First Published | Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 16:58
Melbourne: Buoyed by their overwhelming victory against arch-rivals Pakistan in the opening game, India will aim to turn the tables when they meet a formidable South Africa in the cricket World Cup, here tomorrow.
While Pakistan failed to buck the trend against the defending champions for the sixth time, Mahendra Singh Dhonis men will hope that they turn fourth time lucky after losing to South Africa on three previous editions at the mega event in 1992, 1999 and 2011.
Whether it is Peter Kirsten in 92, Jacques Kallis in 99 or Kallis and AB de Villiers in 2011, India have always found a Protea batsman, who had turned out to be a thorn in the flesh for them.
In all three defeats, India have batted first and it will interesting to see what decision Dhoni will take if he wins the toss.
Although a group league match in this tournament is of little consequence but the winner of this game might just go a long way in clinching the top spot in group B, considering that the other teams are just not world beaters.
So theres a few things that will be at stake and teams have a lot to play for.
As the two teams clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), South Africa under De Villiers will certainly start as clear favourites against a young bunch of bravehearts led by Dhoni.
Player to player, South Africa seem to possess a far more formidable line-up compared to India, who are just trying to hit the right rhythm post Pakistan victory.
While South Africa were a bit patchy in their 62-run win against Zimbabwe, JP Duminy and David Millers magnificent late blitz turned the course after the minnows dominated the better part of the match.
As South African captain Graeme Smith has aptly pointed out that it will be a battle between Indias famed batsmen and South Africas world class pace attack, the inexperienced Indian bowling will also be put to Test against a quality batting line up led by their talismanic captain, who recently scored the fastest ODI century in just 32 balls.
Virat Kohlis 22nd ODI hundred, Suresh Rainas form during the business end of the innings and Shikhar Dhawan being back among runs is a boost team's confidence, they will face an entirely different test against a far superior South African bowling attack.
An attack led by worlds finest fast bowling pair in Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel is not an easy proposition on any track in the world, let alone the MCG, where one can expect even bounce.