ICC Champions Trophy 2013 kicks off with the 1st match of India VS South Africa on Thursday June 6,2013 at Cardiff , in a pool that almost everyone sees as the tournament’s Group of Death. With every game a virtual shootout, both Team India and South Africa will be eager to make a head start.
Match Starts At:
9:30 AM (GMT)
2:30 PM (PKT)
3:00 PM (IST)
11:30 AM (SAST)
“Steyn does not look good at all. It’s touch and go,” AB de Villiers said the day before the opening game. In case Steyn is deemed unfit, it is likely that Rory Kleniveldt will take his place. The rest of the line-up looks fairly settled, with David Miller likely to miss out in the middle order.
South Africa: (probable) 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Alviro Petersen, 3 Colin Ingram, 4 AB de Villiers (capt & wk), 5 Faf du Plessis, 6 JP Duminy, 7 Ryan McLaren, 8 Robin Peterson, 9 Rory Kleinveldt, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe
The Broad View:
The last time India played South Africa in an ODI was in the 2011 World Cup, when India’s top five were Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Yusuf Pathan and Yuvraj Singh. The bowling line-up consisted of Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel and Harbhajan Singh. None of those players, most of whom are vastly experienced, are in the squad for this tournament.
South Africa are also missing some of their legendary names, with Graeme Smith injured and Jacques Kallis skipping the tournament for personal reasons. Their fans might have felt reassured looking at the familiar bowling line-up, but Dale Steyn’s side strain means he could miss the first game.
At least they can still rely on the calm guidance of Gary Kirsten, who has had a golden run in his two years as coach. He has already firmly established South Africa as the best Test side in the world, a position they flirted with for a couple of decades without really nailing it down. The next challenge for Kirsten, who will step down as South Africa coach later this month, is to end his country’s painfully long hunt for an ICC trophy to go along with their triumph in the inaugural version of this tournament way back in 1998.
While South Africa have at least been able to focus entirely on the cricket, India haven’t. For the past few weeks in India, cricket has dominated newspaper front pages and has been breathlessly reported on round-the-clock by television channels, but almost all of it has been about the corruption in the IPL, and the ensuing turmoil in the BCCI. Even as MS Dhoni was addressing the press in Cardiff ahead of the opening match of the Champions Trophy, the cricket news back in India was about the Delhi Police questioning the owners of Rajasthan Royals in connection with the spot-fixing controversy.
Dhoni’s already has a stellar CV as captain, but marshalling this new-look team under these distractions, especially in a short tournament like the Champions Trophy where even one defeat could mean elimination, will be among the biggest challenges of his career.
Pitch and conditions
Both top orders struggled in the India-Australia warm-up match on Tuesday in Cardiff, but Karthik and Dhoni showed there weren’t too many devils in the track. Dhoni’s verdict on the pitch was: “There was not much swing for them but there was variable pace on offer.” Though Australia were rolled over for 65 by India, they had comfortably chased down 257 against West Indies on a similar surface on Saturday.