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India plan pace assault against South Africa
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India plan pace assault against South Africa

India will unleash their formidable pace attack against beleaguered South Africa when the Virat Kohli's men open their World Cup campaign on Wednesday.

India are the last of the 10 teams to launch their challenge in England and Wales and they start against a South Africa side already in turmoil after losing their first two matches.

The two-time world champions plan to push South Africa towards elimination in Southampton by deploying a feared bowling line-up led by Jasprit Bumrah.

Bumrah is ably supported by fellow quicks Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya.

Wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal lend variety to India's attack, but their primary weapon in seaming English conditions will be the pace bowlers.

Also Read: Du Plessis warns his team of severe reprimand

Kohli is the 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 not lost on South African pace bowler Kagiso Rabada, who tried some mind games ahead of their potentially feisty clash when he called the skipper "very immature".

Also Read: 'South Africa can still make World Cup semis without Dale Steyn'

"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," Rabada told ESPNcricinfo.

"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."

Rabada leads South Africa's injury-hit pace attack, with Lungi Ngidi sidelined after suffering a hamstring strain in Sunday's defeat against Bangladesh.

Dale Steyn has also been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament after missing the first two games with a shoulder injury.

Also Read: Phehlukwayo says South Africa can bounce back from nightmare start to World Cup campaign

But Faf du Plessis's side expect to be bolstered by the return of Hashim Amla, who missed the last game after being hit on the head by a Jofra Archer bouncer against England.

Thrashed by England in their tournament opener, the Proteas' 21-run defeat against Bangladesh at the Oval has put them in a perilous position.

But South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo is confident his team can still make amends for their wretched start.

"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," the 23-year-old said.

"We can always bounce back, we are a team that bounces back, from situations and we will definitely do it again."