IND vs SA T20 WC 2022: The last time that the Proteas locked horns with India in a T20 World Cup contest was back in the 2014th edition.
That was seven years back in the day. It was in another part of the world miles away from Down Under in Bangladesh.
While India held the upperhand on that occasion, the Proteas were left reeling with despair given their comprehensive six-wicket defeat.
In a contest that featured titans on either side, Dhoni for India and De Villiers for the Proteas, it was Faf du Plessis with his 58 off 41 who led the charge with the bat.
Of course, the often-underrated Faf was undone by Kohli’s remarkable inning, an unbeaten 72 off just 44 deliveries that lit up the triumph of the Indian Tigers at the Sher-e-Bangla.
Not that a lot has changed where Kohli’s dynamite form is concerned in big match occasions, the legend having just done the unthinkable against Pakistan a week ago. But the Proteas were left licking their wounds given the manner of their defeat over half a decade back in time.
But from an Indian perspective, this was the kicker:
For those among us who are perhaps just too involved in the way the game stands at present, it’s vital to recollect that Ashwin’s brilliant ball-of-the-T20-contest underscored India’s win over the Proteas; the unplayable one on Amla that castled the stumps of a modern day master.
But that was then. What happened between the two sides in the World Cup contests henceforth?
With no games between the two in the next edition, i.e., the memorable 2016 run held in India and then absolutely none last year, in the UAE, both sides embrace each other after seven long years.
Until such time, the Proteas have staring at them an uninspiring record that suggests they have been clearly humbled and maybe not by a side that looked absolutely annihilating.
Given that the Proteas, over the course of the last decade, have been served by giants of white-ball Cricket, think Morkel and Steyn, Duminy and de Villiers and Faf, lest it is forgotten that the former white-ball captain too held the team together, it’s not pleasing to note that India have overcome them in four in five games. That’s on the whole.
How would such a record impress the ardent Protea supporter whose love for the side is second to none and maybe just as passionate as is his love for the Springboks?
But there again, let’s not forget that the side facing India today does not have the looks of the one that faced a formidable Virat Kohli, Rohit-powered team of the past.
It won’t require one to be detective possessing discerning observation that none of the past greats are around today.
Faf du Plessis too, despite his laudable standards of fitness, not to forget a consistent T20 league form, has been shown the door. A bold call, one presumes by a board that is content with the youngbloods.
And why not, one notes, as in the likes of Stubbs, Markram, Nortje and de Kock there are four key members, that’s a third of the side nearly who are under-30.
If his ongoing form is an indication, then de Kock thriving given his 38-ball-63 is looking freshly out of the oven.
It’s that of the returning Rilee Rossouw.
In pulling off an AB meets Miller style killathon for the lack of a better word, the left hander took just 56 deliveries to notch up 109 runs for his Proteas side.
In a World Cup where games are being washed out left, right and center, the destructive bat from Bloemfontein ensured that something’s intact and flowing northerly; in this case as seen in the contest against Bangladesh, it was the grip of the batters in the tournament of epic proportions.
But where it comes to the game against India, you ought to think that the Proteas will have to come up trumps in all corners of the game. And while their usually agile and bold as a bullet firer fielding is impeccable, they’ll have to guard against bowling casually or waywardly against the Indian top order.
Rohit’s just found rediscovered some midhas touch whilst Kohli and Suryakumar are in blazing form.
That leaves KL Rahul, who’ll be hoping to find those elusive runs under his belt, as the key Protea snatch.
Not only from the historical perspective where the Proteas need to correct their woeful form in the T20 World Cup contests against India, but even for their own progression ahead, they’ll need a win. And should it be a mighty one, it’ll be even more vital- don’t you think?