World Cup 2019: 'Asli' WC begins today as India take on South Africa

Updated: Jun 05, 2019, 08:42 IST | Harit N Joshi

Favourites India will display their firepower at Southampton as they face deflated South Africa in their first match

World Cup 2019: 'Asli' WC begins today as India take on South Africa
Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis

It’s been a strange start to the World Cup for certain teams. While South Africa will be playing their third game in a week at the Ageas Bowl here, India will open their campaign today after adequate time to acclimatise. While Indian skipper Virat Kohli was just happy to finally hit the ground, he believed starting late in the tournament was an advantage.

“I think it [starting late] is a bit of an advantage, I have to say... in terms of understanding how the games have gone, what the conditions have to offer, what the overcast conditions bring into play when the sun is out. It’s a different ball game altogether what the conditions are at 10.30 in the morning compared to the afternoon. We have a lot to learn from — looking at the other teams play, the teams that have done well, what have they done well and in what phases. From that point of view, we would say that we have a lot of positives that we can take from starting after everyone else,” India skipper Virat Kohli said.

India's skipper Virat Kohli during a media interaction on the eve of their first World Cup 2019 match vs SA in Southampton yesterday. Pic/ AFP
India's skipper Virat Kohli during a media interaction on the eve of their first World Cup 2019 match vs SA in Southampton yesterday. Pic/ AFP

South Africa come into this match with two defeats, and the going could get tougher with injury concerns and a poor record. India have not allowed South Africa to win a match in an ICC tournament since the 2011 World Cup at Nagpur, winning all their five encounters. In other words, the last time South Africa beat India at an ICC event was when Sachin Tendulkar was playing for India. Also, India defeated South Africa in their backyard to clinch the ODI series last year.

Kohli, however, chose not to look too much into form and records. “Whether a team have played before or not, it really wouldn’t matter on the day. It depends on how the side turn out, what kind of mental set-up they have. We have to be mentally and skillfully stronger than the opposition whoever we play to win on the day, so I think our focus will be that,” said Kohli.

There are chances that India may leave out Ravindra Jadeja, who scored an impressive half century against New Zealand in the first warm-up match, from their XI today with Kedar Jadhav fit to play.

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