ICC World Cup 2019, India vs South Africa - Kagiso Rabada, Virat Kohli headline top 5 player battles
After a long wait, India would finally begin their World cup campaign against South Africa on Wednesday. The Virat Kohli-led side would face off against South Africa in Southampton in their first game, as they look to start their run with a win.
South Africa, though, would feel like wounded animals, after suffering two straight defeats. To add to the injuries, the side suffered another blow with Dale Steyn being ruled out due to injury. Lungi Ngidi has also been ruled out due to injury. Despite the injury blows, South Africa would hope they can find a way to topple India, who are touted to be one of the favourites. A win would certainly boost their confidence and help them gain some ounce of respectability in the eyes of the opposition.
Here is a look at the five battles that could define the match:
Kagiso Rabada vs Rohit Sharma
After a poor performance in the practice games prior to the start of the World Cup, questions surround the renowned Indian opening pair Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. For the former, there is one particular Proteas bowler, who has been a thorn for most part of 2018 - Kagiso Rabada. In 2018, Sharma has faced 54 deliveries from the speedster in the ODIs format. The right-handed batsman has scored just 39 runs at a strike rate of 72.2 and has been dismissed thrice. If not all, Rabada has also dismissed the 32-year-old thrice in the longest format last year. The battle between the two stars of the game would promise an exciting contest on Wednesday.
ALSO READ: South Africa predicted XI against India
Virat Kohli vs Imran Tahir
Virat Kohli will fancy his chances against Imran Tahir as he has an excellent record against the leg-spinner. The Indian captain has scored 191 runs off 186 balls and has been dismissed just once by Tahir in ODIs. Kohli, who has struck 12 boundaries and five sixes against Tahir, will surely look to bat positively against the South African. The leg-spinner will have to work out a clear cut plan to counter the Kohli factor.
Kuldeep Yadav vs JP Duminy
Jean-Paul Duminy has particularly always struggled against spin bowling. Despite, being regarded as one of the consistent performers in the Proteas middle-order, the left-handed all-rounder has often found it hard to face chinaman Kuldeep Yadav. In 2018, the 34-year-old faced Yadav for 33 balls and was dismissed twice, scoring just 13 runs. The left-armer had a forgettable time at the IPL, and would hope he can contribute in the opening World Cup game with wickets. Duminy’s breakthrough would be a big one.
Jasprit Bumrah vs Hashim Amla
Jasprit Bumrah is expected to be India’s primary fast bowler at the World Cup. With his current form, the right-armer would be expected to contribute with early wickets in the opening game. The South African opening batsman Hashim Amla is likely to return to the playing XI after being on the sidelines due to injury, and he would be eager to get among the runs. Bumrah was the villain in Amla’s story in the 2018 series, with the batsman getting dismissed twice in 54 balls he faced against the bowler. The 36-year-old could only score 35 runs against him. This would be a battle Amla would want to win, playing his first game in the tournament.
ALSO READ: India’s predicted XI against South Africa
Yuzvendra Chahal vs Faf du Plessis
“I don’t think we play spin badly, but if you compare yourself to the subcontinent batters, then they’re obviously a step above us in that regard,” Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis said after struggling in a Test series against Sri Lanka last year. The spin bowling has always been the downfall of South Africa batsmen and Yuzvendra Chahal would hope to make the most of it. Chahal was particularly effective against Australia’s middle-order in the ODI series in January. He would hope he could do deliver the same performance at the World Cup and dismissing South Africa captain would be one way to start the show.
Watch: ‘We can discuss it man-to-man’: Virat Kohli on Kagiso Rabada’s ‘immature’ jibe