Finally, India start their 2019 World Cup campaign on June 5 with a match against a struggling and somewhat despondent South Africa. The Proteas have already lost their first two matches and now would face the two-time World Champions without the services of Dale Styen, ruled out of the entire tournament, Lungi Ngidi, out with a hamstring injury, and possibly, even Hashim Amla who missed their last game due to a bouncer that struck him on his head against England.
When and where to watch
India's opening encounter of the 2019 World Cup begins at 10:30 AM local time, 9:30 AM GMT and 3 PM IST. The live TV coverage would be provided by Star Sports network on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports Select 1, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 2 HD and Star Sports Select 1 HD. Along with them, the match would be available in vernacular languages on Star's regional language channels. For those online, they can stream the game live on Hotstar.
India start firm favourites. The men in blue had registered their first-ever World Cup win over the Proteas in the 2015 edition of the event. They had also defeated their African opponents in the 2017 Champions Trophy. But, the presence of highly-exciting players like Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada make SA a side that can never be taken lightly.
India have a major decision to make regarding the composition of their bowling line-up. Would they go with three seamers or two spinners? The presence of Hardik Pandya provides India a very handy option for the fifth bowler. However, if the pitch looks dry, they may even be tempted to have both Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav along with Ravindra Jadeja as the all-rounder. If the skies are overcast, then Mohammad Shami may well get a go alongside Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.
The batting line-up is pretty much set for the 2011 champions. Shikhar Dhawan scored a century against South Africa in the previous World Cup, so he would like to repeat his feat. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are the two most prolific batsmen for the Indian team in this format. KL Rahul's hundred in the practice game has ensured his batting at no. 4 in the line-up while MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav are certain to follow him. The all-rounder's spot is almost certain to go to Hardik Pandya, but as stated above, dry conditions could turn the scales in favour of Jadeja.
For the South Africans, the situation is grim. Quinton de Kock looks in great form but needs to go on and get a big score. If he does so, there are other batsmen in the team that can build on a good platform. The likes of Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen and JP Duminy seem to be in fairly good nick. Their real challenge though would come in the middle overs when they deal with the Indian wrist spinners. It was the duo of Kuldeep and Chahal that caused immense trouble to Proteas in their home loss to India last year. Getting the better of the wrist spinner would be very important.
The bowling is severely depleted and looks rather fragile. Kagiso Rabada will have to lead the way with an inspiring spell. Other like Chris Morris and Andily Phehlukwayo don't look all that threatening. Imran Tahir is another very important bowler. Luckily for South Africa, he is in good form. But whether he can be a match winner against India remains to be seen.
So, India are clearly the favourites. But then again, a great knock from Quinton de Kock, who has 5 hundreds against India in ODIs already, or a brilliant spell of bowling from Rabada and Tahir could turn the advantage completely.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (C), KL Rahul, MS Dhoni (WK), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (WK), Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (C), Rassie van der Dussen, JP Duminy, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris, Dwaine Pretorious, Imran Tahir
Global TV listings
- Australia: Fox Sports
- United Kingdom: Sky Sports
- Bangladesh: GTV
- USA & Canada: Willow TV
- New Zealand: Sky Sports
- South Africa: SuperSport
- Pakistan: Ten Sports
- West Indies: ESPN Caribbean
- Sri Lanka: SLRC
- Europe (excluding UK): Yupp TV