As the World Cup crescendos, Match 37 kindles a riveting face-off between titans India and South Africa at Kolkata's iconic Eden Gardens. With both teams having sealed their semi-final berths, this encounter isn't just about supremacy but fine-tuning their engines for the ultimate challenge. The toss will be pivotal, influencing not just the flow of this game but potentially setting a psychological template for the final itself.
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Match Preview: India vs South Africa, ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 37th Match
ICC World Cup • 5 Nov, 2023 • 3,748 Views • ⭐ 5.0
Written by Anand Swami
The iconic Eden Gardens, situated in the heart of Kolkata, is renowned for its penchant for facilitating run feasts. With a robust average first-innings score of 240, batsmen tend to find themselves at an advantage here. As the match progresses to the second innings, the score generally dips slightly to an average of 201, which still speaks to the pitch's run-friendly nature. It's also a stage where spin bowlers come into their element, significantly impacting the game's flow and intensifying the duel between the willow-wielders and the masters of spin.
Form Guide - India
India's form heading into their World Cup clash against South Africa is intimidating, with an impeccable streak of WWWWW in their last five One-Day Internationals. This trail of victories indicates a side brimming with confidence and cohesion. The Indian team has a preference for chasing down totals, which allows them to plan their innings meticulously. However, when setting a target, the Indian batting lineup appears hesitant and uncertain about the pace they need to adopt.
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This approach will be put to the test, especially as they face the absence of an all-rounder like Hardik Pandya, which forces them to rely on a five-bowler strategy. The loss of Pandya removes a layer of depth in their bowling options, potentially handing South Africa an area to exploit. Nonetheless, India's place in the semi-finals alongside South Africa suggests a formidability that they will hope to continue to capitalize on as they aim to secure a top-two finish in the league stage.
Form Guide - South Africa
South Africa's recent One-Day International form reads an impressive WWWWL, showcasing their prowess, particularly when they bat first. The Proteas have consistently set daunting targets at this World Cup, with scores like 428, 311, 399, 382, and 357, each time clinching victories with a margin of over 100 runs. These performances underline the strength of their top-order batting, capable of laying a solid foundation for the rest of the lineup. Despite this dominance, their ability to chase under pressure has been questionable, evidenced by a loss to the Netherlands and a narrow escape against Pakistan.
Yet, with their position in the semi-finals confirmed, South Africa’s powerful batting display is a key element of their strategy that they will continue to rely on. Their readiness to capitalize on India's constrained bowling attack could be crucial in their pursuit of a win to maintain a top position in the league stage, as they look ahead to the possibility of the final.
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The spotlight in this high-octane clash will shine bright on Mohammed Shami, India's ace pacer, who wasn't a part of the starting XI until an injury to Hardik Pandya paved the way for his inclusion. Shami has seized this opportunity with both hands and, in a mere three appearances, has climbed the ranks to become one of the tournament's leading wicket-takers. His extraordinary feats include claiming a five-wicket haul against New Zealand, four wickets versus England, and another five against Sri Lanka. While he typically enters the attack after the formidable duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj, his impressive impact with the ball speaks volumes of his exceptional bowling prowess.
Quinton de Kock
In the South African camp, Quinton de Kock has been nothing short of phenomenal, leading the charge with a staggering 545 runs and notching up four centuries – the highest in the tournament thus far. His remarkable strike rate of 112.60 underscores his explosive batting capabilities. De Kock's affinity for the Indian bowling lineup is well documented, having smashed six centuries in 19 ODIs against them, with a memorable trio of tons coming in consecutive innings early in his career. Given Temba Bavuma's current dip in form, de Kock's initial groundwork is crucial for South Africa, as it allows the middle order to launch an offensive with a solid base in place.
The Indian team is poised to enter the fray with a consistent selection, maintaining the same XI that has brought them success so far. KL Rahul, with his newly conferred role as the vice-captain, is set to be a pivotal figure within the squad. On the South African side, captain Temba Bavuma is considering a strategic move that may involve unleashing a dual spin attack featuring Keshav Maharaj alongside Tabraiz Shamsi.
The latter's inclusion, however, hinges on a closer inspection of the pitch conditions pre-match. Shamsi's track record against India might be a point of contemplation for the South African think tank, as his past encounters have yielded five wickets over six ODIs, with an economy rate edging towards the higher side at 6.48. This decision could be critical in bolstering their bowling department, particularly in key moments of the match.
Pitch and Weather Report
The balanced pitch at Eden Gardens doesn't favour any bowling style; fast bowlers strike more while spinners economize runs. Sunday's forecast suggests a high of 32°C dipping to 23°C by night, hinting at possible dew-affecting play in the second innings. With an Air Quality Index of 160, conditions will be moderate, unlikely to significantly impact the match.
South Africa (Probable): Quinton de Kock (wk), David Miller, Rassie van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen, Temba Bavuma (capt), Aiden Markram, Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi/Gerald Coetzee
Tune in for the ICC World Cup 2023's 37th match featuring the cricketing giants India and South Africa, broadcast live on the Star Sports network with multilingual commentary options. Fans in India can catch every play live by streaming the match via the Disney+ Hotstar app or on their website. This much-anticipated clash is scheduled at the historic Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday, November 5, with the first ball to be bowled at 2 pm IST, which corresponds to 8:30 am GMT.
In the shadows of the semi-finals, India and South Africa's tussle transcends the usual group-stage joust. This match could well be a teaser of the grand finale, with strategies and nerves tested to their limit. As they gear up at Eden Gardens, it's a battle not just for victory but for asserting dominance and gaining psychological ascendancy as the world watches on.
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