Match Preview: South Africa v India

2015 World Cup

Venue

The MCG, Melbourne

Team news

Excitement is at fever pitch in both nations for this encounter, where India will have huge support at the ground, and both side are unbeaten coming into the vital clash.

The Proteas beat Zimbabwe in their opening fixture, thanks to brisk tons from David Miller and JP Duminy, but were not overly impressive with the ball. India, on the other hand, looked good against Pakistan, with a Virat Kohli century to boot.

South Africa will be pleased to be able to call on Dale Steyn for this game, as he caused a bit of panic when he came down with flu earlier in the week. But he was back in training by Friday, and is good to go.

Skipper AB de Villiers has ruled out an all-pace attack, so the speculation that Imran Tahir could make way for Wayne Parnell seems unfounded. It would be a shame for Tahir, who was the pick of the bowlers against Zim, if that was AB's sneaky way of calling JP Duminy a front line spinner.

India's line up is likely to remain the same, given their good efforts against Pakistan, with the pace attack needing to be very sharp against the likes of Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, who both like batting here.

Last encounter

Their most recent clash, the seventh ODI in Centurion was rained off, so the one before that counts. It saw the Proteas win by 134 runs in Durban, with Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla scoring centuries. Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who is not in Oz, took four wickets as they bowled India out for 146.

World Cup meetings

They have played each other three times over the years, and South Africa have won all of those. In 2011 they met in a group match in Nagpur, where the Proteas won by three wickets, though India had the last laugh by winning the whole tournament. Steyn took a five-fer in that game, while Amla, AB and Jacques Kallis made fifties. They did not meet in 2007.

Key players

For South Africa, all eyes will be on AB de Villiers. He is the top-ranked ODI batsman in the world, followed by Amla and Kohli, and has a strong record against these bowlers. His last five innings against India have seen his score three half tons and a century.

India will again look to Virat, who was majestic on his way to a ton against Pakistan. If the Proteas post a big score, Kohli will be key in chasing it down, he's brilliant at it, and he can set unreachable target almost on his own.

Umpires

Richard Kettleborough and Aleem Dar, Steve Davis (3rd umpire), Jeff Crowe (match referee)

Weather

Perfection. Low 30s, little cloud cover, no chance of rain, medium humidity. A glorious day, basically.

Prediction

Tricky! South Africa, by a whisker. Their pace bowlers will find the form they seemed to lack against Zimbabwe, with Dale Steyn cleaning up the Indian tail.

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