Cardiff, June 7 (IANS) Shikhar Dhawan's maiden ODI ton powered India to a winning start in the Champions Trophy beating South Africa by 26 runs in their first Group B match at Sophia Gardens here Thursday.
Put in, India rode on Dhawan's 114 and Rohit Sharma's 65 to put up a massive 331 for seven in 50 overs. Ravindra Jadeja also came up with a cameo of unbeaten 47 from 29 balls.
Skipper AB de Villiers (70) and Robin Paterson (68) raised hopes with their 124-run stand for the third wicket but then South Africa suffered a middle-order collapse losing four wickets for 33 runs and their innings folded up for 305 runs in 50 overs.
India's pace trio Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav went for runs but got two wickets each. The pick of the Indian bowlers was Jadeja, who also starred with his left-arm spin bagging two for 31 while offie Ravichandran Ashwin went wicketless and gave away 47 runs from his 10 overs.
Chasing a huge total, South Africa suffered early set-backs after openers Colin Ingram (6) and Hashim Amla (22) were back in the pavilion for 31 runs on board in the fourth over.
Peterson, who was promoted up the order, and De Villiers then consolidated the innings with their century run stand that also kept South Africa in the hunt.
Peterson's measured 72-ball innings was studded with six fours while De Villiers hit seven fours in his 71-ball knock. They were aggressive in their approach but avoided any risk.
Peterson gifted away his wicket in a freak run out and that triggered a batting collapse and from 155 for three South Africa slumped to 188 for six.
Ryan McLaren came up with a cameo of 71 off 61 balls, hitting 11 fours an a six, but didn't get any support from the other end.
Earlier in the day, Dhawan struck a flamboyant 114 off 94 balls, laced with 12 fours and a six, to guide India to a mammoth total of 331/7.
Dhawan and Rohit set the foundation for the onslaught with their opening stand of 127 runs in 128 balls.
But India let go a good start with a middle order collapse as from comfortable 201 for one they slumped to 260 for five. But despite McLaren's triple-strike towards the end of the innings it was Jadeja's blitzkrieg that took them to a mammoth total.
Jadeja, who remained unbeaten on 47 off 29 balls, hit the South African bowlers to all parts of the ground slamming 7 boundaries and a single six to lead the Indian run charge.