World Cup 2019, Match 8, South Africa vs India: Who will win the game?
India, the pre-tournament favourites are the last team to start their World Cup campaign. They have seen Pakistan defeat the number one ranked team England and also saw a spirited and energized Bangladesh side defeat South Africa.
They would have had plenty of time to formulate and finalize their strategies as their tournament opener against South Africa approaches. They have had two warm-up matches which in many ways sorted out their No.4 batting slot dilemma for the time-being, with KL Rahul shining against Bangladesh.
Their inability to counter top quality swing and pace was exposed in their tame defeat to New Zealand in their first warm-up game. It's that inability of theirs which the Proteas would want to capitalize to the fullest on Wednesday.
India certainly will be fresh and raring to go, unlike their opponents South Africa, who are yet to register a win in the tournament as they have not found a correct plan with both the bat and the ball.
Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn were significant omissions in their 21-run defeat to Bangladesh. But the duo are expected to play in this fixture, which will bolster the Proteas to a huge extent. However, Lungi Ngidi will miss the match through an injury.
India have injury concerns in the form of Kedhar Jadhav, who is yet to recover from the shoulder injury he sustained during the IPL. With the likes of Vijay Shankar and Ravindra Jadeja in the squad, Jadhav's absence won't be felt that much.
India would bank on experience and confidence from the fact that in England they reached the final of the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017, only to lose to Pakistan. But the core of that team still remains intact.
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will open the innings, followed by Virat Kohli. The middle-order would comprise of KL Rahul, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja. The bowling would largely revolve around Jasprit Bumrah and the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.
It's never easy coming off two consecutive defeats and then having to face India. Considering how eager and fresh the Indians would be ahead of this clash, it makes them the favorites to win the game.
South Africa would hope that Steyn and Kagiso Rabada can ruffle the Indian top-order, leaving too much for the middle and lower order to do. That would be the best case situation for the Proteas.
But one thing that was very clear from India's convincing win against Bangladesh in the warm-up match leading into the World Cup was that their spinners seemed to be in good form and their batting unit as a whole is contributing. Dhoni and Rahul's centuries are a testament to that fact.
Key Players for India- Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah.
Key Players for South Africa- Quinton de Kock, Faf Du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada.
Also read - Most sixes in world cup year wise