Kanpur: Rohit Sharma’s brilliant knock of 150 wasn’t enough to guide India to victory as the home-side suffered a five-run defeat against South Africa in the opening match of the five-match ODI series here on Sunday. Chasing a stiff target of 304, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side managed to score 298 runs by the end of 50 overs.
Apart from Ajinkya Rahane (60), none of the Indian batsmen was able to provide a substantial support to Rohit and eventually the team fell short of five runs. Earlier in the day, the visitors won the toss and elected to bat on a slow track.
Skipper AB de Villiers, who was adjudged man of the match for his brilliant knock of 104 off just 73 balls, once again showed his class, scoring his 21st century and guided his side to the highest total ever scored at Green Park. The South African batters scored 65 runs off the last five overs and put up a total that was sufficient enough to seal the victory.
For India, Amit Mishra and Umesh Yadav picked up two wickets each. Ravichandran Ashwin unfortunately injured himself while fielding off his own bowling and is in doubt for the remainder of the series. For the tourists, young pacer Kagiso Rabada also showed his mettle during the defence of the total, by taking the prized scalp of Dhoni in the final over. The two sides will now face each other in the second ODI at Holkar Cricket Stadium on October 14.