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India kick off World Cup cricket campaign today

June 5, 2019

India will finally make its mark in the Cricket World Cup 2019 campaign today when they take on a weak South Africa at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. India are the only team left in the tournament to have not played a match so far. They are up against a South African team that has shown poor form and has injury worries.

South Africa lost their opening two matches, to England and Bangladesh. A loss against India will be bad news. India, who are two-time world champions, will be looking to eliminate South Africa with their bowling led by Jasprit Bumrah. Bumrah is the current top-ranked one-day international bowler in the world. Supporting him will be Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya. Spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will add variety as well.

Speaking to the media, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar said, "bowling is going to be India's strength. India would be favourites alongside Australia and England. New Zealand are the dark horses. The rest are all underdogs."

Virat Kohli is key to India's batting, with his 10,843 runs in 227 ODI matches at an average of 59.57. The 30-year-old's importance to India is known to South African pace bowler Kagiso Rabada, who tried mind games ahead of their clash when he called the skipper "very immature" to a cricket news website CricInfo.

I was just thinking about the game plan, really, but Virat, he hit me for a boundary and then he had a word (during an Indian Premier League game). And then when you give it back to him, he gets angry. I don't get the guy. Maybe he does it because it gets him going, but that comes across as very immature for me. He is a phenomenal player but he can't take the abuse. - Kagiso Rabada, South Africa

South Africa will be counting on batting star Hashim Amla who missed the last game after being hit on the head.

South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo sounded confident of his team's chances. "There have been some bad days in my career. I've learned, and the team has learned, that it is not the end of the world. We can always bounce back, we are a team that bounces back, from situations and we will definitely do it again."

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