South African skipper Faf du Plessis won the toss and decided his side would bowl first to Bangladesh at The Oval on Sunday.
South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn is still out with a shoulder injury, but spinner Imran Tahir, at 40 the oldest player in this edition of the World Cup, made his 100th One-Day International appearance today.
“We’re playing the extra seamer today, so we want to try and attack Bangladesh with some extra pace. We want to take the learnings from the previous game. I thought he did really well to restrict a strong England batting line-up,” du Plessis said after the toss.
“Today we are playing a slightly different team. Obviously Hashim Amla got hit on the head so David Miller comes back in and then the other change is Chris Morris, we’re trying to get some extra pace with this wicket. There was a bit of extra bounce and we’re trying to make use of that,” he said, explaining the changes to the line-up.
BD skipper Mashrafe Mortaza said his team was feeling “pretty confident” and had “good preparation”.
“It’s a used wicket. It should be good to bat on. Depends on how we bat. Everyone is fit to play. Tamim is fit,” he said after the toss.
Tamim Iqbal, one of the team’s most prolific batsmen in recent years, had received a blow on his left wrist in the nets on Friday. He will open the batting today.
There are also fitness concerns about Bangladesh fast bowlers Mashrafe (hamstring) and Mustafizur Rahman (calf), and allrounder Mahmudullah (shoulder). Bowling all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin is also expected to play on painkillers for a back complaint.
This is Bangladesh’s first Cricket World Cup 2019 match, while South Africa got their first-game nerves out of the way with a 104-run loss to England at The Oval on May 30.
South Africa’s earlier defeat to England exposed its reliance on a few batsmen, especially Quinton de Kock, who made 68, and captain Faf du Plessis. The Proteas appear to be counting on their knowledge of playing at the venue in the tournament opener, even though they were outplayed by England.
The team needs an improved batting effort after the bowlers did well to contain the hosts to 311.
But the Bangladeshis have form on their side after beating the West Indies three times in the last month to win the tri-nations title in Ireland.
The Bangladesh squad has come to the World Cup with the stated intention of reaching the semifinals for the second consecutive time.
South Africa also holds no fear for them, after winning their home series four years ago, and their match at the 2007 World Cup. Those are Bangladesh’s only three wins against South Africa in 20 ODIs.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehedi Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Mustafizur Rahman
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (c), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, JP Duminy, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir