India vs South Africa preview, World Cup 2019: Team news, possible XI, where to watch, The first match in a tournament of such vast magnitude is always important and South Africa’s confidence will be at its lowest following back-to-back defeats.
Coloured kits. White balls. Introduction of floodlights. ICC brought in wholesale changes to the fifth edition of the World Cup – which in a way was a much-needed transformation to ODI cricket. It was their first big event after their readmission to cricket. But South Africa punched above their weight in the tournament. India and South Africa locked horns in the final game of the round-robin format with the former entering the contest with nothing much at stake as they were already knocked out of the World Cup. So, in a dead-rubber game, the weather gods decided to intervene and the match was reduced to 30-overs a side. South Africa captain Kepler Wessels called it right at the toss and put India in to bat.
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Krishnamachari Srikkanth’s forgettable tournament came to an end when he was dismissed for a 5-ball duck by Allan Donald. But Sanjay Manjrekar, skipper Mohammed Azharuddin and Kapil Dev made their presence felt by chipping in with useful knocks to pilot India to 180 for 6. In reply, South Africa made a mockery of the target and shut the door for the Indians very early. Andrew Hudson and Peter Kirsten struck a 128-run opening stand to set the base as the Proteas clinically chased the target with 5 balls to spare and ended the misery for India.
15th May 1999: Kallis shines bright; steers South Africa home
After seven years, India and South Africa met again in the World Cup at Brighton which saw the introduction of the super six format. On this occasion, Mohammed Azharuddin won the toss and opted to bat in pristine batting conditions. Sourav Ganguly dominated the South African bowling attack as he announced his arrival on the big stage by forging an alliance with Rahul Dravid. The duo put on a 130-run stand for the second wicket but Ganguly missed out on a well-deserved hundred falling just three short of the milestone. India eventually finished with a healthy total of 254 for five. The momentum ‘the men in blue’ took with them into the dressing room at the break was accentuated manifold with the ball in hand.
The Proteas lost both their openers very early in their pursuit of 255 giving India the advantage. With odds stacked heavily against South Africa, Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher put their hands up to rescue the sinking ship. The former sullied India’s plans and kept the chase on track with his sensible batting. India’s bowlers kept pegging back their opposition but whenever they managed to find a breakthrough, South Africa’s middle-order made vital contributions. Ironically, akin to Ganguly’s dismissal, a rush of adrenaline saw Kallis running himself out in the nineties with his team needing 27 runs from 26 balls. South Africa’s hopes were hinging on the experienced Jonty Rhodes and all-rounder Lance Klusener and they did deliver in some style, taking the Proteas home with 2.4 overs to spare.