Despite fightback at various points in the match by South Africa, Team India managed to hang on for an impressive win in the 2013 Champions Trophy opener. The Men in Blue scored 331/7 but the Proteas, despite a shaky start to their chase, scored 305 in the end. And that is what worries NDTV expert and former India skipper, Sunil Gavaskar, the most.
"A winning start is always very good. India though, needs to improve on their bowling front. To allow the other team to score 300+ means you have not bowled well. It was a great pitch to bat on and conditions were perfect, still the bowling needs to be looked at by the coaching staff."
AB de Villiers put India in to bat first at Cardiff with the skies looking overcast. He might have banked on the weather to remain that way for his bowlers to get swing, especially with Dale Steyn missing. It though backfired as the sun came out as soon as Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma came in to bat. After initial caution, both opened up. While Rohit was flamboyant to begin with, Dhawan was the one who carried on and scored his first ODI ton.
"The way he constructed the innings was brilliant. Dhawan played second fiddle to Rohit initially but when he got the measure of the pitch, he opened up. That also shows he has matured. Shikhar batted well even after getting a crunch on his ear. Technique and temperament wise, he was simply superb."
Shikhar-Rohit added 127 for the first wicket and mind immediately went 25 matches back when a certain Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir had a century opening partnership. Gavaskar though refrained from 'saying goodbye' to the senior pair and added that there is still time for them to prove their worth.
"Those two (Sehwag-Gambhir) have cricket still left in them. This is a good start by the new pair but we should take this a tournament-at-a-time, just like Mahendra Singh Dhoni says."
Gavaskar also added a word of caution for Indian team regarding the English weather. He feels that on flat surfaces and with the sun out, Dhoni and co. are favourite but they could be tested if weather gets chilly and windy.
"When the toss was done in the India v South Africa game, it was overcast. It cleared out within half-an-hour and probably negated the swing effect South Africa would have hoped for."
Sunny also pointed out that being away from home and constant media attention, might well be helping the team to stay focused and relaxed. He though added that crowd support was always a plus for Indian team and that the players should 'feed off' that in the Champions Trophy.