Team India will be opening their World Cup 2019 campaign against South Africa on June 5 in Manchester with the hopes of bettering their record against the Proteas, who have already lost their first two games in this edition against England and Bangladesh.
South Africa are miles ahead of India in head-to-head World Cup encounters with three wins and one loss out of four games played between these two teams in the past.
India’s only victory against South Africa came in the last World Cup 2015 when MS Dhoni’s team defeated AB de Villiers’s side by a massive margin of 130 runs in the league stage of the tournament in Melbourne. South Africa won in 1992, 1999 and 2011.
But Team India should not be bothered about the head-to-head record as they have been the team to beat in 50-over ICC tournaments in this decade.
Out of the 27 matches that India have played in the last two World Cups (2011 & 2015) and the Champions Trophy (2013 & 2017) combined, they have won 22 matches and lost just four games. South Africa on the other hand, have lost 9 out of the 22 matches they have played in this time period.
Since the 2011 World Cup, India and South Africa have played against each other on 5 occasions (2012 World T20, 2013 Champions Trophy, 2014 World T20, 2015 World Cup, 2017 Champions Trophy) in ICC tournaments with India emerging victorious in all the games.
What has also worked in India’s favor in this decade is the emergence of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan in the batting department.
India’s top-three batsmen have enviable records in ICC tournaments with Dhawan being the leading run-scorer for the team since the 2011 World Cup with 1113 runs in 18 innings at an average of 65.47, including 5 hundred.
Rohit Sharma is next on the list with 811 runs in 18 innings at 50.68 followed by Virat Kohli with 739 runs at 67.18.
The last four years have been particularly fruitful for Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Since the last World Cup in 2015, no other batsman has scored more runs in one-day international cricket than Kohli.
The Indian captain has amassed 4306 runs in 69 innings at an average of 78.29 with 19 hundred since the 2015 World Cup. Rohit is a close second with 3790 runs in 71 innings at 61.12 with 15 centuries to his name. Dhawan is 9th on this list with 2848 runs in 67 innings at 45.20 with 8 hundred.
Dale Steyn getting ruled out of the World Cup 2019 without having played a game due to a shoulder injury has made matters worse for South Africa. The Proteas will also be missing the services of Lungi Ngidi in the match against India as he is still recovering from a hamstring problem.
There’s a lot of injuries. Zero from two. Naturally, guys will have a little bit of confidence that’s been chucked away and that is normal, that is part of being human. But it’s just making sure that we keep strong, keep fighting and stay true to ourselves as a team and culture, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis told reporters on Tuesday.
India captain Virat Kohli on the other hand sounded really confident of his team’s chances and said that the side which handles the pressure better will emerge victorious.
“The first week has been gradual progress. A couple of lopsided games, a couple of one-sided games. There is a lot to learn about composure. The teams that are more composed have better chances of winning games, have better chances of handling pressure.
“We need to bring our experience into play to make better decisions tomorrow (Wednesday). The team that can handle pressure better will win the tournament,” Virat Kohli said on the eve of the big clash.