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India vs South Africa: Five Key Battles That Will Define India's World Cup Opener

Cricketnext Staff |June 5, 2019, 1:41 PM IST
India vs South Africa: Five Key Battles That Will Define India's World Cup Opener

India will finally commence their 2019 World Cup campaign on Wednesday (June 5) in Southampton where they will take on South Africa who have already played two games and lost both. India have got the better of South Africa in all their last five meetings in ICC tournaments and would want to get things started on a winning note.

The two teams possess some world-class talents. Here’s a look at some of the mouth-watering individual clashes that are on offer.

Virat Kohli vs Kagiso Rabada

Kohli Rabada

Let's start with the obvious one, arguably the world's best batsman vs arguably the world's best bowler.

The battle between these two is going to be nothing but spectacular. Rabada has already ignited a war of words by calling Kohli immature and the Indian skipper is someone who thrives on such jibes. Both of them have faced each other 11 times in ODIs and it's mostly been Kohli who has come out on top. Rabada has dismissed the batting maestro two times and often gets that respect from the batsman. The right-arm paceman hasn't set the stage on fire in the two games that South Africa have played in this tournament and will be itching to make an impact against India's formidable batting order, led by the captain himself. With Dale Steyn out of the tournament and Lungi Ngidi missing the next game, the entire burden will be on the shoulders of Rabada.

Rohit Sharma & Shikhar Dhawan vs Dwaine Pretorius

Shikhar Dhawan Rohit Sharma Pretorius

Pretorius will have to bring his 'A' game if he wants to challenge two of the world's best white-ball batsmen currently. Both Rohit and Dhawan have an outstanding record in this format and form a super top three along with Kohli. Pretorius is someone who can move the ball and both these batsmen are slightly vulnerable at the start of their innings. The right-arm seamer didn't feature in the game against Afghanistan but will have to contribute in this match so that he can offer some help to Rabada.

MS Dhoni vs Imran Tahir

MS Dhoni Imran Tahir

While Rohit, Dhawan and Kohli have been really consistent, there have been a few games where the trio has failed to chip in and that's where the experience of Dhoni comes in. India's middle-order revolves around the wicketkeeper-batsman who is playing his last World Cup. Dhoni is someone who starts slowly and builds his innings before switching to the fifth gear in the last few overs. The 37-year-old finds it slightly difficult to rotate strike against leg-spinners and that's where his Chennai Super Kings teammate Tahir can come into play. The leg-spinner has been amongst wickets and if he can get rid of Dhoni cheaply, it will break the back of India's batting.

Jasprit Bumrah vs Quinton de Kock

Jasprit Bumrah Qunton de Kock

With scores of 68 and 23, de Kock has looked in fine touch so far in this competition but will have to take it a step further against India. However, he will be up against Bumrah who knows him quite well after sharing a dressing room with him in the IPL for Mumbai Indians. Bumrah has learnt the art of moving ball both ways and he can cause trouble to de Kock early in the innings. It also won't come as a surprise if Bumrah attacks de Kock with short deliveries. Both the players are in solid form and will be looking to give their side a rocking start.

Yuzvendra Chahal vs Faf du Plessis

Chahal and Faf du Plessis

The South African skipper is someone who holds the batting unit together and he will have to make sure that the Indian spin duo of Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav does minimal damage. Du Plessis scored a solid 62 against Bangladesh but he will have to bat even longer against India and ensure the lower middle-order isn't exposed early. Both the wrist spinners have been instrumental in India's success and if they can dismiss du Plessis early, it will give them the license to play with the other out-of-form batsmen.

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

5 4 1 0 8 +1.86
5 4 1 0 8 +0.81
4 3 0 1 7 +2.16
4 3 0 1 7 +1.02
5 2 2 1 5 -0.27
5 1 2 2 4 -1.77
5 1 3 1 3 +0.27
5 1 3 1 3 -0.20
5 1 3 1 3 -1.93
5 0 5 0 0 -2.08

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5720 124
2 India 5990 122
3 New Zealand 4121 114
4 South Africa 4647 111
5 Australia 4805 109
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more