Come Sunday, the 22nd of February, Dhoni & Co. would be put to the real test. We’ll get to know if India’s first win on Australian soil (last week against Pak) in three months was really the beginning of something spectacular. Before going to the battle on 22nd, let’s revisit the previous three instances when India and South Africa met in World Cups.
Clash #1: Benson and Hedges World Cup 1992
The match, held at Adelaide Oval was reduced to 30 overs a side due to rain. After putting India to bat, South African bowlers restricted India to 180 for 6, with “White Lightning” Alan Donald striking twice, in 6 overs. Donald dismissed Kris Srikkanth for a duck. It marked the end of Kris Srikkanth’s illustrious World Cup and ODI career (His “seedan” Virender Sehwag would go on to play three World Cups for India). South Africa chased down the target with 5 balls to spare.
India exited in Round 1 while SA would go on till the Semi Finals, when Duckworth and Lewis decided to give them a target of 22 runs to win in 1 ball
Clash #2: ICC World Cup 1999
This match marked the debut of Stalwarts like Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, among others in World Cups. After Azhar decided to bat first, Dada-Dravid partnership of 130 (Dada – 97 run out Rhodes, Dravid – 54 b Klusener) helped India put up a decent total of 253 in 50 overs. Kallis’ Man of the Match winning 96 and Rhodes’ quick 39 off 31 helped South Africa effect a second consecutive win against India in World Cups.
India exited in the Super 6s while SA would go on till semi finals yet again, to choke against the Aussies. That match, in many ways, was the beginning of the rise of Australian cricket. Australian cricket never turned back, for the next 8 years. They would go on to rule the next decade.
Clash #3: ICC World Cup 2011
267 for 1 to 296 all out. Indian middle order never looked so pathetic before or after this match. At one point, it looked like India would reach 350 (at least), before Morkel triggered a collapse in the 40th over with Sachin’s wicket. Dale Steyn ran through India’s middle and lower middle order, picking up 5 wickets. Sachin scored his 99th International Hundred in this match (the 100th hundred would elude him and his fans for a long long time).
A combined batting effort helped South Africa reach the target with two balls to spare. Ashish Nehra was back to form, conceding just 65 runs in 8.4 overs.
Clash #4: Mauka pe Chakka?
South Africa has never looked this world beating coming into a World Cup. Steyn is preserved and fresh. Hashim Amla is scoring centuries for fun. AB de Villiers is in red hot form. They have a bunch of other kids (faf du Plessis, Morkel, among others) who are equally motivated and prepared.
India, on the other hand, has had a patchy 3 months down under. The win against Pakistan will by no means make India complacent. Dhoni will know that South Africa is the real test. If they can beat this South African team , early on in the tournament, it will be a huge morale boost for the men in blue.
Steyn vs Kohli, Ashwin vs AB de, Indian Pacers vs Mighty Hash, lot of battles to look forward to. Can’t wait for the clock to tick 9 am, on 22nd.
Oh, and if you are not regular on social media and haven’t caught hold of the ambushes to Star Sports’ “Mauka Mauka” ad, you MUST see these videos.
Star Sports’ initial video on Ind vs Pak.
Star Sports’ “Mauka Mauka” video on Ind vs SA