Sun, Mar 13, 10:20am by Kevin Pitstock
India’s Last Five ODI’s:
South Africa’s Lat Five ODI’s:
Since he opened the tournament with a blistering 175 against Bangladesh, Virender Sehwag has gone relatively quiet. The 32-year-old hasn’t been able to kick on after making starts of 35, 5 and 39 – possibly due to playing too aggressively. However this type of match is where Sehwag is at his best – on the big stage and against one of the best teams in the world. Sehwag’s pretournament goal was to play out as much of the 50 overs in an innings as possible. In order for the opening batsman to do accomplish that against the Proteas, he needs to find the right balance between attack and defence, especially because of the quality he will be facing. If Sehwag can score quickly at the start of the innings then cleverly change his mind set to see out the remaining overs, India will be in the box seat.
JP Duminy has had a mixed start to the 2011 World Cup. The 26-year-old accumulated 42 not out and 40 when the pressure was off against West Indies and Netherlands. But when he was required to play a significant innings against England, he could only manage a duck. Duminy will have to play an important role for the Proteas this game, especially if the team’s selectors decide to play Johan Botha over Morne van Wyk. If Botha, a recognised bowler, plays, he bats at seven, meaning Duminy will have to shoulder a relatively inexperienced middle order. However, we here in Australia know of the left-handed batsman’s potential and class after he announced himself back in 2008/09 against the Aussies. He needs to do something similar today.
Likely Indian Team:
Likely South Africa Team:
This match is arguably the most important of the tournament to date.
Purely looking at wins and losses, India has been the most dominant team of the World Cup so far. It sits pretty in top spot, with three wins and a thrilling tie against England in its second match.
However there are plenty of areas for the Indians to improve on. The two recognised spinners in the squad who have played so far – Harbhajan and Chawla – have taken just six wickets between them in four matches. That’s not good enough for players of their calibre. Don’t be surprised to see Ashwin included sooner rather than later if Harbhajan and Chawla continue with that form.
South Africa was furious after its shock six-run loss to England a few days ago and they only had itself to blame. The ‘c-word’ – chokers for all those playing at home – was being tossed around the cricketing circles after they lost another match it should’ve won.
But after England’s remarkable two-wicket loss to Bangladesh last night, the Proteas have a golden opportunity to leapfrog the Poms on the Group B table and possibly move into second spot ahead of the Windies.
Both teams will be well aware this pitch is a batting paradise. Runs will come easier than a Sunday afternoon stroll. Therefore each recognised bowler needs to be on top of their game and make an impact.
But South Africa is due for a big win. The team would be so desperate to avenge its loss to the Poms the other night, and what better way to do it than against the home town heroes. On paper, their bowling attack has a touch more class about it – something that will be crucial on such a batsman-friendly deck.
If their formidable top order can get the team off to a solid start and their bowlers, led by the best in the business in Dale Steyn, can hit the right areas, the Proteas might just cause an upset.
Best Head-To-Head Bet:
South Africa ($2.15 – Sportingbet)