India have been in cruise control in the four games that they have played in the ICC World T20 2014 © Getty Images


By Nishad Pai Vaidya


Mirpur: Apr 3, 2014


India and South Africa clash in the second semi-final of the ICC World T20 2014 at the Sher-E-Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur. Both teams come into this game with some confidence as South Africa have won their last three games, whereas India are unbeaten. This is now the business end of the tournament and as Ravichandran Ashwin said at the pre-match press conference, “We know what to expect from the ground; the pitch and all. But, when it comes down to the semi-finals, I think it is anybody’s game.”


The wicket is slow and again there is emphasis on spin going into this contest. India will continue to back their strategy of playing Ashwin and Amit Mishra, along with the all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. However, skipper Faf du Plessis is keeping his cards close to his chest and while Imran Tahir is a certainty in the eleven, Aaron Phangiso may only come in once they assess the conditions on Friday.


India may make a couple of changes to their side. Shikhar Dhawan may come back to open the batting with Rohit Sharma, with Ajinkya Rahane being left out. Even Mohammed Shami may replace Mohit Sharma, although he had a good game against Australia. The good news for India is that Yuvraj Singh is fit and has trained on Thursday. He has roared back to form and India need him in these crunch encounters. The rest of the batting and bowling line-up would remain the same.


With du Plessis in the side, Farhaan Behardien will miss out. In this line-up, there are two key men who can set the tone for the Proteas. JP Duminy has been in good form and he is someone who can hold the innings together. AB de Villiers is their trump card and they will use him as a floater in the line-up. Du Plessis noted that they will look at the situation of the game and then decide when to send in de Villiers as he is their game-changer.


At the top, there is the calm head of Hashim Amla and the youthful exuberance of Quinton de Kock. This South African bowling will depend on Tahir to give them breakthroughs. However, Dale Steyn is someone who can’t be written off on any surface. He could cause the Indians some serious problems.


South Africa have some historical questions, the usual ones before a knockout. There are two pertinent facts to be noted here. In 1998, they won their only world event here in Dhaka, that was at the Bangabandhu National Stadium. That should inspire them, but du Plessis believes in keeping a fresh mindset. At the same time, this South African side loft the 2011 World Cup quarter-final at the Sher-E-Bangla National Stadium. Du Plessis was a central figure there. Can they shed that tag this time?




India: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Varun Aaron, Stuart Binny, Ajinkya Rahane.


South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Albie Morkel, Farhaan Behardien, Imran Tahir, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Wayne Parnell, Morne Morkel, Beuran Hendricks, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, David Miller.


Time: 18:30 IST | 13:00 GMT


ICC World T20 2014 schedule: Match time table with venue details


(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)