South Africa has gotten off to a bad start in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 with losses to both England and Bangladesh at The Oval. Their task will only get harder as their next encounter is against Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team. India has been in dominant form in ODIs in the last couple of seasons. In the 2018 bilateral series, India registered a comprehensive performance against South Africa as they won the six-match ODI series 5-1. In ICC events in the last four years, India has held the upper hand over South Africa, winning the 2015 World Cup clash as well as the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.
Heading into the contest, Kohli’s side is favourites against a Proteas side low on confidence. A loss for South Africa will be detrimental to their World Cup prospects while a win could get their campaign back on track. Here is what South Africa need to do if they have to beat India and get their campaign back on track.
Key factor: Tackle the spin of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal confidently
In the six-match ODI series in January 2018, South Africa was undone by the wrist spinning duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. Kuldeep and Chahal took 17 and 16 wickets respectively and this was a major factor in India winning the series 5-1. In the game against England and Bangladesh, South Africa was undone by the discipline of the spinners. Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid bowled well while Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan built pressure. If South Africa has to do well, they must tackle the spinners well.
Key Factor: Kagiso Rabada must regain his death overs mojo
In the clashes against England and Bangladesh, South Africa conceded 86 runs in the last 10 overs. In both matches, Kagiso Rabada’s figures were 2/66 and 0/57. Rabada was the ultimate death overs bowler for Delhi Capitals in the IPL and it was his wicket-taking prowess combined with his pace and accuracy made him a stand-out. However, in this World Cup, his accuracy has been found wanting and he has not nailed the yorker frequently. Rabada’s ineffectiveness so far has hurt South Africa in the death overs.
Key factor: Get Shikhar Dhawan out cheaply
When one looks at South Africa and their pain in ICC tournaments, only one man has been responsible for this. Shikhar Dhawan. His century in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 in Cardiff was the beginning of the pain. In the 2015 World Cup, it was Dhawan’s century in Melbourne that helped India win for the first time against the Proteas in this tournament. In the 2017 Champions Trophy at The Oval, it was Dhawan’s half-century that knocked South Africa out. For South Africa, the plan must be simple, get rid of Dhawan cheaply and give themselves a big chance of winning.