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India finally get their World Cup campaign underway a good seven days after the tournament started as they face a depleted South Africa at Ageas Bowl, in Southampton on Wednesday (June 5).

South Africa haven’t had the best starts to their tournament having lost both their opening encounters to England and Bangladesh respectively. They have further been dented with injuries to two of their pacers, Lungi Ngidi and Dale Steyn. India, on the other hand, are a much settled unit with all 15 of their players fit and raring to go.

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Over the years, India and South Africa have dished out mouth-watering encounters and although the Proteas unit has been marred with injuries, they are expected to give the Indians a tough fight. While the overall record in ODIs stands in South Africa’s favour, India have had the wood over them in the last five 50-over games.

Here, we take a look at how those last five encounters panned out.

February 16, 2018: India vs South Africa, in Centurion – India won by eight wickets

Image: AFP

Having being walloped in the Test series, the Indians came back in some style in the ODIs crushing the South Africans 5-1 in the six-match series. The final game of the tour saw Virat Kohli once again leading the way with a classy 129* off just 96 balls. Chasing 205 for a win, the Indians romped home in a mere 32.4 overs.

Earlier, Shardul Thakur was the star with the ball returning impressive figures of 4/52 to keep South Africa in check. Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal also contributed with two wickets each with only Khaya Zondo briefly shining for the hosts.

February 13, 2018: India vs South Africa, in Port Elizabeth – India won by 73 runs

Image: AFP

Rohit Sharma was in full bloom as India registered their first-ever bilateral series win in South Africa across any format bar a one-off T20. The win was setup by a masterful 115 from Rohit before the spin twins Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav ran through the Proteas middle-order sharing six wickets between them.

Sent into bat, Rohit saw two run-outs at the other end, survived a drop on 96 but went on to score a crucial century. His dismissal did spark a collapse of sorts but India still managed a formidable 274/6.

South Africa would have fancied their chances at 166 for 4 in the 35th over but lost 6 for 31 to crash to 201 inside 43 overs.

February 10, 2018: India vs South Africa, in Johannesburg – South Africa won by five wickets (DLS method)

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A Heinrich Klassen onslaught fashioned South Africa’s win in a rain-curtailed match overshadowing a classy century from Shikhar Dhawan. Batting first, India riding largely on Dhawan’s 105-ball 109 and Kohli’s 75 amassed 289/7.

India started well with the ball but frequent rain restrictions saw South Africa’s target reduced to 202 runs from 28 overs. It still would have been a tough ask but Klassen’s knock of 43 in 27 balls followed by a spectacular five-ball 23 from Andile Phehlukwayo helped the hosts ace the chase in 25.3 overs.

February 7, 2018: India vs South Africa, in Cape Town – India won by 124 runs

Image: AFP

It was a Kohli special all the way through as the Indian captain smashed an exhilarating 159-ball 160 to help India slam 303/6. It was almost a one-man show as Kohli single-handedly took the African bowlers to the cleaners. He smoked 12 fours and two sixes during his knock and was well supported Shikhar Dhawan who scored 76 off 63 balls.

In reply, South Africa were blown by a Chahal-Kuldeep show with the duo accounting for four wickets each to dismantle the hosts. While Chahal returned 4/46 from his nine overs, Kuldeep picked up 4/23 to bowl South Africa out for 179 in just 40 overs.

February 4, 2018: India vs South Africa, in Centurion – India won by nine wickets

Image: AFP

Chahal and Kuldeep once again turned the screws obliterating South Africa in just 32.2 overs. Not one South African batsman could hold fort as they were skittled out for 118. Chahal picked up 5/22 in 8.2 overs while Kuldeep returned 3/20 from his six.

India hardly broke a sweat in the chase with Dhawan (51*) and Kohli (46*) romping home in 20.3 overs with nine wickets in the bag.

India vs South Africa in the ICC World Cup 2019 on June 5 (Wednesday) will be broadcast on the Star Sports network and Live streaming will be available on Hotstar. The match will be played at Trent Bridge, Nottingham and will begin at 1500 HRS IST. (IND vs SA live)

PREVIEW: India will look to add to South Africa’s agony when they face beleaguered Faf du Plessis’ men in their first World Cup encounter at the Ageas Bowl, here on Wednesday.

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The Proteas are hurting after two defeats against England and Bangladesh, while India are fresh and raring to go, and that only makes them more dangerous.

India, after their second warm-up match against Bangladesh, had more than a week’s time to tune off and get themselves prepared for their first World Cup match.

It will be interesting to see whether Virat Kohli will go in with both the spinners — Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal — or will go in with an extra pacer in the form of Bhuvneshwar Kumar to strengthen their pace attack — led by Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami.

However, given the inability of the South African batsmen to play against spinners, Kohli might be tempted to play ‘Kul-cha’. Both Chahal and Kuldeep were extremely successful against the Proteas batsmen in the ODI series in South Africa last year which India had won. Kuldeep had scalped 17 wickets from six games while Chahal had one less from equal number of matches.

Another dilemma which Kohli would be having is whom to play — Kedar Jadhav or Vijay Shankar. While Jadhav provides him with those four-five overs of spin in the middle, Shankar can prove to be handy in the overcast conditions. Also, Jadhav’s batting and power-hitting ability makes him a much valuable player as compared to the Tamil Nadu all-rounder.

The Indian top-order failed to perform in both their warm-up games and that can be a cause of concern for the team management. Both Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan didn’t manage to score runs against New Zealand and Bangladesh. However, Kohli doesn’t see that as a major issue and feels that his star openers are big-match players who will perform in the tournament proper.

However, the big plus for the No. 2 ranked ODI side is the form of K.L. Rahul and M.S. Dhoni who scored hundreds against Bangladesh.

On the other hand, Proteas did not have a great start to their World Cup campaign. They conceded totals in excess of 300 against both England and Bangladesh. The bowling seems to lack the killer instinct and the absence of young pacer Lungi Ngidi for the crucial game only adds to their worries. Also, Dale Steyn is recovering from the shoulder injury and it is still not sure whether he will be returning back to the playing XI.

When it comes to their batting, Proteas batsmen fell well short against England and, despite a much-improved performance against Bangladesh, didn’t manage to take the team home. Against the quality of India’s attack, the Proteas batsmen will have to come out with their A-game to pose a challenge to the Men in Blue.

However, it would still not be easy for India to go past South Africa considering their record in World Cups. In the four World Cup games these two teams have played, India have won just one and lost three. And even in overall ODIs, South Africa hold a 46-34 edge.

Squads

India: Virat Kohli (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, K.L. Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, JP Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi.

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