Team India would like to carry forward the form they showed in the tournament’s warm-up meets as they lock horns with South Africa in the Champions Trophy opener in Cardiff on Thursday.
India could not have had a well warm-up than the two fine wins, against Sri Lanka and Australia, in the run-up to the occasion. It definitely would have raised their confidence, more so the way Dinesh Karthik recorded tons in both the meets and the form presented by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. India would also look to put behind them the fresh spot-fixing scandal surrounding the IPL.
India have a respectable record against South Africa in the Champions Trophy, they lead 2-0 in head-to-head taking sucess by 95 runs at Nairobi’s Gymkhana ground on October 13, 2000 and by 10 runs at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium on September 25, 2002.
India go in to the competition with an eye to the 2015 World Cup. A new and comparatively inexperienced team has been nominated, players like Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Umesh Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be visiting England for the first time and will have a point to show.
The last time India played South Africa there were Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Yusuf Pathan and Yuvraj Singh. The bowling line-up consisted of Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel and Harbhajan Singh. No one of those players are in the team for Champions Trophy.
On Other Hand, South Africa arrives with a lot of status to defend. They are the world’s No. 1 Test team but their ODI wealth have been prickly and it exposed through the one-off warm-up match they played against Pakistan on Monday.
South Africa are also missing several of their fabled players , with Graeme Smith hurt and Jacques Kallis skipping the contest for individual reasons. Their followers could have felt pleased watching at the familiar bowling line-up, but Dale Steyn’s side strain means he might miss the opening Match.
India: (probable) 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Dinesh Karthik, 5 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 6 Suresh Raina, 7 Ravindra Jadeja/ Irfan Pathan, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Umesh Yadav
South Africa: (probable) 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Alviro Petersen, 3 Colin Ingram, 4 AB de Villiers (capt & wk), 5 Faf du Plessis, 6 JP Duminy, 7 Ryan McLaren, 8 Robin Peterson, 9 Rory Kleinveldt, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe