SHIKHAR Dhawan’s century led India to a comprehensive 130-run win over South Africa in World Cup Pool B.
Dhawan put on 127 with Virat Kohli and 125 with Ajinkya Rahane as India reached 307 for seven in Melbourne.
That total looked as though it could have been even higher but it proved quite sufficient as, despite a third-wicket stand of 68 between AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, South Africa lost wickets at regular intervals on their way to 177 all out.
Almost ten overs were left unused as what had been billed as a blockbuster match-up petered out into a one-sided contest.
India won the toss and chose to bat and though opener Rohit Sharma was run out without scoring, they were soon into their stride.
Dhawan had already hit two fours and he added three more to almost single-handedly move the score on to 36 for one after ten overs, his personal contribution standing at 28.
Kohli clipped Morne Morkel for his first boundary and the paceman gave up two fours to Dhawan, whose half-century arrived from 70 balls when he slashed his eighth four off Wayne Parnell.
He was dropped by Hashim Amla at backward point on 53 and made South Africa pay dearly, back-to-back boundaries bringing up the century partnership between him and Kohli.
The latter was closing on 50 after taking nine runs from a Dale Steyn over but, seeking the boundary to take him there, thrashed the first ball of the next over straight at midwicket where Du Plessis clung on.
But Rahane picked up where he had left off and took successive fours off Parnell to race to 20 from 16 balls.
Dhawan, at that point, was withing two runs of his century and having added another single, he twice set off looking for a run that was not there and had to hurry back. A cut for his 14th four finally took him to three figures from 122 balls.
Rahane hit back-to-back fours to close on his half-century before Dhawan launched Steyn for six and four to reach his best one-day international score.
He hit Morkel for another six before Rahane reached a 40-ball half-century and celebrated with sixes off Parnell and Imran Tahir. Dhawan finally fell for 137 from 146 balls when a miscued pull at Parnell was caught by Amla. He hit 16 fours and two sixes.
Suresh Raina made only six and Rahane, the ball after hitting Steyn for another six, was trapped lbw for 79 from 60 balls. Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit 18 from 11 balls including three successive fours off Parnell, whose nine overs went for 85, but Morkel and Steyn bowled a good last two overs.
South Africa lost Quinton de Kock for seven and when Amla top-edged Mohit Sharma to long leg they were 40 for two. The first half-century took 81 balls but the second came from just 49 as De Villiers started well and Du Plessis picked up his pace.
The run-out of De Villiers for 30 was a vital moment, though, a brilliant throw from deep backward point by Mohit doing the damage.
Du Plessis reached a 65-ball half-century but added only five more runs before chipping Mohit to Dhawan at mid-off and from there, the innings subsided.
JP Duminy (six) gloved to slip, David Miller was run out for 22 and Vernon Philander was pinned lbw second ball.
Steyn and Morkel combined for just three runs and though Parnell offered some token resistance with 17, Tahir fell lbw to Ravindra Jadeja to end the match. Ravichandran Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers with three for 41, with Mohit and Mohammed Shami taking two apiece.