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Done with the pre-match formalities and it is now time to get the play underway.

We are minutes away from the start of this much-awaited clash! But first, the two teams will line up along with the mascots for their respective national anthems. It will be the national anthem of South Africa first, followed by the Indian national anthem.

Temba Bavuma, the skipper of South Africa says that they would have batted first as well. Adds that it will be nice challenge to chase as that is an area where they need to gain more confidence. Mentions that they have been performing consistently and will look to improve going forward in the tournament. Informs they have made one change as Tabraiz Shamsi comes in for Gerald Coetzee.

Rohit Sharma, the captain of India says that they will bat first. Adds that it looks like a good pitch but it’s more about what they want to do as a team. Mentions that it is going to be a good game between two top sides who have played consistent cricket and it will be a challenge and it will be nice to come out on top in this game. Says that he loves to play here as a player and the team too loves to play here. Informs that they are playing the same team and reckons they don’t need to change anything and the bowling lineup has done the job in the last few matches.

South Africa (Playing XI) – Quinton de Kock (WK), Temba Bavuma (C), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi (In place of Gerald Coetzee).

India (Unchanged Playing XI) – Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj.

TOSS – Rohit Sharma flips the coin and it lands in favour of him. India have elected to BAT first.

PITCH REPORT – Ravi Shashtri and Irfan Pathan are pitchside. They say that this pitch looks much better than the last game that was played in this stadium. It will still assist the spinners and there are more patches on this track. The pitch has got some tan to it and there more grass as well but both sides have all bases covered. The skipper winning the last should look to bat first is their final conclusion.

Virat Kohli, the talismanic Indian batter turns 35 today and he returns to the ground where he scored his first ODI hundred and will once again be in search of that record-equalling 49th ODI ton. A massive occasion for both teams but a very special one for Kohli. The toss is coming up in a bit.

South Africa, on the other hand, became the second team to qualify for the semis thanks to a stunning win for Pakistan against the Kiwis. The Proteas batting has been sensational with Quinton de Kock leading the run-scorers charts with three hundreds as well. Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen, and David Miller all have played some fantastic knocks in different matches which has helped them to get to this position. However, they have struggled a bit while chasing targets and that is an area they will need to work on quickly as we are in the business end of this mega event. Their bowling also has been excellent with Marco Jansen, Gerald Coetzee, and Lungi Ngidi getting those crucial breakthroughs while Kagiso Rabada is still searching for his top form. Keshav Maharaj handles the spin department while Tabraiz Shamsi can be another good option on slow wickets. They destroyed New Zealand in their last game and will be riding high on confidence to put up a real challenge for the hosts. Will they become the first team to defeat India? Or will the Men in Blue continue their dominating win streak? We will find out soon. Toss and team news in a bit.

India have been absolutely terrific in this World Cup and are on a dream run with seven consecutive victories. Their batting has been brilliant and if Rohit Sharma doesn’t get you, Virat Kohli will and if he fails then KL Rahul or Shubman Gill will step up. The positive for them is that Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer both scored runs in the last game and found their form back. Kohli just missed out on equalling Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 hundreds in ODIs but the occasion is perfect for him to achieve that feat in this game on his birthday and at the ground where he scored his first ever ODI hundred. The only setback for them is that Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of the tournament but their balance hasn’t been affected that much. Mohammed Shami has been breathing fire since getting back in the team while Mohammed Siraj also found his rhythm against Lanka and Jasprit Bumrah has been consistently good at all phases of the game. The spin duo Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja also has been contributing well and they will hope they continue to perform in all three departments and make it eight wins in a row.

Hello and welcome folks! The stage is set for the battle of the bests at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata. It is first vs second, it is the best bowling attack against the best batting, it is India taking on South Africa with the top spot on the line. The hosts are still unbeaten and with another win here can cement their league leaders status while the high-flying Proteas will hope to spoil the party and break the winning run of India.

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