Taking on Sri Lanka, both the teams India and South Africa got to be acquainted with their respective wake up calls in this Champions League 2017. South Africa, in their battle against Sri Lanka put up a total of 163 for 1 after the completion of 30 overs whereas the defending champion India scored 169 for 2 till the cusp of their 30 overs. Hence keeping aside the end result, the respective approaches to that particular game in the next 10 overs conveyed their stand on how they prepared themselves for 50 overs of cricket. In the next five overs, South Africa pushed themselves hard to reach 350 but such endeavour caused them lost few crucial wickets in the middle which led them cusp their inning in 299. On the other hand, India eyeing on 300 above total initially ensured themselves with 300 by keeping wickets in hands and later on encashed the bonus 21 runs which made them put up the total of 321 runs in front of Sri Lanka.
Both these sides inspite of few defeats prevailed their triumphant quest with the help of their respective approaches. South Africa previously found their feet against Sri Lanka with such mindset but India despite of scoring 321 couldn’t survive the battle against the same adversary. At the beginning of 2016, India lost few successive matches against Australia despite scoring 309, 308 and 295. A year earlier the same Indian team prevailed their winning streak against different opponents in a bigger tournament, with the total of 300, 307 and 302. Digging up to the history, India having lost to Sri Lanka never won any ICC Tournament which kind of giving birth to the conjecture of whether India should give up their trusting way of playing ODIs.
In terms of South Africa’s game playing approach, star AB de Villiers has been running on the slump of his batting display which left them in a crisis against Pakistan and vulnerable against Sri Lanka. They can at least cherish their bowlers who bailed them out against Sri Lanka and put up a kind of blitzkrieg which made Pakistan’s chase of 220 difficult. Hence the conjecture rose up for South Africans is whether they should have the nerve to risk a sub-300 total against the chasing might of India in an attempt to go for their preferred 350.
Saying the truth both teams will be eyeing on to chase and not to grapple with the dubious scenario of decision making in the first half of the quarter final. Hence all the credits goes to Pakistan and Sri Lanka for their praiseworthy victorious endeavours against South Africa and India which helped bring this tournament alive. Initially it was very much predicted that from this group India and South Africa are the only sides carrying the potential to play on further so everyone was sticking their eyes on the another two teams going to crop up from the other group. Worldwide people were wondering which team would go on to play against India and which one to play South Africa but such turnaround in this Champions league indeed opened up the thrill in this tournament.
From the Indian side, Yuvraj Singh grabs the spotlight. Since his comeback his scoring patterns were 15, 150, 45, 53 and 7. He brought back the lost explosiveness in Indian middle order batting. Especially after his innings against Pakistan, he kind of exhibited his potential to put up the much needed total in board in order to demand a fight back from the opponents. India precisely is looking upon their first 3 batsmen and their respective approaches in the tournaments so once the first 3 get dismissed, there is Yuvraj Singh who would step up for his team. South Africa would definitely Take a note of him as he is always a daunting pressure for the adversaries.
On the other end AB de Villiers is spreading anxiety in African dug out as his ongoing slump in form makes it difficult to strengthen their batting onslaught. Due to failure from AB’s end, African side is running low in confidence. His hardship against left arm spinners still continues and this was the exact reasons why in the battle against Pakistan, he found himself making his way back to pavilion after being caught out pushing the left arm delivery pitched in outside off. In the crucial match against India does he continue lacking his elegant batting touch, only the time will tell.
India with R Ashwin on board might take on African steady batting onslaught. In order to do so they might put their gun fielder R Jadeja put to rest. In the previous game against Sri Lanka his eight overs spell turned out to go into the vein as he gave 52 runs going with no success in hands. Having failed to defend 321 India now has come to a situation where they must force themselves to put changes in the bowling blitz. R ashwin would be the best alternative in such scenario as his records against South Africa is not so bad. Besides that Umesh Yadav also failed to impress the Indian spectators in the last game. he went on with no wicket which somehow decreased the Indian chances of winning against Lanka.
India (possible) 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt.), 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Umesh Yadav/R Ashwin, 11 Jasprit Bumrah.
South Africa on the other end might not hit the panic button as their selection solidified by JP Duminy, has scored only four fifties and averaged only 30 since the 2015 World Cup. Farhaan Behardien hasn’t lit up the stage either. There are options, though, for Wayne Parnell, who doesn’t have a great record against India: economy rate of 7.4 and average of 81.4. If they try to get more adventurous, they could think of the left-arm spin of Keshav Maharaj.
South Africa (possible): 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Faf du Plessis, 4 AB de Villiers (capt), 5 David Miller, 6 JP Duminy, 7 Chris Morris, 8 Wayne Parnell/Andile Phehlukwayo 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Imran Tahir
The Oval has been the truest surface ever. In last three completed matches there, the record for the highest successful Champions Trophy chase had been broken and that too twice in the last 10 days span. Hence betting against a third one, especially with clear weather would be a bit risky take up. The pitch from the India-Sri Lanka game would probably be used again today.
Stats and Trivia:
- In all ICC tournaments, including the World T20s, India have beaten South Africa eight times out of 12, including in each of their last four meetings.
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav don’t have a good record against South Africa: economy rates of 7.17 and 6.81 with averages over 50. While Jasprit Bumrah has never played against South Africa, Mohammed Shami has more than held his own: economy rate of just under six and an average of just under 20.
- After a stellar start to his career – 17 wickets at 14.64 and economy of 3.63 in his first eight matches, Bumrah has gone for 6.88 an over for five wickets at 60.6 in his last five ODIs. His average is 20 and economy rate 4.55 when India bowl first; in defences he has gone at 5.93 an over and has taken a wicket every 57.33 runs.
- Morne Morkel has got Shikhar Dhawan four times in 77 balls for 44 runs, Virat Kohli three times in 104 balls for 68 runs and MS Dhoni three times in 77 balls for 47 runs.
- R Ashwin has dismissed Quinton de Kock twice in 86 balls for 70 runs.
“I’m really enjoying the captaincy. I think I make some good calls. But yeah, pencil’s in your hand, and I unfortunately can’t control what you’re going to write but in my mind I’m a good captain. So that’s unfortunately going to come down to the result again tomorrow. Hopefully a good one,”- AB de Villiers goes down a similar pat.
Belonging to the cohort of cricket fanatics, Ranojoy Middya is an assiduous cricketer who aspires to live life in purview of the cricketing world; penning his line of thinking at present and living up to it in the near future.