About the Match
Both defending champions India and the number one ranked ODI team in the world South Africa have not had the best of Champions Trophy campaigns till now. Both began their campaigns with spectacular wins against Pakistan and Sri Lanka respectively, but were not able to keep the momentum going, and lost their respective second games. This means that both these teams are now at 2 points each and being pitted against each other for their last group game, only one of them will be able to make it through. This match, the 11th of the tournament, will be played at The Oval on 11th June and whichever team wins will make the semi-finals with the loser heading home.
Pitch and Toss
The Oval is known as an excellent batting surface for its even surface and true bounce. Generally, in high-pressure games, teams like to bat first and post a huge total on the board. However, in the current Champions Trophy, it has been a different case altogether. Due to inclement weather conditions and Duckworth-Lewis coming into the picture, teams batting second have a slight advantage and considering the strong batting lineup both the sides have, captain winning the toss is most likely to win the toss and field first.
India entered this edition of the ICC Champions Trophy as the defending champion, and surely played like a champion side in their first game of the tournament against Pakistan. India batted superbly, with all of their top four scoring fifties, and then bowled with lots of venom and discipline to kill the Pakistan chase even before it could get started.
In their second game though, against Sri Lanka, despite the batting coming good again and the bowlers having a good total to work with, the flair and uninhibited stroke play of Sri Lankan batsmen proved to be too much, and India suffered an unexpected loss. This loss means that India’s last group game, against South Africa, is a virtual quarter final, and the only way for India to make the semis is to get a win.
India has chosen a pretty experienced squad for this tournament and the recent ODI form of almost all their batsmen has been good. Though Captain Virat Kohli did not have a good IPL, but he batted well against Pakistan and this bolsters Indian batting even further. The bowlers all have been in good rhythm recently, but they wilted under pressure against Sri Lanka, and this is not something that India can afford in this do or die match.
India is the defending champion and one of the better ODI teams around, and going by the recent ODI form, they have a very good chance of defeating South Africa and entering the semi-finals. The only worry for India would be complacency and the ability of their bowlers to perform under pressure and they would strive hard to guard against both.
South Africa entered the Champions Trophy as the number one ranked ODI team in the world. They entered the tournament with high expectations, and were able to meet all those with a clinical performance against Sri Lanka to start their Champions Trophy campaign on a winning note.
But then they suffered the same fate as India, and lost in the most unexpected way to a resurgent Pakistan. So this means that, same as for India, this is a knockout game for South Africa, and they need to win here in order to progress to the semi-finals.
South Africa has been in great ODI form of late, and they continued this great run against Sri Lanka in their first group game, but were undone by a strong and disciplined Pakistan bowling performance in the second game. David Miller played exceptionally well to take South Africa to a respectable total after their top-order had been blown away by some sensational bowling from Pakistan, but his efforts were not enough, as South Africa did not simply have enough runs on the board.
Despite this loss, South Africa still has a great chance of making the semis. The conditions in England suit their pace dominant bowling attack as well as their batsmen who like batting on bouncy surfaces. South Africa is a well balanced team and is in good form right now and this game presents the final opportunity for them to seal a semi-final berth with a win. They will just want to focus on playing some good aggressive cricket and not letting expectations hinder their thinking too much.
Both India and South Africa are two very competent ODI outfits. Both these sides are pretty well balanced, but India has traditionally performed better at ICC events. Both these sides are among the best ODI outfits going around currently, both the squads appear to be settled and in form on paper, and both have a win and a loss in their first two matches heading into this match. This is a knock-out situation though and South Africa does not have an inspiring record in such games, whereas India thrives in such situations and this gives them a slight upper hand in this contest.