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HomeCricBlogCWC 2019 - India v South Africa: 5 key talking points

CWC 2019 – India v South Africa: 5 key talking points



Last Updated on 5 years by Charbel Coorey

India v South Africa: 5 key talking points. IND vs SA: 5 key talking points from their CWC 2019 clash.

Muddled thinking. Batting struggles. Fielding embarrassments. Injuries.

The Proteas came into the tournament relaxed. Their non-favouritism as such was meant to propel them to new levels. Instead, it has been the week from hell. Their third straight defeat to kick off their 2019 campaign is now their worst ever start to a World Cup.

For India, the late party-comers have made an impact. It was the previously quiet South Africa that had to sing loudest, but instead they dropped the mic (and in the case of David Miller, a dolly) and India took centre stage. They were clinical with the ball and efficient with the bat – the perfect start after being one of the most most high-profile spectators in World Cup history.

Five talking points have emerged from this game, which could be considered the one that drove the fatal nail in South Africa’s coffin. Also, South Africa fans, I’m sorry. You can find out why a little later.

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1. Faf du Plessis’ muddled thinking

The good news: South Africa have enjoyed victories at this World Cup.

The bad news: It’s only been the toss.

Faf du Plessis won the toss for the third straight match. This time, he chose to bat first after two failed efforts bowling first at The Oval. He had had enough.

However, there is an element of muddled thinking to this. Choosing to bat first in very overcast conditions against Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar was always a risk. As such, it proved to be the case as South Africa were playing the survival game against quality bowling.

Now, the argument might have been that the injury-affected bowling attack needed a big total to defend. While that’s fair, South Africa’s decision to bowl first in fine batting conditions at The Oval – particularly against Bangladesh – showed muddled thinking. Here, it just seemed that bowling first wouldn’t work in South Africa’s minds, and worse, Faf might have not believed his attack was strong enough to take advantage of early assistance. Unfortunately, South Africa’s inability to convert starts came to the fore yet again, which was coupled with a costly drop by Faf early in India’s innings and an embarrassing drop late on by David Miller.

India v South Africa: 5 key talking points. IND vs SA: 5 key talking points from their CWC 2019 clash. Cricket World Cup 2019
Image: Getty Images. India v South Africa: 5 key talking points: Faf has had a tough tournament so far as captain.

2. Jasprit Bumrah is the world’s best bowler

“Jasprit Bumrah, one of the great finds of the modern game.”

An excited Mark Nicholas before the start of play represented every Indian fan, as well as fans of terrific fast bowling (unless you’re a Proteas fan). Bumrah began his campaign on a high note, putting on an exhibition in opening overs, making fine players in Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla look ordinary. Teams at this World Cup will often look for a fast start in the powerplay, but here, South Africa were paralysed. They couldn’t score quickly. But, it was not as if they had a choice. It was pure survival.

Bumrah was on the money just about every ball in his opening spell that read 5-0-13-2. The tone was set. South Africa fell into a further state of panic that they eventually couldn’t recover from. The Proteas tried their best, but often when the bat came down, the ball was either past the edge or flying off it to the slip cordon. A sharp Bumrah and Indian slip cordon represents trouble, and South Africa were well and truly in detention.

India v South Africa: 5 key talking points. IND vs SA: 5 key talking points from their CWC 2019 clash. Cricket World Cup 2019
Image credit: AP. India v South Africa: 5 key talking points – Jasprit Bumrah was outstanding.

3. Rohit Sharma starts with a bang

Good players make the opposition pay for their mistakes. That is what Rohit Sharma did on his way to an unbeaten century.

Kagiso Rabada in particular had Rohit in some trouble early. Skipper Faf du Plessis dropped a crucial catch in the 10th ball of the innings. Rohit found himself in a might tangle against a short ball. However, du Plessis was late to move forward and fluffed the chance.

The Indian opener then knuckled down and ground South Africa down in conditions that called for that style of batting. His time at the crease is great news for he and India who have a number of challenging matches coming up in a short space of time.

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4. Kagiso Rabada and the all-rounders were outstanding, but the South African wristspinners disappoint

Dale Steyn was ruled out of the tournament and Lungi Ngidi is nursing a hamstring injury. Faf du Plessis had one genuine strike bowler standing. That man, Kagiso Rabada, had two underwhelming outings to begin the 2019 World Cup. It was a precarious situation (along with various other precarious situations for South Africa so far), but KG stepped up.

Pace, bounce and the India batsmen hopping. That was the theme of the opening overs of India’s chase, where South Africa could have made more inroads had Faf du Plessis taken a crucial catch off Rohit in the second over. Then, as all terrific bowlers, Rabada didn’t let up, finishing with 2/39 in 10 overs. It was an outstanding effort by KG, who was clearly up for this clash given what he said about Virat Kohli. He marked this game with a big red pen, and then made a mark on the field.

However, the South African wristspinners were disappointing. They were unable to back up the efforts of Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris effectively enough. Outplayed comprehensively by the two Indian wristspinners, Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi were milked around, with the odd boundary adding insult to injury. A combined 0/102 off 19 overs was not the order of the day for South Africa, who were tasked with defending an opposition army with, not swords, but toothpicks.

India v South Africa: 5 key talking points. IND vs SA: 5 key talking points from their CWC 2019 clash. Cricket World Cup 2019
India v South Africa: 5 key talking points – Kagiso Rabada deserved more.

5. How good is Yuzvendra Chahal?

Yuzvendra Chahal. The man who:

  • Often carries the RCB attack in IPL Cricket.
  • Has often played second-fiddle to Kuldeep Yadav – either when playing in the team or having to watch on from the sidelines.
  • Rarely ever lets Virat Kohli and India down.

This was an exhibition in wristspin from Chahal. The turn he extracted either way had South Africa’s entire being in a spin, but more, it was the drift. The best drift. Forget race-cars drifting on motorsport tracks. This was it. Chahal bamboozled the South Africans with his revolutions, and was unlucky not to get man of the match.

But, the big question is – will India play him over Kuldeep Yadav if conditions require an extra seamer to play? One thing is for sure, though, and that is India’s wristspinners will play a key role in their World Cup aspirations.

The proof in the pudding? How much they outplayed South Africa’s.

And…. my apology to South Africa fans

Yours truly was the jinx master during South Africa’s innings. Twice I jinxed the South African batsmen, which gave India a crucial edge in the match. South Africa fans, I’m sorry.

The first:

Rassie van der Dussen was dismissed a few balls later to an awful attempted reverse sweep. Then Faf a few balls after that to a beauty from Chahal.

The second:

Andile Phehlukwayo was stumped by an absolute mile just a few balls later.

It led to calls for me not to tweet.

So, South Africa will now need to win all their remaining six matches to have a realistic shot at making the Semi Finals. The silver lining is that they have played two of the World Cup favourites already. However, even with Lungi Ngidi to come back, it looks a long shot, particularly with Australia, West Indies, Pakistan and New Zealand all very difficult games.

This was just the start India were after. A strong bowling performance was followed by runs for one of their openers who wasn’t in the best of form before this match. They are off and running.

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Thanks for reading!

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Coorey
Charbel is the owner & founder of, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at

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