ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Do South Africa hold the edge against India?
Despite starting with a win, South Africa didn't look like a side capable of winning the World Cup in their opening match. Ahead of their clash against India, we ask you a simple question - Do they hold they edge against the defending Champions?
After a few tense moments, South Africa would have been relieved with a win against Zimbabwe in their opening match at Hamilton. Their top order collapsed in testing conditions, and their lead pacers – Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn were not on the top of things as they allowed Zimbabwe to pile 277 runs on the board.
Also, in the recent past, outside South Africa, the top order hasn’t been able to make an impact in testing conditions, and will have some work cut out ahead of their clash against India at the MCG on Sunday.
One-dimensional bowling attack
Although, South Africa are a more threatening side especially in these conditions, they would be concerned as their bowling was taken apart by the Zimbabwean batsman and scored 277, in the chase of 340. That’s because the Proteas don’t have variation in their bowling attack. It’s pretty much a one-dimensional bowling attack, and with the absence of Ryan McClaren, South Africa would lack proper fifth bowler who can give AB de Villers the 10 overs. So, India can make use of that major weakness of South Africa and should look to maximize the scoring rate in the middle overs.
Also, South Africa, in the recent past, have shown that they are a team that can collapse. When their opening batsmen don’t click, and the middle order is exposed quickly, South Africa found it tough to get going. And, when a set batsmen in the middle order is dismissed, the lower-middle order has collapsed. Their key player Faf Du Plessis hasn’t been at his best, and Hashim Amla hasn’t been able to make an impact in testing conditions.
The top order needs to work
There are few things which South Africa needs to look on before they face India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
For instance, in their first one-day match against Australia at Perth in November, Australia piled up 300 runs on the board in 50 overs. South Africa, in their essay, didn’t get off to a start as they lost four wickets in 10 overs. But AB de Villers and David Miller brought them back into the match and took the Proteas closer towards the Aussie total. However, once Miller got out, the rest of the line-up fell cheaply and South Africa eventually lost the match.
To overcome these issues, South Africa’s top order needs to get into the groove. Although India’s seamers have been little wayward, they have the ability to make early inroads with the new-ball on favorable conditions.
Therefore, Amla, du Plessis, and Quinton de Kock will be the key players for South Africa at the top. If these batsmen can get going, and play the middle overs well, India would really find it difficult to stop the Proteas as they have fire-power down the order in form of de Villers, and David Miller who can switch on the gears towards the back end of the innings. Also, India are not effective in middle overs when their pacers don’t strike early and therefore, the top three batsmen will be crucial for South Africa.
South Africa have certain issues, but if their top three batsmen can come out on top South Africa will hold the edge.