Bangalore: Debutant Rohit Sharma and skipper Dhoni revived India innings with a spirited partnership of 85 runs for the fifth wicket stand after an early setback against South Africa in the Twenty20 World Cup super Eights tie at Kingsmead in Durban on Thursday.
Rohit Sharma and Mahendra Singh Dhoni batted sensibly to help India post a competitive 153.
Rohit Sharma completed his half-century in the very last delivery, hooking a Johan van der Wath fulltoss for a soaring sixer. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni scored 45 from 33 balls.
South African new-ball fast bowlers Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini rocked the Indian top order, dismissing Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Dinesh Karthik in the space of four deliveries.
Shaun Pollock was the pick of the South African bowlers, ending with figures of 2/17.
Initial wobbles had rocked India to 33-3 – leaving youngsters Uthappa and Sharma at the crease.
South Africa and India may have won intense games against New Zealand and England respectively on Wednesday but their ability to channelise emotions will be on test again when they come square up.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni won toss and elected to bat first in the all important Group E clash. Injured Yuvraj Singh has been ruled out of the match and was replaced by Dinesh Karthik.
South Africa have made just one change to their side - Makhaya Ntini comes back into the side in place of Andre Nel. It is a must-win situation for India who will have to win this match to keep their semi-final hopes alive.
India 153 for 5 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 50*, MS Dhoni 45; Pollock 2 for 17, Ntini 1 for 30, Morne Morkel 1 for 32) Vs South Africa.