On Wednesday, even as they look to open their winning account, South Africa would be under immense pressure. Meanwhile, India, by now aware of the opponents’ weaknesses, would look to cash in on them.
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From a brittle batting line-up to a lacklustre bowling performance in death overs, the problems facving South Africa are aplenty, while the Indian side could prove extremely unpredictable.
Here are a few ways in which India could exploit South Africa's weaknesses:
Death over bowling
For some reason, Faf du Plessis has been finding it difficult to use his resources properly. Although Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada are picking wickets, they are not getting the support from other bowlers. Andile Phelukwayo picks wickets but leaks runs, too. Even Rabada could not make much of an impact in the last match against Bangladesh. Somehow, the flair goes missing as matches progress to death overs. And that is where India could gain an edge with their long tail of batsmen.
Missing Steyn and injured Ngidi
There is little chance that Dale Steyn would be in the South Africa Playing 11 on Wednesday. And, if that happens, Indian batsmen would rejoice: They have closely observed and faced Imran Tahir, Chris Morris, and Kagiso Rabada in IPL 2019, so they must be aware of the tricks these three possess.
Promising pacer Lungi Ngidi has been ruled out of the team's World Cup game against India after sustaining a hamstring injury during South Africa’s lost match against Bangladesh on Sunday. In his absence, the Proteas would expect Steyn's inclusion, but that remains doubtful.
Phelukwayo may be a fresh challenge, but India would have a psychological advantage over the injury-stricken opponent.
He may be an old and reliable hand for South Africa, but Amla has been struggling, and India's bowlers would not miss the opportunity to pin Amla down before he starts any assault. Amla was recently forced to return to the pavilion after being hit on the helmet by a short and pacy delivery from England speedster Jofra Archer. When he later returned to bat, he didn’t look like the same batsman. Amla missed his match against Bangladesh, but he is likely to play against India. The Indian side would surely have a plan especially for this batsman.
Middle-over collapse, despite too many all-rounders
South Africa's middle order looks good on paper but its collapse against England exposed some weak spots. David Miller, Rassie van der Dussen and JP Duminy have the goods to pull off match-winning knocks, but they somehow lose the track of run rate and crumble under pressure.
Scarcity of full-time spinners
Imran Tahir is the only go-to man for du Plessis when it comes to spin bowling. Tahir scalped the first wicket of ICC World Cup 2019
for Soutrh Africa by dismissing Jonny Bairstow for a golden duck. Tahir delivers on a number of occasions and keeps the pressure up, but South Africa's bowling is pace-dominated; that somehow doesn't really work in middle overs when they need to break the momentum. From Kohli to K L Rahul, most Indian batsmen play pace well and du Plessis is aware of it.