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Why India should and would end their South African World Cup jinx

Madhan Kalyan
8.78K   //    17 Feb 2015, 05:03 IST
India cricket team
Indian Cricket Team

We all know how every Indian feels when India beat Pakistan, especially at a World Cup. Now, think how the Indian team, who were ridiculed as they lost match after match in their tour of Australia, would be feeling after the convincing victory over their neighbours.

So, it shouldn’t come as a shock if that confidence and self-belief gained by the team would carry into the next match against South Africa. The Africans, despite winning against Zimbabwe, might be a little perplexed and doubting themselves after their mini-batting collapse and how they let Zimbabwe score 277.

South Africa showing chinks in their iron-clad armoury

Before the tournament snowballed into action, all the talk was about South Africa being the only complete side in the tournament, with even Australia having weaknesses in the spin department. The South African team, equipped with top fast bowlers and a brilliant batting line-up, was widely expected to end their World Cup jinx and shed the ‘chokers’ tag this World Cup at the start of the tournament.

But, Zimbabwe exposed some weaknesses in this South African team and Zimbabwe’s performance brought doubts into the minds of the players from the peninsular nation as parts of their play were circumspect. They lost a couple of early wickets, which showed that if you could restrict them against scoring freely in the powerplay overs, you can reap rewards. South Africa was let off by a Zimbabwean side which faded after an initial burst but they cannot expect same leeway against top quality opposition like India or Australia.

Their bowling, too, was not of the high standards they have set for themselves, especially Dale Steyn, who was so disappointing that little-known Hamilton Masakadza decided to dance down the pitch to him. Maybe it was pitch which blunted him and the fact that the pitch at Melbourne, the venue for the India-South Africa match, is expected to be on the slower side as well would be a cause of concern for the South Africans.

Indian fast bowlers maintaining intensity in the middle overs

With an Indian team, you would normally see spinners bowling in tandem in the middle overs. So, it was refreshing to see Umesh Yadav turning match on its head against Pakistan in the middle overs. India generally wins matches on account of its middle-over batting, but loses some due to the lack of intensity in their bowling in the same period.

Indian fast bowlers normally seem uninterested when asked to bowl in the middle overs, bowling inconsistent and erratic line and length. They think their job is to give finishing touches to the innings or put opening marks. There is no faulting them as this is generally the system on Indian pitches.

But, they bowled their hearts out throughout the middle overs without a small amount of drop in intensity against Pakistan which proved crucial. It might be due to the adrenaline in the bowlers as they were facing Pakistan, but it will be nice to see them continue the same intensity throughout the entire match against South Africa, especially during the middle overs to seize the intiative.

If India maintain their performance from their previous match and expose South Africa’s weaknesses, there is no doubt that the defending champions can make it 2 wins in 2 at the World Cup.

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Madhan Kalyan
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