#ICC2019: Six days after the World Cup 2019 got underway, Team India eventually open their campaign in the global event on Wednesday, 5 June when they play South Africa in Southampton. Team India are second in the ICC ODI rankings and are being considered as one of the top two contenders to win the title.
Purely on the basis of statistics, Team India are favourites to get the better of South Africa; they’ve dominated the Proteas in recent years and defeated them 5-1 in a one-day series in their backyard last year.
India Need Their Top 3 to Fire
A lot of India’s success in recent years has been set up by the top three. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli have been the driving force of India’s success in recent years, and the trio will be expected to continue to power the team.
Rohit Sharma hasn’t quite fancied playing South Africa in the past; he averages only 28.00 against the Proteas.
Shikhar Dhawan and captain Virat Kohli appear to enjoy playing against South Africa and they should be looking forward to this contest; Dhawan averages 52.67 against the Proteas, while Kohli averages 66.79 against the Saffers.
It is incredible – from an Indian supporter’s point of view – and daunting from a SA supporter’s point of view – how Kohli has turned around his mediocre numbers against South Africa in recent times.
Shots Fired: Look out for Kohli vs Rabada
Kohli will have been made aware of a certain comment from Kagiso Rabada recently. Speaking about Kohli, the SA quick pacer told TCM, “Virat hit me for a boundary and then had a word. And then when you give it back to him, he gets angry. I don’t get the guy. Maybe he does it because it gets him going, but that comes across as very immature for me. He is a phenomenal player, but can’t take the abuse”.
India’s Bowling Combination
Unless the surface is loaded with green and contains a lot of moisture, India are likely to go in with two quicks and two spinners for the match against South Africa. Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav will be given the responsibility of completing the fifth bowler’s quota. Jasprit Bumrah, the top-ranked bowler in the ICC ODI rankings, will spearhead the attack, while one of Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Mohammed Shami will share the new ball – their selections decided on the basis of the overhead conditions.
South Africa Need Ignition
South Africa have had a disastrous start to the tournament; the Proteas lost to England in the competition opener and then suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Bangladesh.
This is the first time that South Africa have begun any of their World Cup campaigns with successive defeats. This is also only the second time in South Africa’s glorious history that they’ve suffered consecutive defeats within a particular World Cup; the only previous occasion was in the 1992 WC.
South Africa have been outplayed in all three departments in the two matches so far; their batting has lacked the firepower, the bowling has lacked teeth and they’ve been sloppy in the field. To add to their woes, Lungi Ngidi has been ruled out of at this least the match against India with a hamstring injury.
Hashim Amla, who missed the previous match after not recovering completely from the blow he took to the head, should return to the top of the batting line-up.
Quinton de Kock has caused Team India plenty of grief in the past, and the left-hander has looked good in the two outings in the competition. India need to prise him out early.
India vs South Africa: Likely XI
India’s likely XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah.
South Africa’s likely XI: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Dwaine Pretorius.