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Struggling Proteas have history on their side

Updated June 05, 2019

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SOUTHAMPTON: South African captain Faf du Plessis (C) goes airborne to take a catch during a training session at the Rose Bowl on Tuesday.—AFP
SOUTHAMPTON: South African captain Faf du Plessis (C) goes airborne to take a catch during a training session at the Rose Bowl on Tuesday.—AFP

KARACHI: South Africa are clearly down on confidence in the 2019 World Cup after two straight defeats upfront, but their impressive track record against India surely offer them a semblance of hope for the upcoming encounter.

In the past four World Cup games, South Africa carry a 3-1 advantage over India. In their first mega event fixture against Mohammad Azharuddin-led Indians way back in March 1992, the South Africans had a classy outfit that took them to the semi-finals.

In the rain-marred clash at the Adelaide Oval which was curtailed to 30 overs per side, India collected a decent 180-6 on the back of Azharuddin’s wristy innings of 79 from 77 balls which was terminated in the last over of the innings by paceman Meyrick Pringle.

South Africa’s six-wicket win was set up by a brilliant opening partnership of 128 between Peter Kirsten, who was adjudged man-of-the-match for his 86-ball contribution of 84, and Andrew Hudson (53).

The second India-South Africa World Cup took place during the 1999 competition at Hove. India rode on a second-wicket stand of 130 involving Saurav Ganguly, unluckily run out for 97 from 142 deliveries and Rahul Dravid (54) to post a healthy 253-5 in 50 overs.

Jacques Kallis then produced a knock of real substance until he too got run out for a 128-ball 96 with 27 runs still required for victory. The all-rounder, who had delivered a decent 10-over spell of 0-43, was the undisputed man-of-the-match.

South Africa made it a hat-trick of wins when they handed the eventual 2011 champions a three-wicket defeat in Nagpur. India fell back badly from a rollicking first-wicket partnership of 142 in less than 18 overs, and despite being 267-2 in the 40th over, the co-hosts managed a disappointing 296 all out in the 49th over.

That total was built around Sachin Tendulkar‘s splendid 111 off 101 balls. The maestro and Virender Sehwag (73 off 66 balls) dominated early play before Gautam Gambhir (69 off 75) added 125 with Tendulkar.

Dale Steyn led South Africa’s comeback with man-of-the-match effort of 5-50. Hashim Amla (61), Kallis (69 and the feisty A.B. de Villiers (52 off 39) then masterminded the chase that was completed with two balls to spare.

India finally hit the straps against the Proteas during the 2015 World Cup in Melbourne where opener Shikhar Dhawan was the architect of a crushing 130-run triumph. The man-of-the-match’s 146-ball innings of 137 guided them to 307-7 with Virat Kohli (46) and Ajinkya Rahane (79) lending excellent support in successive century stands.

South Africa’s reply was feeble as they capitulated inside 41 overs for only 177 with the wickets shared around by pace-cum-spin attack.

Head-to-head summary

March 15, 1992 — Adelaide, South Africa won by six wickets

May 15, 1999 — Hove, South Africa won by four wickets

March 12, 2011 — Nagpur, South Africa won by three wickets

Feb 22, 2015 — Melbourne, India won by 130 runs.

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2019