Perth: Lavishing praise on Team India for defeating South Africa in the cricket World Cup, former skipper Sunil Gavaskar today said he never thought in his wildest dream that Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men would beat the Proteas by such a huge margin. Defending champions India crushed South Africa by 130 runs yesterday to notch up their first win against the Proteas in World Cup history. India had lost thrice to South Africa at the World Cup in 1992, 1999 and 2011.
“I never thought it will be such a huge win. I was always confident of India’s performance. I kept saying that openers must not hurry things, unfortunately Rohit got run out. After that Virat and Shikhar played themselves in and it was only later after 24 overs they started playing big shot,” Gavaskar told ‘NDTV’.
“Once they did that I was confident that India will be able to win by may be 30-40 runs. They will be able to restrict them by 270-80. But 160, it was beyond my wildest imagination,” he added. India rode on opener Shikhar Dhawan’s career-best 137 to beat South Africa in a rather lopsided game at the packed Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Praising Dhawan, Gavaskar said: “It was an important knock for an important game, important not for qualifying for the knockout stage because India will qualify anyway but because of the kind of boost it gave to the morale of the team. “He and Virat created the platform and then Ajinkya (Rahane) came and played a delightful innings. So everyone contributed but you cannot forget the man who gets the hundred because he is the one who not only created the platform but also launched the onslaught and took the team to 300.”
Dhawan’s lack of form was the biggest concern for India going into the World Cup as he had failed during the tour of Australia — both in Tests and ODI tri-series.