About the Match
India conquered Pakistan yet again by defeating the rivals by 76 runs in the opening game but it will need to be seen if they can repeat their brilliance on the field against South Africa, whom they take on this Sunday 22nd Feb at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. The stage is set for these two strong contenders and it needs to be seen if the South African pace attack can topple the Indian batting line-up to continue their undefeated record against the men in blue in the world cup. India and South Africa have been working hard for the crucial game on Sunday and we are surely going to witness a fully-packed stadium consisting of fans from both the cricket-frenzied nations.
While the batting line-up is a formidable one with players like AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock, it is the bowling department that poses a greater threat to the Indians; and Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Morkel and Philander will be their strongest armour. Although the batting giants in the top order couldn’t get the big runs on board against Zimbabwe, David Miller and JP Duminy posted an incredible 256 runs for the 5th wicket to steer the total to 339. While Miller posted a heroic 138 off 92 balls, Duminy showed equal class by scoring 115 off 100 deliveries; the top order needs to get its act together against the Indian bowling, which showed signs of improvement in the game against Pakistan. Imran Tahir claimed 3-36 against Zimbabwe and his spin attack can be deadly in the death overs; Morkel, Philander and Steyn have been in great shape and they will surely bring out some tricks on Sunday. Overall, the team is one of the most dangerous sides in this world cup and they will be eager to repeat their success against India to move ahead.
The top order showed brilliance with the bat and they will be ready to come out all guns blazing against Dale Steyn and his mates; while Shikhar Dhwan scored a valiant 73 off 76, which marked his return to form, Kohli spearheaded the run-flow by posting a much-needed 107 off 126 balls. Suresh Raina’s quick 74 off 56 ensured the team got to a decent total of 300 against Pakistan and then it was the bowlers who made the win possible. Mohammad Shami has emerged as the most efficient paceman in the Indian bowling squad and he didn’t disappoint against the opponents as he claimed 4-35 to give the required tempo. Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma also contributed with key wickets while the fielding was spotless with some amazing catches that demolished the Paksitani batting line-up. Ashwin and Jadeja took a wicket each but surely the responsibilities will fall heavily on the fast bowlers on Sunday. India needs to focus on building a good foundation either in setting a target or in chasing and players like Rahane, Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Kohli will have an even bigger role to play on Sunday against the Proteas dreaded attack.
India showed great quality in all departments of the game and look good going into Sunday’s match; however, South Africa can change the game to its favour with the many match-winners at hand. Although the contest will be a close one, we feel that India, largely because of their acquaintance to the conditions and home-like support, is better prepared to take on the Proteas’ might and emerge victorious.
India, 2.62 @ Bet365