After having dropped the match against Sri Lanka, the Indian team now takes on South Africa at the Oval in what has become a virtual knockout affair.
The Virat Kohli-led outfit looked a rampant force after their convincing win against Pakistan but were shocked by an inspire Sri Lankan team at the Oval.
No team can afford any further slip-ups as the winner of the game advances through to the semis and the loser will have to pack their bags for home.
After the loss against Sri Lanka, captain Kohli hinted at changes to the approach of his team which could also mean that there might be few changes to the playing XI.
This could be India’s playing XI for the match against South Africa and it could have few changes which will be strategic owing to the nature of the match.
The right-hander has been in sublime form ever since he has made his comeback into the team and has looked very assured at the crease. He has scored 169 runs in the 2 innings so far and have given India a solid start and along with Shikhar Dhawan has played a huge part in establishing a solid base for the middle order.
However, he has been dismissed at just the wrong time and on the crunch day, the Indian management would want him to dig in for a longer period and notch up a century.
Much was made about the selection of Shikhar Dhawan for this tournament, but the left-hander has muted all his detractors with some superlative performances with the bat.
With 193 runs in 2 innings, Dhawan has once again undermined his importance to the team, especially in ICC Tournaments.
His average in the Champions Trophy is now 92.66, owing to a bumper 2013 edition and a century against Sri Lanka in the ongoing one. He has always reserved his best for knockout matches and against South Africa, his knock will once again be under the scanner.
The Indian captain started the campaign with a bright innings against Pakistan when he scored a match-winning 81. However, his dismissal for no score in the game against Sri Lanka impeded India’s innings.
In the match against Sri Lanka, the performance of the captain will go a long way in determining the result of the game.
Much like Kohli, Yuvraj too was at his vintage best against Pakistan, so much so that his innings won him the player of the match award. However, he could not quite play another decisive innings against Sri Lanka and this had a huge effect on the eventual total.
Against South Africa, he needs to bring in all his experience at the fore and carry the team forward.
MS Dhoni wound the clock back when he brought all his limiting overs finishing prowess to enthral cricketing audiences once again Sri Lanka.
His record in crunch matches is quite good and captain Kohli would want his most trusted aide to rise to the occasion once again as a firing Dhoni towards the end renders perfect balance to the team and its chances.
The younger Pandya gave a great account of his abilities in the match against Pakistan with both the bat and ball.
However, he had an off day against Sri Lanka and this hampered the cause of the team to a great extent. He has the promise and potential and the team management would persist with him for the crunch match against South Africa.
India struggled to defend their score against Sri Lanka largely because Jadeja bled runs and could not even complete his quota of 10 overs.
For Virat Kohli, his 10 overs are like a bank and when he struggled, India were left floundering for options. Against South Africa, the Indian contingent would hope that a switched on Jadeja takes the field as he is such an integral member of the side.
India’s match-winner right through the home season could make a comeback into the ODI team as the Indian team would love a wicket taker in the middle overs and Ashwin could be the ideal man for the job.
Also, the South African team has a number of left-handers against whom Ashwin could be a real handful.
One of the most improved bowlers in the recent past, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been a real handful with the new ball under overcast skies and was decent against both Pakistan and Sri Lanka without having a decisive influence on the match.
However, as India faceoff against South Africa his contribution with the new ball will in many ways determine the result of the match.
Much like Bhuvneshwar, Umesh Yadav has been one of the finds of the season and under Kohli, he has been a strike bowler for India over all three formats.
However, he did not have an entirely great match against Sri Lanka and would want to quickly get back to his best against South Africa.
One of the best death bowlers going around, Bumrah did not quite live up to his billing against Sri Lanka and lacked the wicket-taking trait he normally possesses.
Against South Africa, his skills at the death will be very crucial to India’s chances not only in the match, but could also give him confidence for the entire tournament.