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IND vs SA World Cup Match: Is a score of 300 enough to defend if India bats first?

Karthik Raj
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Skipper Virat Kohli crunching a shot during an ODI between India and South Africa
Skipper Virat Kohli crunching a shot during an ODI between India and South Africa

The 2019 Cricket World Cup started off on May 30 but Team India are set to start their campaign only on June 5 against South Africa at Ageas Bowl in Southampton. India will look to kick-off their campaign on a great note by notching up a convincing win against a struggling South African side.

India have a well-rounded side and come into the tournament as one of the favorites. The batting line up consists some of the world's best batsmen such as Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and MS Dhoni. However, despite such strength, India try to take minimal risks and bat conservatively. The likes of Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni take a lot of time to settle down. As a result, India generally tend to settle down for a score of 290-300.

So, will a target of 300 be enough to defend if India bat first?

In the last five matches at this venue, the average first innings total batting first has been 311. Meanwhile, the average winning first innings score has been 336. But the average scores might not be a massive factor as India have a fantastic bowling attack. The quality of the bowling attack is an important reason for taking a conservative approach with respect to batting in the 1st innings.

When questioned about Team India's flexibility in scoring 300-plus totals during the pre-match press conference, skipper Virat Kohli said:

"If the pitch demands us to get a solid 260, 270, 280 or just get to 300 with our bowling attack, we know with our bowling attack any score is defendable with the kind of skill-set that we have and that is the kind of belief we have in our side. So we don't necessarily need to look at any other side based on the conditions."
"If you look at the last game, Pakistan got close to 350 and England couldn't chase it. So it is not like Pakistan couldn't get 350, only England got 350. Any team is capable of scoring big. It only depends on the kind of wicket you are playing on. That will be a thing that we need to assess quickly."

This comment from Virat Kohli reflects his confidence on the team's bowling attack. The bowling attack involves some of the world's best bowlers such as Jasprit Bumrah and spin twins Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. The spin twins Chahal and Kuldeep will be especially useful against South Africa. The Proteas have a massive weakness against wrist spinners and this opens up a great chance for India.

So, it can be said that India might be more comfortable while defending a target of 300. Skipper Virat Kohli was pretty confident of even getting scores above 300 if the need arises. As a result, India seem to possess the flexibility to adapt according to different situations.

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Also read - Biggest world cup win

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