World Cup 2019: India begins campaign vs crisis-ridden South Africa
As Indian fans wake up today morning, there will be no limit to their excitement as it is June 5, a day they have waited for long time, as the men in blue will finally start their campaign against injury-plagued South African side.
The Hampshire bowl is the venue that will host this spectacular match as India will go into this encounter with dominating performances over the past 24 months with some crucial questions being answered in the warm-up matches.
The 2011 Champions will be happy that Dhoni and the spin twins, Kuldeep and Chahal, are back in form as the former captain scored a scintillating century and the leggies picked up 6 wickets during a warm-up match against Bangladesh.
Finally India have a candidate, KL Rahul, who has made it to the No. 4 spot on his own, has staked claim for it with a hundred against Bangladesh.
“Well I have played against Kagiso Rabada many times, will like to discuss man-to-man,” Indian captain, Viral Kohli replied to Rabada’s comments citing Kohli’s immature.
Ahead of the match, Virat Kohli in the press conference said that Jadhav has regained full fitness ahead of the opening match. “Jadhav is back to full fitness. He is back in the mix. Jadeja is also doing well. We have different options available and have all our options covered,” he said.
As for South Africa, the problems keep on increasing after Dale Steyn is out of the tournament due to shoulder injury while Ngidi is also unavailable for 10 days.
“If Dale hadn’t gone to the IPL, who knows how it could have been today,” said South African captain, Faf Du Plessis.
On the ground, the Proteas alias South African national cricket team, have been far from convincing their senior men to step up. Rassie Van der Dussen looked good in the first couple of matches and SA hopes that he carries his form.
South Africa won the toss in both games opting to chase but lost both. So, it won’t be a surprise if they opt to bat first and put runs on the board. India will be playing their first match and will consider the conditions before making a decision.
India’s playing XI
After the million dollar question of No. 4 being answered with Rahul’s century in the warmups, it will be interesting to see who makes it to India’s bowling line-up with Bhuvi and Shami in neck and neck fight for the 2nd pacer’s spot but considering his recent form, Shami may have the edge.
Probable XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (C), KL Rahul, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah.
South Africa’s playing XI
South Africa will be making two mandatory changes as Hashim Amla is fit and will replace Miller while Pretorius will most likely be Ngidi’s replacement.
South Africa probable XI: Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (c), Rassie van der Dussen, JP Duminy, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Dwayne Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir
Stats that matter
* Virat Kohli has scored a century in the opening two games in the previous two World Cups.
* India are on 5 match winning streak over South Africa in ICC events.