Recommended Bet: Back South Africa to win @ 2.44 in live Betting with BlueChip
It’s true that India (well, Virat Kohli) showed huge nerves to get over the line against Pakistan and that they were ruthless against the Netherlands with both bat and ball.
But it’s also true that it wasn’t South Africa’s fault that their match against Zimbabwe was rained off when they were very much in a winning position. And they did the same sort of job on Bangladesh that India did on the Netherlands.
Yes, India have a good record against SA (13-9) and won four matches to South Africa’s three across the seven games they played against each other in 2022.
But it’s worth pointing out those seven games were in India and that there really hasn’t been much between these two sides, who look like two of the more competitive and better-balanced teams at this World Cup.
All of this means that if two sides are well-matched on paper, then it makes sense to go with the outsider in what is pretty close to a 50/50 game.
Which in this case, is South Africa.
And they’re not just marginal outsiders but 2.44 outsiders, which looks a pretty decent price indeed.
You could argue that with the absences of Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah for India, they’re not at their best with the ball, while SA have all their best bowlers available.
SA do of course have that Bavuma issue (see SA recent form) to deal with and if they do carry on playing him, it’s a negative.
But that alone won’t put us off going with SA at really attractive odds.
Sometimes after a huge win under the utmost pressure, it’s easy to get complacent and take your foot off the pedal.
But there was no such thing in India’s match against the Netherlands after that last-gasp win over Pakistan on Sunday.
There were half-centuries for Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Sky Yadav, the latter the pick of the three given he scored his 51 off just 25 balls, at a much better strike rate than the others.
It goes a long way to explaining why he was man-of-the-match given that it was the innings that really meant that there were far too many runs for the Netherlands to chase.
With the ball, they were just as ruthless as they had been with the bat.
All of Arshdeep Singh, Ravi Ashwin, Axar Patel and Bhuvi Kumar helped themselves to two wickets each in a thoroughly professional display that the other favourites to win the World Cup will have taken note of.
India weren’t particularly fancied going into the tournament but the way they held their nerve against Pakistan and were so efficient against the Netherlands suggests they’re the team to beat at the moment.
Ravi Ashwin continues to justify his selection ahead of Yuzvendra Chahal and they may just play the same XI for the third match running.
After the massive disappointment of the no-result against Zimbabwe in a match that they had pretty much won before the rain came, there was no letting up against Bangladesh.
Yes, the Tigers are a poor side but the Proteas certainly weren’t in the mood to let things get tight in that one.
Quinton de Kock carried on from where he left off against Zimbabwe (a quickfire 47 off 18) with another no-nonsense 63 to suggest he;s in pretty good form.
That’s important for SA because as an opener and a senior batsman, they’re going to need him at his best.
But the stand-out innings was of course that of Riley Rossouw.
The man who only returned to the national side after spending years in the international wilderness as a Kolpak player hit the first and so far only century of the World Cup off just 56 balls, thanks to eight sixes and seven fours.
He’s another who SA will need to fire if they want to go deep in this tournament.
With the ball, Anrich Nortje took four wickets, Tabraiz Shamsi took three and they bowled really well as a unit. So the signs are good.
But the Temba Bavuma issue carries on.
His last scores in T20Is now read: 0, 0, 3, 2 and 2.
It’s stating the obvious to say that if he wasn’t captain he would have been dropped a long time ago.
But for the time being the selectors seem to be persisting with him and are somehow hoping he’ll come good sooner or later.
Let’s see if their show of faith is justified or ends up being a massive mistake.