World Cup favourites India take on in-form South Africa at 08:30 on Sunday and a cracking contest is in prospect at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Tournament hosts India look formidable after racking up seven straight wins, including a 302-run drubbing of Sri Lanka last time out, but South Africa have won six out of seven thanks to some scintillating batting performances.
India’s perfect start to their World Cup campaign has included impressive victories over Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand and England and they are 8/15 to make it eight wins out of eight against 6/4 shots South Africa.
Quinton de Kock, who has scored four centuries in seven innings for the Proteas, is 3/1 to be the South Africa Top Run Scorer.
India are 8/11 to have the Highest Opening Partnership but South Africa’s first seven opponents at this tournament have mustered opening stands of one, 27, 22, 18, 30, 20 and eight.
India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of the World Cup due to an ankle injury and seamer Prasidh Krishna is set to replace him in the squad.
South Africa could stick with the team who thrashed New Zealand by 190 runs on Wednesday. Captain and opener Temba Bavuma is under pressure after scoring only 111 runs in five innings and Reeza Hendricks is a classy alternative at the top of the order.
Kuldeep Yadav India Top Wicket Taker @ 10/3
India’s fast bowlers have been sensational recently, with Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj producing some high-quality spells with the new ball and Mohammed Shami claiming 14 wickets in just three appearances against New Zealand, England and Sri Lanka.
However, it may be worth supporting ace left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav in the India Top Wicket Taker market at Eden Gardens, where he spent seven years as a Kolkata Knight Riders player in the IPL.
Kuldeep’s local knowledge has paid off in his two ODIs at the Kolkata venue as he took 3-54 against Australia there in 2017 and 3-51 against Sri Lanka in January this year.
South Africa’s middle-order batsmen have had great success against spin at this tournament but going after Kuldeep, who has picked up ten wickets in India’s first seven World Cup matches, could be a risky exercise in Kolkata.
South Africa Most Match Sixes @ 20/21
India captain Rohit Sharma, who scored an ODI record 264 against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens in 2014, has hit 20 sixes in seven innings at this tournament but his side could be overpowered in that department by an in-form South Africa unit.
Leading runscorer De Kock has cleared the ropes 18 times at the World Cup while Heinrich Klaasen (17) and David Miller (14) have been producing fireworks in the middle order for South Africa.
All-rounder Marco Jansen has struck nine sixes despite facing only 111 deliveries at number seven and South Africa, who average 11.7 maximums per game, are worth backing to hit the Most Match Sixes on Sunday.
Other than Rohit, Shreyas Iyer is the only India batsman to hit more than six sixes at this World Cup and six of his nine came against a lacklustre Sri Lanka bowling attack this week.
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