World Cup 2019, South Africa vs India: 3 key battles you cannot miss
South Africa take on India at the Rose Bowl in Southampton today in the eighth match of the World Cup 2019. The Proteas come into this game on the back of two consecutive defeats, whereas it will be India's first game of the tournament. Virat Kohli's men will take confidence from South Africa's poor form and will aim to win their opening game of the World Cup.
South African skipper Faf du Plessis was livid after his side's defeat to Bangladesh and rightly so. Today, he will be hoping that his team can put the past behind them and take India head-on.
We pick out three key battles which will set the tone for the game.
#1 Virat Kohli vs Kagiso Rabada
The biggest battle in this game will undoubtedly be between Indian captain Virat Kohli and South Africa's young fast bowler Kagiso Rabada. The pacer stirred things up between the two when he said earlier this week that Kohli's on-field antics, in general, are 'immature.' The Indian skipper will be keen to get the better of the man from Johannesburg.
India will be looking to start the tournament on a high and a lot will rest upon their skipper to get them going. Kohli has a lot of weight on his shoulders and how he tackles Rabada will be exciting to watch.
Kohli has the tendency to play away from his body in the beginning of his innings, and this is where Rabada can capitalise upon. There are, however, not too many deficiencies in the Indian skipper's batting technique.
#2 Rohit Sharma vs Chris Morris
With former world number one and veteran pace spearhead Dale Steyn ruled out of the World Cup with a shoulder injury, a lot of South Africa's bowling will rest on Chris Morris. He had an indifferent game against Bangladesh and will be looking to bounce back against the Indians. Morris will come head to head against India opener Rohit Sharma today.
He is renowned for his bowling in the death overs but can also pick a wicket or two in the powerplays. Sharma will have to circumspect his approach, while at the same time be able to free his arms and play his natural game. India need his explosiveness at the top of the order.
Sharma is a delightful player to watch and he will be licking his lips to have a go against the Proteas, who are coming into the game on the back of consecutive defeats at the hands of England and Bangladesh respectively.
#3 Quinton de Kock vs Jasprit Bumrah
Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah is the number one ranked ODI bowler for a reason. He has a slingy action which is difficult to read and he is also one of the shrewdest thinkers of the game. Bumrah's consistency is unmatched and he can be quite a handful on any type of a pitch.
South Africa's wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock, who will be lining up to face the new ball, will have to negate Bumrah well if his country are to get off to a good start. The 25-year-old left-hander can be quite explosive at the beginning of the innings and it will be up to Bumrah to stop him.
The battle between these two will be lip-smacking.
Also read - Most matches played by a cricketer in world cup