Rabada finally shows up, but Bumrah steals the show

Kagiso Rabada (Getty)
Kagiso Rabada (Getty)

Southampton - One of the major positives from South Africa's six-wicket loss to India at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday was the performance of Kagiso Rabada.

When the Proteas arrived at the World Cup in England, they did so in the knowledge that Rabada would be key to any successes they had in the tournament. 

The 24-year-old is considered one of the best fast bowlers in the world. He has pace, an ability to move the ball in the air and off the wicket and he has incredible control that contributes towards one of the deadliest yorkers in world cricket. 

For whatever reason, Rabada had not been at his best in the first two matches of the competition against England and Bangladesh, turning out figures of 2/66 (10) and 0/57 (10), respectively. 

Ahead of the India clash, the pressure on Rabada reached new heights with the news that Dale Steyn would be sent home injured and that Lungi Ngidi would miss the match with a hamstring strain. 

Rabada's role in the side went from key to crucial overnight. 

Against India, he looked himself once more. 

South Africa could only muster 227/9 from their 50 overs batting first, and it was always going to take a special effort to pull of an unlikely win. 

Rabada, though, played his part. 

Under overcast skies and in front of a stadium packed to the brim with Indian supporters, Rabada delivered easily his best spell of the tournament so far as he had Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma jumping around and playing and missing. 

Rabada's celebration when he had Dhawan caught behind in just his 3rd over told its own story of a man desperate to put in a showing befitting of one of the world's best. 

The familiar sight of a pumped-up Rabada would have been welcomed by all South Africans watching back home. 

He would finish with figures of 2/39 from his 10 overs in a losing cause, but as the Proteas continue on what is looking an increasingly improbable run to the semi-finals, they can at least take comfort in the fact that Rabada has finally hit his straps in England. 

As good as Rabada was on Wednesday, India's speedster Jasprit Bumrah was the man who stole the show. 

He removed Proteas opener Quinton de Kock (10) and Hashim Amla (6) in an opening spell that is up there with one of the best you are likely to see. 

Bumrah, often, was unplayable and he gave Indian skipper Virat Kohli exactly the start he needed as India got their World Cup race underway.

He is a seriously good player and, much like Rabada is to South Africa, one of India's biggest weapons in England.

"To be honest, I haven't seen Hashim get out like that in one-day cricket," Kohli told media after the match.

"He's been so dominant. He might play shots and get out, but to get out like that, rushing them a bit, I think it's a great thing and it's a testimony to his hard work.

"He is very disciplined. He is working really hard at practice, in the gym, with his diet, with his rest. He understands this is his time and he's making the most of it so hats off, he's brilliant."

India have their trump card and South Africa have Rabada. 

Hopefully for the Proteas, their main man is up and running, because they need him now more than ever.

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ... 

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