Champions Trophy 2017: INDIA vs SOUTH AFRICA PREVIEW
Two games remaining in Group B of this Champions Trophy and no team has qualified for the semis. The two games that are remaining are virtual knockouts. First, India face South Africa at the Oval which by the looks of it should be a cracking game. India and South Africa were favorites to qualify for the semis from Group B and look what’s happened they play a virtual Quarter-Final. The winner moves into the semi-finals and the loser goes home.
India were caught off-guard and against Sri Lanka where they failed to defend 321. Given the bowling line-up that they possess, anybody would back them to defend totals. Their 4th and 5th bowlers (Jadeja and Pandya) were not up to the mark against Sri Lanka which hurt India badly. But you can’t blame the bowling because of one performance as they have delivered more often than not. Experts have criticized India’s batting approach and tactics. They have called for a more aggressive approach in the middle overs. But that doesn’t seem to be a problem as they have scored 300+ on five consecutive occasions. India were poor in the field for the 2nd successive time. Fielding has played a big part for India over the years and India will have to improve their fielding against a quality South African line-up. The loss against Sri Lanka also ended their 7-match winning streak at the Champions Trophy.
South Africa was a touch unlucky to be on the wrong side of the Duckworth-Lewis. Defending 219, South Africa fought well and also had Pakistan in a spot of bother. Their batting let them down in their last game. They crawled their way to 219 which seemed difficult at one point of time. The bowling has done well in both games and will be looking to continue their form. Also, South Africa will be desperate to shed off the Choker’s tag as they have a bad history in the knockout games of global tournaments. They’ve faltered at the semi-finals in 3 of the last 4 ICC events.
INDIA: Even though the bowling line-up failed to defend 321, not many changes are expected. It will be interesting to see if Ravichandran Ashwin gets a look in as historically South Africa aren’t the best players of spin. But the question is whom does he replace. Bhuvneshwar Kumar looked the best bowler against SL and Bumrah is one of the best bowlers at the death. Umesh Yadav had an off day against Sri Lanka, so possibilities are there that Ashwin might replace Yadav because Kohli likes playing Hardik Pandya as he provides depth in batting. If Kohli wants to go in with the same combination of 4 pacers and a spinner, Shami might get a look in and replace Yadav. The rest of the XI should remain the same.
LIKELY XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli ©, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav/Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah
SOUTH AFRICA: Even though South Africa lost against Pakistan, they seem to be settled. Don’t expect them to any changes to the XI that played against Pakistan. The only concern might be the form of Quinton de Kock. He’s had decent starts but has failed to convert them. This seems to be the perfect time for de Kock to get back to form as he loves playing against India. Morkel seemed rusty against Sri Lanka in the first game but he hit his straps in the previous game where he bowled a testing spell.
LIKELY XI: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers ©, JP Duminy, David Miller, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir
INDIA: Virat Kohli ©, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Dinesh Karthik
SOUTH AFRICA: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers(c), Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Farhaan Behardien, Morne Morkel