India vs South Africa: Just when you thought matters couldn’t get worse for South Africa in the ongoing World Cup, the headlines stating Dale Steyn’s omission has magnified their dismay. They were beaten black & blue in the tournament’s opener against England & were taken down by a determined Bangladesh. There are plenty of reasons for the South African think tank to ponder about. They’ve got 7 games left & have everything to play for.
The World tournaments are different beasts altogether where the Proteas, in particular, have faltered way too often & this South African squad probably is the most languid of all. They’ve got to confront the likes of India, England, New Zealand & the West Indies. How will things pan out for them? We’ll deduce that in the latter part of this piece.
6 days into the World Cup & the Indian team hasn’t played a game. The reason? To maintain a 15-day gap between the IPL & the next tournament the Indians can participate in. The fact that the ICC has okayed this, is as abysmal as a decision can get. That being said, “The show will go on”.
Team India are the 2nd ranked team in the World & are undoubtedly one of the favourite sides to lift the trophy aloft. They’ve got one of the strongest batting line-ups in the world & their bowling contingent is one of the finest. Is it too early to hail this unit?
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Where: The RoseBowl, Southampton
When: 5th June 2019
Kick-Off Time: 3:00 PM
The overall ODI record between the two teams is an indication of how dominant the Proteas were. In the 83 games played between the two sides, the men in blue have managed only 34 wins. Since the previous World Cup though, team India have won 8 out of 12 matches. The most dominant being, a 5-1 victory against the Proteas in their own backyard.
AT THE MEGA EVENT
In 1992 – South Africa won by 6 wickets
1999 – The Proteas won by 4 wickets
2011 – SA won by 3 wickets
2015 – India won by 130 runs.
Dale Steyn has been ruled out of the World Cup. Lungi Ngidi won’t be a part of the XI against India. Hashim Amla got smashed on the helmet against Jofra Archer & missed the game against Bangladesh. The classy batsman was seen batting in the nets & is likely to feature in the playing XI. Dwayne Pretorius will replace Ngidi & if South Africa can furnish Amla & Aiden Markram they’ll have a heavy top-order. JP Duminy then will be relied on for this off-breaks.
For team India, there were a couple of inclusions that have been put to rest. KL Rahul will bat at number 4 & Kedhar Jadhav will play the role of the finisher. Mohammad Shami has been India’s best pacer in the last 3-4 months & he’s likely to edge Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a place in the starting eleven.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli(c), KL Rahul, MS Dhoni(wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
Quinton de Kock(wk), Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis(c), Rassie van der Dussen, JP Duminy, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Dwayne Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir
RABADA & DE KOCK HAVE TO FIRE FOR SOUTH AFRICA
If you’ve seen Rabada bowl in the last two months, there wouldn’t have been the minutest of doubts that the lad is on par with Jasprit Bumrah for the “Best Bowler in the World” tag. However, in the first two ODIs, the sheen seems to have diminished. In the last two innings, Rabada’s figures read 2/66 & 0/57. Guess what happens when your best bet goes for plenty? The team goes for plenty. South Africa conceded 311 & 330.
Kagiso Rabada has played 68 ODIs so far & South Africa have won 44 of those games. In the other 23, Kagiso Rabada hasn’t done that badly either. His economy goes upto 5.35 from 4.84(when his team wins). It’s the wickets column that makes the difference. In the matches SA have lost Rabada has picked only 24 wickets in 23 games. The equation is extremely clear. If Rabada strikes Africa win.
Rabada against India – Played: 11, Wickets: 15, E/R: 5.19
In England – Played: 8, Wickets: 10, E/R: 5.43, Avg: 39.10(his career average: 27.08)
Rabada has picked 108 wickets since his debut in July 2015. He’s 4th on the list of the highest-wicket takers post the 2015 World Cup.
FROM A YOUNGSTER TO A YOUNG STAR
Quinton de Kock is one of the finest batsmen in world cricket at the moment. The left-handed opener has played 108 matches so far and has scored 4693 runs at 45.56. Impressive numbers indeed. But his World Cup numbers aren’t as imposing. De Kock started of the 2019 World Cup with a stylish 68 but didn’t score big to take his team through. In the game against Bangladesh, when he was starting to accelerate, an unfortunate mix-up resulted in his downfall. South Africa, appallingly are too reliant on the southpaw. Faf du Plessis is another force to reckon with but he hasn’t starred for them yet.
At 26 years & 169 days, De Kock has become the Proteas’ mainstay & his form will be extremely crucial for South Africa’s success. His journey from a youngster to a young star has been notable & India is one team he fancies playing against. Can the duo of Rabada & De Kock work their magic against India?
Quinton De Kock against India – Played: 12, Runs: 774, Average: 64.50, 100’s – 5. In the matches won, the wicket-keeper batsman averages 52.09 & has scored 11 hundreds.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF KL RAHUL
It’s been an absolute squabble as far as the number 4 for India is concerned. From Ambati Rayudu to Vijay Shankar & now to KL Rahul. It’s been a precarious case. Ambati Rayudu was ousted from the 15-member squad after playing the majority of the games in the last 2 years. Vijay Shankar played all of 9 games & somehow the selectors found him the right fit at number 4. His contribution with the ball & on the field was envisaged to play a 3-D role.
Well, the tides have changed & how. KL Rahul has ambushed his way on to the number 4 spot & all it took was one inning. Ambati Rayudu averaged over 40, was the 4th highest run-getter for India in the last 2 years but none of it mattered. KL Rahul will now bat at 2-drop for the men in blue.
There’s no denying Rahul’s ability but have India missed a trick or two? Rahul scored 108 off 99 in the warm-up game against Bangladesh. Will he be able to prove the critics wrong?
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