Having bulldozed their way through England on Thursday, team India will take on a resilient South Africa side in the Super Sixes SRL on Friday. While India enter the contest having won three of their last five SRL games, the Proteas are in shaky form, having lost three of their last four encounters.
India - W L W L W
The past few days or so has been a mixed back for the Indian SRL side, who have uncharacteristically blown hot and cold. While they have been at their absolute best on a select few occasions - such as their game against England on Monday where they scored a mammoth 224 - on certain other instances - such as their games against Australia and Pakistan this week - the Men in Blue have been guilty of under-performing. However, a victory always helps and having won two of their last three games, including their most recent one against England, Virat Kohli’s men would undoubtedly enter the game against South Africa as favorites, soaring with confidence. That they won the last H2H encounter between the two sides would also bolster their confidence.
South Africa - L W L L W
It’s never a good sign when a team has more “L’s” than “W’s” in the form table and having lost three of their last four encounters, the Proteas will enter this contest wounded, knowing they cannot afford to put a foot wrong against the mighty Indian side. While losing three out of five games is not alarming by any means, it’s the manner of losses that has raised concerns, especially the one against the Kiwis, where they failed to show any intent in their quest of chasing 183. The good thing for them, perhaps, would be the fact that there will be no expectations from their end, and that might indirectly end up benefiting the team.
Often criticized for his rash shot selection and his tendency to throw his wicket away, Rishabh Pant has come off age in the latter stages of this SRL and turned out to be a vital cog in India’s wheel. With 184 runs, Pant has, in fact, been India’s highest run-getter across the past five matches and has crossed the 30-run mark in four of those knocks. The highlight of his brute knocks has been his immaculate strike rate, which stands at 161.4, and the southpaw has often given the side a much-needed push towards the latter half of the innings. On Friday, the youngster would no doubt be aiming to decimate a South African attack that is already low on confidence.
Having already scored two centuries in this SRL, Quinton de Kock has been one of the best batsmen in the entire competition and has certainly been head and shoulders above any Proteas batsman. It was only a week ago that his startling ton against the Aussies almost sealed an improbable win for the Proteas, and despite not quite getting the ‘big’ score since then, the Proteas skipper has time and again threatened to explode with the bat. Despite misfiring in the last H2H game against India, scoring just one run, de Kock would undoubtedly head into this contest as South Africa’s most important batsman.
Having picked 7 wickets in the last 3 games of this SRL, Navdeep Saini has been a revelation for team India and has almost threatened to steal the ‘spearhead’ tag away from his compatriot Jasprit Bumrah. Despite being on the expensive side, the right-arm quick’s timely breakthroughs have time and again crippled the opposition batsmen and have helped the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja dictate play in the middle-overs. He would certainly be aiming to add a few more scalps next to his name on Friday.
Having scalped six wickets in his last two encounters, Tabraiz Shamsi will enter the contest against India in red-hot form. Shamsi, with his left-arm wrist spin, has bamboozled batsmen throughout the tournament and his 4/13 against Pakistan on Tuesday sits mighty as one of the best bowling figures of this SRL. Despite going wicketless in the last H2H game against the Indians, the left-armer would know that he needs to fire for Proteas to have any chance of overcoming the Indian challenge.
When to watch: May 22, 2019, 3.00 PM
Where to watch: SportsCafe and Sportsbet.io
Can India inflict further pain on the Proteas and make life miserable for de Kock’s men? To get all the live updates, follow SportsCafe. Meanwhile, Sportsbet.io will provide live odds on the game to bet on.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (c) Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Tabraiz Shamsi, Imran Tahir
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