Winless-Proteas searching for a victory after back-to-back losses to start their World Cup campaign
South Africa are playing a dangerous game in the early stages of their World Cup campaign, a third-consecutive loss could see them pressing the panic button. The Proteas were expected to be one of the success stories in the 2019 World Cup, instead they find themselves searching for their first win of the tournament against a quality opponent. India is the only team who is yet to play a game in the tournament, so a well-rested Virat Kohli isn’t exactly what South Africa would’ve hoped for at 0-2.
Going down to England in their first match wasn’t a huge surprise, but South Africa’s loss to Bangladesh was unforgiveable. Perhaps one of the upsets of the tournament, the Proteas just haven’t been able to click as a unit so far. Dale Steyn’s absence in the tournament has hurt the bowling attack significantly, Kagiso Rabada hasn’t been at his damaging-best and Lungi Ngidi’s injury against Bangladesh stretched them even further. Veteran leggy Imran Tahir and all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo have probably been the Proteas best two bowlers so far, though against a team like India the pair may struggle to have the same impact. With Ngidi ruled out for the next week or so, South Africa will be eager to see Dale Steyn back in their XI as well as opening batsman Hashim Amla who sat out the last game due to concussion. Adding to South Africa’s woes, the fielding hasn’t been up to standard and their batsmen failing to covert good starts into big scores has been frustrating. The Proteas are relying on both Quinton de Kock and skipper Faf du Plessis to come out firing against India, otherwise things could resemble their previous two outings.
Hopefully the return of Dale Steyn teaming up with Kagiso Rabada to form the new ball attack will give South Africa the best chance of making early inroads in Southampton. If they don’t, India could take the game away from them very quickly. Two aggressive hitters at the top of the order followed by the No. 1 batsman in the world could cause some problems for the bowlers, even KL Rahul at No. 4 will be hard to contain given his recent form in the warm-up matches. If the Proteas let Virat Kohli get past 30 runs, you could just about pencil in another century for the Indian skipper. With an ODI average of just under 60, Kohli is the prized wicket South Africa are after. With pure-strikers of the ball like MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya down the order, it’s a tough ask to keep India under 300. Spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and the Indian spinners have also had a good preparation leading up to the World Cup making it hard to leave out one of Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav or Yuzvendra Chahal.
Top 4 fantasy picks – India
- Virat Kohli
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Hardik Pandya
- Shikhar Dhawan
Wildcard pick – Kuldeep Yadav
Top 4 fantasy picks – South Africa
- Faf du Plessis
- Quinton de Kock
- Andile Phehlukwayo
- Kagiso Rabada
Wildcard pick – Dale Steyn
Predicted Team XI’s
India (possible) – 1. Rohit Sharma 2. Shikhar Dhawan 3. Virat Kohli © 4. KL Rahul 5. Kedar Jadhav/Vijay Shankar 6. MS Dhoni (wk) 7. Hardik Pandya 8. Kuldeep Yadav 9. Mohammed Shami 10. Yuzvendra Chahal/Bhuvneshwar Kumar 11. Jasprit Bumrah.
South Africa (possible) – 1. Quinton de Kock (wk) 2. Hashim Amla 3. Aiden Markram 4. Faf du Plessis © 5. Rassie van der Dussen 6. JP Duminy 7. Andile Phehlukwayo 8. Chris Morris/Dwaine Pretorius 9. Dale Steyn 10. Kagiso Rabada 11. Imran Tahir.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.