There will be so much at stake when India face South Africa in the last Super Eights encounter on Tuesday. Even if India win, there is no guarantee that they will go through. In case, Pakistan beat Australia and India defeat South Africa, the Proteas would automatically get knocked out, and the teams with better run rate among Pakistan, Australia and India will go through. In the event that South Africa beat India and Pakistan lose to Australia, it will again be a three way tie, this time between South Africa, India and Pakistan. Again, the team with superior run rate will progressto the semi-finals, joining Australia.
A third scenario also arises, wherein India lose to South Africa and Pakistan beat Australia. In this case, both Pakistan and Australia will go ahead based on points. While South Africa will have to hope Pakistan lose to Australia to keep them in the hunt, India are in a better position, knowing exactly what they need, even if they are winning or losing. Both India and South Africa would do well to concentrate on keep things simple, and playing to the best of their ability. Over-complicating stats will only put unnecessary burden on their shoulders.
Team India analysis
M S Dhoni’s men pitched in a perfect performance against Pakistan on the big Sunday to keep their hopes. That however doesn’t guarantee that the Indians will come up with a similarly rollicking effort against the South Africans. Remember, this was the same side that was battered into submission by Australia only a few days back. Hence, India would do well to start from scratch and not believe thattheyhold the upper hand against a struggling South African outfit. For one, they got the combination right against Pakistan and there is no scope for experiment.
Virender Sehwag did not do anything sensational on comeback, even though he had the perfect opportunity to do so. Still, he batted well enough to prove that he can deliver if he gets his attitude right. Hopefully for India, the opener will perform to potential against the Proteas. It wouldn’t be easy since Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel will come charging in to try and dislodge him. But this is Sehwag’s chance to prove his worth. One area where India might struggle is if they lose Virat Kohli early. Not all of India’s batsmen have been delivering, an area South Africa would be keen to exploit.
Team South Africa analysis
In case Pakistan get the better of Australia, the game against India would become redundant for them. Still, while hoping for the best, they must go in with a positive frame of mind, irrespective of the end result. Whether South Africa progress to the semis or not is another matter, they must at least prove that they aren’t as poor as their performances against Pakistan and Australia. While they did put up a fight against Mohammad Hafeez’s men, Umar Gul’s blinder seemed to have taken the sting off their tail, much like Inzamam Ul Haq did to New Zealand during the 1992 World Cup. Against the Aussies, they just did not turn up.
South Africa’s aim against India should be to go all out, and leave nothing to imagination. Their fate in this tournament isn’t in their hands any longer, but their scale of performance is.
--By A Cricket Analyst