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South Africa Take On India In Potential Epic


In what is without doubt the clash of the tournament so far, South Africa take on hosts Indiaat the VCA stadium in Jamtha on Saturday.

Both of these teams will need to lift their cricket after their respective performances. For India, the top-order has to create a platform for the middle and the late order simply needs to fire.

The South African pacemen will be probing from the get-go with short pitched deliveries part and parcel of this match.

There is the possibility that India might opt for a three-man pace attack with Munaf Patel replacing Chawla in the eleven.

South Africa will wait before taking a final call on Imran Tahir who is suffering from a broken left thumb. Tahir has become an essential weapon in South Africa’s spin armoury, and a lot depends on the man.

If Tahir doesn’t play the South Africans might encounter difficulties in managing the middle overs.

The encounter that everyone is waiting for will be the continuation of the Zaheer Khan vs. Graeme Smith debacle. The versatile left-arm paceman has often caused hassles for the Proteas captain

South Africa’s line-up, although suffering a collapse against the English, is pure class with the solid Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers and the left-handed Jean-Paul Duminy all contributing at the top.

India (probable): M.S. Dhoni (captain), V. Sehwag, S. Tendulkar, G. Gambhir, V. Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Piyush Chawla, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, R. Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Aashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, S. Raina, S. Sreesanth.

South Africa (probable): G. Smith (captain), H. Amla, J. Kallis, A.B. de Villiers, J.P. Duminy, F. du Plessis, M. van Wyk, R. Petersen, J. Botha, D. Steyn, M. Morkel, I. Tahir, L. Tsotsobe, C. Ingram, W. Parnell.

On the batting front, Jacques Kallis will rise to the occasion here. Kallis has had a miserable tour by his standards and for a man of his calibre; this form is bound to change. He will look to provide the middle order with stability, while also unleashing his new found ability to up the run-rate.

Dale Steyn returns to a ground that he harbours fond memories of. The fiery paceman blew away the Indian line-up with seven for 51 in the first innings of the Nagpur Test last year.

Smith has predicted the game will be an evenly-balanced contest, more so considering the frequency with which the two countries have played each other recently.

"I think both the teams are accustomed to each other now. We have played a lot of cricket recently and know each other pretty well now. This will be another good game for the World Cup. Obviously, both the sides would like come out winning," said Smith.  

The dew should not prove a major factor, however it is forecast that as the contest progresses the pitch might offer increasing turn.

The match that is most likely to decide who tops Group B is a tough one to call, even though India has the advantage of playing at home.

For India to win, they will hope Virender Sehwag fires, while South Africa will be looking to open with Robin Peterson and hope that he can have as much success as the other left-arm spinners have had against India.

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