Cricket World Cup: Holders India no match for South Africa
Both South Africa (3/1 title second-favourites with Coral) and holders India (8/1) looked convincing in their opening Group B matches of the ICC World Cup, posting unmatched 300 plus first innings totals against continental neighbours Zimbabwe and Pakistan respectively.
These cricketing titans each have terrific batting line-ups, and it seems that South Africa head coach Russell Domingo is considering dropping star spinner Imran Tahir in order to use four pace bowlers.
“The balance of the side is something we talk about quite a lot, depending on conditions and the make-up of the opposition,” he said.
“Against some sides we could play four frontline bowlers and two part-timers. The MCG seems to be a really good wicket for batting so we will assess our options.”
But leading the attack will be Dale Steyn, who will be hoping to improve on his figures of 1-64 against Zimbabwe. He is a 5/2 chance to be best South Africa bowler.
Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander will also be crucial to their side’s success against India, and are respective 3/1 and 10/3 shouts in the same market.
“We know Virat [Kohli] has been an outstanding player for India but they’ve also got Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane – they’ve got seriously good batting line-up,” Domingo continued.
“It’s not the South African style to target one player. We focus on them as a whole. We know they have some of the best players in the world. They’ve had a tough tour of Australia, but it’s not the tour of Australia that is probably at the top of their list – the World Cup is their priority.”
While Domingo is correct that India (11/8 to win) have top batsmen, their form in the recent Tri Series suggested that they are a team lacking in confidence, and they even lost twice to England, who have failed miserably so far this World Cup.
Kohli is seemingly back in form, though, after his 107 against Pakistan, and he is 11/4 to get the highest score for his nation again.
South Africa (odds-on 4/7 favourites) have a number of players in the form of their life, such as AB de Villiers, who recently smashed a century from a record low amount of deliveries in an ODI match. He is 3/1 to be best batsman again for his side.
It was David Miller (138 not out) and JP Duminy (115 not out), though, who stole the show against Zimbabwe, with the duo putting on the highest fifth-wicket partnership in ODI history (256). They are respective 13/2 and 10/1 chances to top score for South Africa.