ICC World Cup 2019 Preview – Can South Africa Bounce Back Against India?

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ICC World Cup 2019 Preview - Can South Africa bounce back against India?
ICC World Cup 2019 Preview - Can South Africa bounce back against India?

India finally makes an appearance in the World Cup 2019 when they take on South Africa at The Rose Bowl. Amidst all the controversy regarding the late start for the Indian team in the tournament, the team will be hoping that they aren’t rusty since they haven’t played a game for a week now. South Africa, on the other hand, have played two games already and have lost both of them. Their batting and bowling both have struggled and with some of their key players injured things aren’t getting better for the Proteas. With Lungi Ngidi joining the injury list, South Africa will be hoping that Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla will be fit in time for the all-important game.

The batting has struggled so far for South Africa and their reliance on Quinton De Kock and Faf Du Plessis underlines the problems they have been having in recent times. The experienced Jean-Paul Duminy and David Miller haven’t been contributing much and with an out of form Hashim Amla, they are struggling to put up good totals. They would need more support from the veterans in the squad to change this situation around.

For India though the practice game against Bangladesh answered quite a few questions about the team combination. KL Rahul who scored a hundred in that game is all but certain to take the number 4 spot in the batting line up. The opening combination of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have been brilliant in the past for India but their recent form will be a worry for India. Both of them failed to contribute much in the two warm-up games India played leading up to the tournament. MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, and Hardik Pandya complete the Indian top 7 and if in the form they can be a formidable ODI line-up.

The bowling combination against South Africa will for certain contain the spin twins of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav as they both terrorized the South African batsman when India toured there in 2018. The pace bowling combination will probably be under discussion as only one of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami can play in the XI. A call that the captain has to take based on the conditions in offer for the match.

Head to Head:

South Africa lead 3-1 in World Cups against India and their loss in 2015 World Cup was their first loss in a World Cup game against India.  India though has dominated South Africa since the last World Cup and have an 8-4 W/L record during that time.

Key Players to Watch in India Team for ICC World cup 2019

Virat Kohli: The Indian captain looked in great touch against Bangladesh last week. He once again will be crucial for India’s chances in this World Cup. He is the best batsman in the world in this format and his record against South Africa is simply phenomenal. In 26 ODIs against South Africa Virat has scored 1269 runs at an average of 66.78. With the Indian openers not in form and the uncertainty surrounding the number 4 spot, the captain once again becomes the crucial cog in India’s batting line up.

Kuldeep Yadav & Yuzvendra Chahal: When India toured South Africa in 2018, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav absolutely bamboozled the South African batters. It is a known fact that South Africa struggle against good spin bowlers. The duo picked up 33 wickets between them in that series at an average of 15.09. On these wickets were we have seen tall scores by teams, their wicket-taking ability in the middle overs will be crucial for India.

Key Players to Watch in South African Team for ICC World cup 2019

Kagiso Rabada: Rabada is South Africa’s best pace bowler and South Africa will be hoping for him to step up with the ball in this all crucial game. South Africa has been hit with yet another injury as Lungi Ngidi now is confirmed to miss the Indian game. With doubts over Dale Steyn’s availability, Rabada becomes the leader of the attack and would be expected to dent the Indian batting at the top with the new ball.

Quinton de Kock: In a struggling batting line up Quinton De Kock has been the shining light for South Africa so far in the World Cup. One of the finest wicket keeping batters of this time, De Kock needs to guide the struggling top order. He has a wonderful record against India with the bat with an average of 64.50 in 12 ODIs.

What they said?

On missing his main bowlers due to injury South African captain Faf Du Plessis said “Plan A is gone. It’s gone because Plan A was those bowlers playing together. Now you’re moving into your all-rounder territory. You have two medium pace all-rounders and then you have Chris Morris that sits in between your fast bowlers and your medium pace bowlers. We have to really look at what we can do to try to be effective; is it playing all rounders together, do we play two spinners? Now it’s reshuffling all our cards and see how best we can deal with it.” 

“I’ve been here two or three times but I always like coming back to play in England. It would mean a lot to get to go back to Lord’s for the final of the World Cup,” said Bhuvneshwar.

Probable Playing XI’s:

South Africa XI: Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla (If Fit or David Miller), Faf du Plessis, (Capt), JP Duminy, Rassie van der Dussen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Dale Steyn (If fit else Dwaine Pretorius)

India XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (Capt), KL Rahul, MS Dhoni (Wkt), Kedar Jadhav (If fit else R Jadeja or V Shankar), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah

This is another tough game to call. When we consider the recent form and strengths of the two teams, India does start as the favorites for this all-important game but again South Africa has already played a couple of games and India will be rusty due to the break. The Rose Bowl is normally a flat wicket with big runs being scored, so the bowling and fielding of both the teams will be tested to the hilt. India with some variety in the attack is more suited for such conditions that South Africa at the moment.

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