India, SA eye win to justify favourites’ tag

Familiar foes India and South Africa will clash in a World Cup Group B match on Saturday with the aim of proving their World Cup credentials as favourites.

While India have remained unbeaten in the tournament, with three wins and a tied match, the hard-earned victories against Bangladesh, Ireland and The Netherlands have done little to calm the nerves of their fans.

South Africa, on the other hand, compounded their problems by getting skittled for 165 runs, while chasing 172 for victory against England, giving their critics an opportunity of labelling them “chokers” again having never won this tournament.

The Africans slipped past India 3-2 in an ODI series preceding the World Cup but the conditions will be completely different in Nagpur.

“We obviously know each other pretty well. We played a whole summer and we got to know each other. I think both the teams know what to expect tomorrow [Saturday],” South Africa captain Graeme Smith told reporters.

South Africa also kept the decision regarding injured leg spinner Imran Tahir hanging until late on Friday.

Tahir, the most successful bowler for his team in the tournament so far, developed a fracture on his left thumb during last Sunday’s defeat against England.

“He has bowled this week, and come through fine, it’s just whether we feel the need to risk him tomorrow or not, and that we’ll decide later,” Smith said. – Reuters

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