India will look to beat South Africa comprehensively to ensure their passage to the World Twenty20 semi-finals but will have one eye on Tuesday’s earlier game between Australia and Pakistan in Colombo.
Unless they lose by a whopping margin, Australia will secure a place in the semis even if Pakistan go down by a huge margin, India will be able to scrape through even with a close defeat to South Africa.
Because they will be playing second on the day, India will also have a clear idea of what they need to do to make the final four.
But, despite the good fortune with the draw, the Indian team will know it has to play much better than it has in the last four games to earn a place in the semis.
Despite winning three games and losing just one, India have not managed to find peak form with the victories coming mainly due to the oppositions’ failures.
Both England and Pakistan imploded against the Indian bowling while Afghanistan paid the price of inexperience, going down despite being in the chase for long periods.
The only loss was a confidence-shattering one with Australia stamping their authority with a nine-wicket win that highlighted India’s bowling frailties and shortcomings in the batting department.
India have made up for some of them by including Virender Sehwag and dismissing the three spinners strategy but a few concern still remains.
Irfan Pathan has looked below par with the ball conceding runs at 8.63 while claiming four wickets in as many games.
With South Africa comfortable against pace, India might look to bring in Harbhajan Singh in place of Pathan.
The bowling at the death also remains a worry although Zaheer Khan’s show in the games against Australia and Pakistan would have given the team some confidence.
In the batting department, Virat Kohli’s unbelievable run of form has saved India the blushes with none of the other batsmen having any kind of impact on the tournament so far.
Kohli has 183 runs from four innings at an average of 61 and Gautam Gambhir, the second highest run scorer has just 72 while Suresh Raina is third with 65 runs.
South Africa, who need an emphatic win against India and for Australia to beat Pakistan convincingly to make the semis, will know that if they can dismiss Kohli early, they have a chance to come out comfortable winners.
Apart from the possibility of Harbhajan coming in for Pathan, India is not likely to make any changes to the side unless forced by injuries.
South Africa will be looking to unleash pace on India and might bring back Albie Morkel in place of Robin Peterson to complement the pace of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.Comments: