South Africa appear very close to breaking their jinx of choking in the knockout stage, specially in the semifinals. Overall, out of 10 semifinals they have won only one in ICC events. That only one is the silver lining for them. In 1998 it was in Bangladesh, when they won their only semifinal till date and their only ICC Trophy too. On the other hand, India has a mixed performance in the tournaments at Bangladesh. But, Dhoni has never lost a semifinal. Doesn’t that say enough?
It does say that India will win, and South Africa will choke. The reasons may be easy to support that. India has 5 wins against South Africa in T20s and lost only 2. South Africa choke on own in the knockouts. Even looking at the 4 matches at group stage, India appears to be the best side, while South Africa just somehow managed to enter the semifinals. Overall, its match India.
India 3, South Africa 1 in WC
- 2007: Def South Africa by 37 runs.
2009: Lost to South Africa by 12 runs.
2010: Def South Africa by 14 runs.
2012: Def South Africa by 1 run
But, if it is so predictable then why will it be called T20, and a Cricket match!! So, let us have the team and player analysis.
T20 World Cup Record
Both have won 17 World Cup matches and lost 8. In fact, twice (2007 and 2009) South Africa lost only one and won 4 and 5 respectively. At present, India has won all the four matches. They will try their best to avoid South African fate. Both have entered the semifinal also twice. Before current World Cup, India reached the semifinal in 2007 when they went on to win, while South Africa lost the semifinal in 2009.
- India won against West Indies, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Australia.
South Africa won against New Zealand, England and Netherlands, but lost to Sri Lanka.
Amit Mishra and Imran Tahir, both lucky to be in their teams, are ruling the roost of highest wickettakers of the tournament. Indian bowling has been the most lethal in the tournament. Yet, bowling in conditions dominated by dew it is the South Africans who have grabbed commendable number of wickets too. Still, in the bowling department Indian bowlers, specially the trio of Bhuvneswar Kumar, Ashwin and Amit Mishra hold huge edge over the likes of Imran Tahir, Duminy and Steyn.
But when it comes to fielding and saving runs, South African are certainly ahead of India, who are not that bad anymore. Yet, South Africans can save much more runs than any other teams. That is a huge plus as the Indian batsmen like to rotate strike initially and on failing to do so, throw wickets trying to deal in boundaries.
In Batting, one can say Indian batting is yet to be tested. Against Australia they had a good practice, yet it was only Yuvraj who could score good, and even if he was as patchy as Gayle has been through out the tournament. In Indian team, except Virat Kohli and to some extent Dhoni none can be expected to score fast and good. It will be a big test for Rohit Sharma, Rahane/Dhawan and Yuvraj to prove their position in the team.
South African batting on the other hand has been tried four times and thrice they emerged victorious and even in the loss their batsmen did score 160 runs. de Kock is yet to deliver, but Amla can relish on Indian bowling. AB de Villiers, du Plessis and Duminy certainly know the Indian bowling much better. Overall that makes for a challenging duel.
The semifinal appears to be more of a contest between the batsmen. In that contest, chances of South Africans batsmen appear better. India cannot be ruled out considering their current 4-win form in the tournament where they have won very convincingly.
India on the other hand would look forward to complete the triangle of winning in three ICC events, World Cup, Champions Trophy and then T20 World Cup. If that happens it will be another feather in the already overloaded cap of Dhoni, India’s most successful captain.
Still the X factor in the current squad gives them the edge to register the impossible win against India. In fact they appear all set to lift the trophy, as their juniors have already won the ICC U19 2014 World Cup.