ICC Champions Trophy: I am naturally courageous, opening with Rohit was a joy, says Shikhar Dhawan

The dashing left-hander who scored his maiden ODI century, said the absence of Dale Steyn did not make the South African attack any weaker.

Updated: June 07, 2013 01:55 IST
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Cardiff: Shikhar Dhawan put it down to "patience" as the trick to his maiden ODI century at Swalec Stadium here on Thursday. Dhawan slammed a brilliant 114 that helped India score an imposing 331 for 7 against South Africa in the opening match of the ICC Champions Trophy. "I am happy with the knock I played but happier because we won a game that was actually getting quite close," he told reporters in a post-match chat. India beat South Africa by 26 runs.

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There was another 'maiden' experience for Dhawan on Thursday morning. When the team left Indian shores it was almost certain that the left-handed Dhawan would open the batting with Murali Vijay. But Thursday's decisive 127-run opening stand almost certainly means Dhawan's partner for the rest of the group matches will be Rohit Sharma, who scored a polished 65. (Read: Unforced errors and miscommunication ruined us, admits South Africa captain AB De Villiers)

"It was nice to play with Rohit. He is such a pleasure to watch and really runs the singles very well. We adjusted to the conditions very well and once we settled down, the runs started coming. It was quite a job," Dhawan said. (Read: Dhoni earns more than Sharapova, Fernando Alonso and Rafael Nadal)

Dhawan said the absence of Dale Steyn did not make the South African attack any weaker. "Guys like (Morne) Morkel and Ryan McLaren are well known names in the world of fast bowling. So we knew they would attack us from the start. But we took our time to settle down and then scored off their pace," Dhawan said.

"I quite enjoy taking pressure but today it was more about waiting for the loose balls. The wicket was good to bat but it was important not to rush into strokes. This strategy worked very well after the first powerplay," Dhawan said.

The exposure to "nets in English conditions" did help him prepare for Thursday's game. As for stepping out to the fastest of bowlers, Dhawan said: "It's my nature. Courage comes normally to me. I am used to it." The Delhi left-hander will now have to keep this form going as India play West Indies and Pakistan next in what is clearly the Group of Death.

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