While the Proteas trained in the nets at the Colts Cricket Ground, the Indians played football and indulged in some cooling down sessions at the Premadasa Stadium after Sunday’s high voltage game against Pakistan.
Team India will not only have to deal with a South African team desperate to win today, but may also have to think about their former coach Gary Kirsten’s inputs for his home country. Kirsten coached India to the World Cup win in 2011.
However, the Proteas coach didn’t read too much into the familiarity aspect. “There is enough information available on every player to be analysed at length. There is the Internet, there are recordings of matches available. I don’t think we (Kirsten and mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton) have anything unique to offer. Our focus should be to play well. After all, it is the players who will execute plans,” said Kirsten.
The former India coach was delighted for Virat Kohli, who, has been the cornerstone of India’s recent victories on several occasions. “I am very pleased for Virat. He has worked a lot on his game and is a stand-out batsman in world cricket today. He is one of those cricketers with the X-factor, one who just doesn’t want to get out. You can call him a great batsman now,” said Kirsten.
Though India’s campaign is back on track with a huge win over arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday, Dhoni’s men can hardly relax. The fight for the second semi-final slot from Group Two is intriguingly poised as both India and Pakistan have a fair chance of making the cut.
In case Pakistan (net run-rate -0.426), who are a shade better than India (-0.452) in terms of net run-rate, happen to win against Australia, Dhoni’s men will then have to win comprehensively against the South Africans in order to make it to the last four. If Australia maintain a clean slate in the Super Eights by beating Pakistan, the equation will be a lot easier for India as a win will be good enough.