London: Having suffered defeats in their previous matches, India and South Africa face a do-or-die battle in their quest for a semi-final spot when they meet in a Group B contest of the Champions Trophy cricket tournament at The Oval here on Sunday.
India suffered a seven-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka in their last group match while Pakistan beat South Africa via the Duckworth-Lewis method.
India must have faced the biggest reality-check in the tournament, having lost to Sri Lanka even after registering a formidable total of 321/6 after being asked to bat first. The toss might have had its own effect on the match with India captain Virat Kohli always willing to chase first.
Kohli might look to replace middle-order batsman Kedhar Jadhav with star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin alongside left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja who might just add to the balance of the team.
Indian openers Rohit Shamra and Shikhar Dhawan have been in good nick and will look to give India a good start against South Africa.
Kohli and Yuvraj Singh will look to click in Sunday’s tie after failing to reach double digits against Sri Lanka. Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Hardik Pandya meanwhile, will look to inflict some damage on the opposition bowlers lower down the order.
The bowling department will be a matter of concern for India with only pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar being able to produce a wicket against Sri Lanka while the others failed to provide breakthroughs.
Pacers Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya bowled economically but failed to take any wickets.
For South Africa, neither the batting not bowling looked to have clicked after a 19-run defeat by the Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method against Pakistan in their previous match.
David Miller was the only batsman who was amongst the runs, scoring 75 against Pakistan. Pacer Morne Morkel was the only successful bowler among the Proteas with figures of 3/18.
South Africa will look to heavily improvise in both the departments to give their side any chance to win against India.
South Africa captain AB de Villiers form in the series has also been a matter of concern for the side, having scored only 4 runs in the previous two matches , and will try to come back big against India.
The South African bowling unit comprising of Kagiso Rabadda — the top ranked bowler in the ICC rankings — fellow pacers Wayne Parnell, Morne Morkel and Chris Morris along with their lone leg-spinner Inmran Tahir are a lethal unit on paper, but have failed to produce wickets at regular intervals.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Dinesh Karthik, Ajinkya Rahane.
South Africa: AB de Villiers (captain), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), David Miller, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Keshav Maharaj, Farhan Behardien, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwayne Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada.