The cricketing giants, India and South Africa, are set to clash on Sunday, 5 November at the iconic Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
South Africa enters the match with caution, fully aware of the formidable challenge posed by the Indian team. The hosts have previously toppled an unbeaten team, sending the New Zealand squad into a downward spiral in the World Cup.
India’s top-order batsmen have been in fine form, with Shubman Gill contributing a robust 92 at Wankhede. The Indian pace bowlers have outperformed their rivals, shining particularly under the floodlights in their recent matches. Kuldeep Yadav continues to confound opposition batsmen with his spin bowling.
Despite the absence of key all-rounder Hardik Pandya, captain Rohit Sharma will be banking on the rest of the team to maintain their impressive performance.
South Africa, on the other hand, has found success batting first in the tournament, regularly surpassing the 350-run mark. Apart from captain Temba Bavuma, the rest of the top and middle-order batsmen have been in scintillating form.
Even if they don’t bat first, the Proteas have a potent pace attack and a strong spin duo in Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi to challenge India. The pitch at Kolkata, which hasn’t been conducive to high-scoring games, could also play a significant role in the match.
Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Prasidh Krishna, Suryakumar Yadav.
South Africa Squad:
Temba Bavuma (c), Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Lizaad Williams.
Players to Watch
India – Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami, who returned to the Indian team following Hardik Pandya’s injury, has been exceptional in the tournament. His 14 wickets at an astonishing average of 6.71 have been crucial. Shami’s ability to dismiss top and middle-order batsmen early will be key to halting South Africa’s batting momentum.
South Africa – Quinton de Kock
South Africa’s opener, Quinton de Kock, has a simple task: continue his run-scoring spree. The tournament’s leading run-scorer has been striking at an impressive rate of 112.6. De Kock, who has already scored four centuries in this World Cup, will be eager to add another against India. His aggressive batting style, coupled with the Proteas’ lower-order power-hitting, could prove decisive if he gets going against India.