India are set to begin their ICC World Cup 2019 campaign against South Africa at the Southampton on Wednesday. The South Africans have already lost 2 matches in the tournament and would look to get their combination right against India.
South Africa lost their first game to England by 104 runs and they were bowled out for a paltry 207. Bangladesh shocked the Proteas in their second match, where Faf du Plessis’ team failed to chase 331. SA’s troubles have compounded with three of their key players battling injuries – Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi.
The Ageas Bowl pitch in Southampton is expected to be a flat batting track and India will be tempted to play both their wrist spinners – Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. The Proteas struggled against the two spinners during India’s last away tour. Kuldeep picked 17 wickets from 6 matches on that 2018 tour of South Africa. In the same number of matches, Chahal had 16 wickets.
Skipper Kohli will face the dilemma of picking between fit-again Kedar Jadhav and all-rounder Vijay Shankar. Shankar failed to impress in the two warm-up games that India played before the World Cup. Not only is Kedar Jadhav a more experienced batsman on the international arena, he also brings to the table his handy off-breaks.
Jadhav is a street-smart batsman and along with Dhoni, provides a good finishing option for India at no. 6. The 33-year-old participated in India’s net session on Sunday and batted without any apparent discomfort.
Vijay Shankar was picked in the World Cup squad ahead of Ambati Rayudu for his 360-degree abilities. Not only is Shankar a capable batsman, but also offers the captain another seam bowling option, which will prove to be handy if the conditions are overcast.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (captain), KL Rahul, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav/Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (captain), JP Duminy, David Miller, Rassie van der Dussen, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pertorius, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir.