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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

India v South Africa: Preview, expected line-ups and prediction

The State of Play

India became the first team to secure a place in the semi-finals with their emphatic defeat of Sri Lanka on Thursday. Rohit Sharma’s men were exemplary in every facet of the game in that 302-run win in Mumbai with the pace attack particularly impressive in bowling out their opponents for just 55.
India could not be in a better place and with an increasingly confident home support behind them will take some stopping.

If there’s one team that has come close to matching India’s performances it is South Africa. And in Quinton De Kock they boast the tournament’s leading run scorer. De Kock has amassed four centuries in his seven innings and his battle with the Indian attack at Eden Gardens will be fascinating.
South Africa have won six of their seven games at the World Cup. Another against India would guarantee a last-four berth and, perhaps more importantly, strike a psychological blow ahead of a potential rematch in the knockout phase.
Even if they don’t prevail on Sunday, it would take a remarkable set of results to deny the Proteas a spot in the semis.

Team News

There must be a temptation for India to rest key players with their qualification secured. But that opens the door for a loss of fluency and Mohammed Shami was at pains to point out after the Sri Lanka game that rhythm is key to their success.
There’s also the small matter of Virat Kohli’s quest to equal Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries. It looked on the cards against Sri Lanka only for him to be dismissed for 88. It’s also Kohli’s birthday on Sunday!

South Africa were able to field paceman Kagiso Rabada in their last game against New Zealand and, back spasms permitting, he will again play in Kolkata.

Expected line-ups

India: Sharma (c), Gill, Kohli, Iyer, Rahul (wk), S Yadav, Jadeja, Shami, Bumrah, K Yadav, Siraj

South Africa: De Kock (wk), Bavuma (c), Van der Dussen, Miller, Klaasen, Markram, Jansen, Coetzee, Maharaj, Rabada, Ngidi

What they said

India captain Rohit Sharma
“I’m very happy knowing we have qualified for the semi-finals, this was the first goal. But how we approached the seven games has been quite clinical, and a lot of individuals have put in the efforts, put their hands up and stood up.
“South Africa are playing some good cricket, so are we, so it’s going to be a good game.”

South Africa batter Rassie van der Dussen on facing India
“It’s a massive event. They’ve been playing really well, they’ve got all bases covered, a brilliant bowling attack and obviously the batting as well.
“But we’ll go into that game knowing that if we do the things well that we want to do, we’ll be in a really strong position. The challenge is to do that under pressure, to stay with that.
“We’ve played them before and we’ve beaten them here [in India] before so even thought it’s a World Cup, it’s not too much different.”

Prediction

Given their performance against Sri Lanka, it’s virtually impossible to look past another India win.
South Africa will give them a stern test but if India can get De Kock early then expect Sharma’s men to make it eight wins from eight.

Check out our other sports stories here:
https://www.businesslancashire.co.uk/category/sport/

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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