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.

“This is by far Rohit’s best ODI innings as he dealt with the pressure and the situation well after some short bowling he had to fend off early on.”

Kiwis keep their cool

New Zealand beat Bangladesh by two wickets at The Oval to make it two victories from two.

Chasing 245, the Kiwis started smoothly, reaching 160-2, but then suffered a mini collapse to leave them 218-7 after Ross Taylor’s departure for 82.

Requiring 27 from 39 balls with three wickets, New Zealand held their nerve thanks to an unbeaten 17 from Mitchell Santner.

Pick of the Kiwi bowlers was Matt Henry, whose 4-47 confined Bangladesh to 244 in 49.2 overs with Shakib Al Hasan’s 64 the only half-century.

“It wasn’t our most clinical effort with the bat,” reflected New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. “There were a few soft dismissals that we’d want to address. But it’s a great experience to have in tournament cricket.”

Calypso cricket

Australia take on the West Indies today in a mouthwatering clash at Trent Bridge with both sides impressing in their opening matches. The Aussies thrashed Afghanistan while the Windies crushed Pakistan.

Australia coach Justin Langer says the present West Indies side reminds him of the great teams from the 1980s.

“When I was a kid it was calypso cricket,” said Langer. “And we’re seeing plenty of signs of calypso cricket.

“They’re not necessarily going to be bowling the same spot every ball, but they are going to be exciting to watch. They all try to hit sixes most balls too.”

Swann sticks his neck out

Former England spinner Graeme Swann believes the host nation are still on course to win the World Cup despite their shocking performance against Pakistan.

There are signs that England may have peaked too soon for the tournament, having also suffered defeat against Australia in a friendly last month, but Swann says it’s a case of Keep Calm and Carry On.

“There’s absolutely no need to panic as I don’t think we will see a performance like that again from the World Cup favourites,” he told Betfair.

“The good news is that the defeat came early. It’s a wake-up call and a kick up the backside and they will use this as a positive rather than a negative, and I’m certainly still backing them to go on for World Cup glory this summer.”

England play Bangladesh in Cardiff on Saturday.

This week’s CWC fixtures

All matches are live on Sky Sports:

  • Thursday 6 June: Australia vs. West Indies (10.30am) 
  • Friday 7 June: Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka (10.30am) 
  • Saturday 8 June: England vs. Bangladesh (10.30am); Afghanistan vs. New Zealand (1.30pm) 
  • Sunday 9 June: India vs. Australia (10.30am)
  • Monday 10 June: South Africa vs. West Indies (10.30am)
  • Tuesday 11 June: Bangladesh vs. Sri Lanka (10.30am)
  • Wednesday 12 June: Australia vs. Pakistan (10.30am)
  • Thursday 13 June: India vs. New Zealand (10.30am)

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