This article was first published on ThirdManCricket.com
Arguably the second most hyped up game of the group stages after IndiavsPak is about to take place at The G today. What does it have in store ? Here is my take on the upcoming match and which players hold the key for success on either side.
India’s emotion and pressure packed match against Pakistan allowed them to pick up some confidence after a win less couple months down under. The win would have really helped the boys in blue and hopefully given them a refreshed mindset for this World Cup.
South Africa have had a good couple of games starting this tournament and definitely look like major contenders for lifting the trophy. They had a mini scare versus Zimbabwe, but Miller and JP were able to shake off their chokers tag and will really come into this match high on confidence especially around their middle order batting ability.
Who to watch out for?
While perusing through twitter among the various World Cup hash tags, I came across something really neat that IBM is doing . It is called #scorewithdata. Using historical data, they basically measure the impact number of key player/roles and compare these numbers across the competing teams. Check them here @scorewithdata
Impact Players: Kohli Vs AB
Interestingly, IBM has computed the same impact number for Kohli and AB at 2.55. Going by this number alone, does this mean that their impact in today’s game will in effect cancel each other out ?
“Keep” an eye out : Dhoni Vs Quinton
If South Africa Bat First, India better watch out for Quinton. His track record against India is phenomenal. he has scored a century in every match against India (3 in total) with a strike rate of close to 96%
Dhoni is due a big role in finishing an innings for India. In this scenario, the only way India can nullify Quinton’s effect is if he contributes in a big way at the tail end of India’s innings. Here is hoping for a few Helicopter shots!!
Surprise Packages: Rohit Vs Faf
These are to players that will be desperate to perform big this match. Rohit Sharma will need to play calmly against Steyn and Co., get his eye in and aim for the full 50 overs. Watch out for Rohit today – Does he has it in him to pull a blinder this game ? I think so!
Faf has had a rough time the last 8 – 10 ODIs. His strike rate has barely crossed 75% and he has only one 50 score under his belt. The good news is that he now has Michael Hussey, his mate from his IPL team (Chennai Super Kings), working on him behind the scenes. Faf is due a big innings, and as in Rohit’s case, my crystal ball predicts a calm and composed, big innings from him especially if South Africa end up chasing a big target.
According to some pundits, Imran Tahir is expected to play for the South Africans. India should not have much trouble against him or any other spinners , however, their start against South Africa’s strong pace attack needs to be solid. A slip up there and it is going to be a tough one for India to recover from.
India’s Bowling unit is definitely the weaker of the two. If Dhoni can set tight fields and apply pressure in the middle overs, there is a chance of a South African collapse. This Indian bowling attack will have some difficulty containing the runs during the first and last 10 overs.
Toss and ? – Bat!
If South Africa manage to win the toss, they should bat. They can use the opportunity to set the mode from the get go by attacking the Indian bowling attack out of the game. Quinton up front and Faf in the middle will get them a big score.
India’s batting doesn’t go that deep, so they too will be hoping to get a chance to bat first and set up a sizeable total.
If India end up having to chase, it will definitely be a 300+ target, but they should have the confidence to chase it. How difficult the chase gets will be totally up to how well their bowlers can contain the leakage of runs
No matter how the toss goes, I still feel this game will go down to the wire. Looking forward to a nail biting finish! We need some more of these this World Cup!
Rahul Ravikrishnan is a writer for Third Man Cricket.
Third Man Cricket is an online cricket website founded by two self-described die-hard Indian cricket fans based in New York and Portugal. Their love for the game in non-traditional cricketing locations led them to establishing the website to promote passion for cricket in those countries. Third Man Cricket has developed into a multi-country, multi-team focused cricket blog, from interviews with players to match previews and coaching clinics.