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India vs South Africa: ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 match preview

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Who: India vs South Africa

When: Sunday, November 5, 2pm (08:30 GMT)

Where: Eden Gardens, Kolkata

South Africa captain Temba Bavuma bristled at the mention of the chokers tag before Sunday’s meeting with India in Kolkata.

The Proteas have lost in 10 semifinals at International Cricket Council (ICC) global events.

It’s a record that has hung over the nation’s cricket team since their 1999 Cricket World Cup semifinal exit to Australia when victory was in their grasp.

“If we come unstuck [against India], I don’t think it’ll be a matter of choking,” Bavuma said in the pre-match news conference.

“I doubt you would say that about India as well, that they choked, if they come unstuck.”

Both sides have already qualified for the semifinals; India have stormed to seven wins from seven so far, while South Africa have only lost once – a surprise defeat to the Netherlands.

“You’ve got two teams who are in form, coming up against each other and it’s just a matter of who breaks first and who’s able to exploit that moment of weakness or that weakness,” Bavuma continued.

“We understand there will be pressure moments within the World Cup, moments that we’ve overcome to get to this point, and there still will be more. We’ll deal with them as best as we can.”

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The skipper has only managed 111 runs in the five matches he’s played so far.

That’s in stark contrast to his opening partner Quinton de Kock, who has amassed 545 runs in his seven games.

Bavuma has always had a question mark over his strike rate in limited over cricket but the focus is being sharpened by the lack of runs.

The 33-year-old did return to the side from illness for the last match with a start that eclipsed even de Kock with 24 runs from 28 balls in a brisk start against New Zealand.

“I just need to keep sticking to my processes, keep preparing as well as I can and if I’m doing that, hopefully the result will take care of itself,” he added.

“There’s still a lot of cricket to go and I believe I’ll have a part to play somewhere within the tournament.”

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Meanwhile, India’s coach Rahul Dravid insisted Virat Kohli is “really focused” on winning the World Cup rather than any looming personal and professional landmarks.

Kohli almost equalled Sachin Tendulkar’s all-time record of 49 one-day international hundreds while making 88 against Sri Lanka.

“I think Virat’s been really relaxed and as you can see in his performances, batting really well for us,” Dravid told a pre-match press conference on Saturday.

“I haven’t noticed anything different. He’s always been the same. He’s always been professional, always been hard-working, always been switched on.”

Dravid was cautious when it was suggested that this match could be a dress rehearsal for the November 19 final in Ahmedabad.

“What happens from here on in, is still two or three games to go,” he said.

“Both the teams, whether it’s us or whether it’s South Africa, we still need to earn the right to be there in Ahmedabad.”

India team news:

The headline news for India is the absence for the remainder of the tournament of Hardik Pandya.

The vice-captain will not recover in time from the ankle injury he sustained, trying to stop a ball off his own bowling, against Bangladesh.

Mohammed Shami will keep his place in the side having claimed 14 wickets since replacing Pandya.

With his confirmed departure from the tournament, Prasidh Krishna has been called up to squad as cover.

South Africa team news:

The South Africans have no injury concerns following their victory against New Zealand.

Spinner Tabraiz Shamsi lost his place against the Kiwis due to the return from injury of Kagiso Rabada.

It has been a seam-friendly surface in Kolkata so far so it’s unlikely the Proteas will recall the spinner barring any late injury concern.

South Africa have a somewhat surprisingly strong one-day international record against India.

Of the 90 meetings, the Proteas have won 50 with India winning 37 and three no results.

Of the last 10 meetings, it’s 5-5 with India winning the last two but South Africa winning the four meetings before that.

Their last meeting at a World Cup was in England in 2019 where India won by six wickets at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

It is the first time they have stepped onto a field together since India won by seven wickets in New Delhi in October 2022.

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