Perhaps looking for some kind of South African revenge, if you can call it that, former Proteas batsman Herschelle Gibbs has backed hosts India to win the Cricket World Cup final against Australia in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
South Africa were knocked out in the semi-finals again by Australia on Thursday, but Gibbs believed India could not realistically be beaten. In fact, Gibbs said the second semi-final could have seen a different outcome if Proteas captain Temba Bavuma had chosen to bowl first.
Nevertheless, India look like a team on a mission at the moment said Gibbs at Sun City on Friday, ahead of the Gary & Vivienne Player Invitational at the Lost City Golf Course starting on Saturday.
“What a final it’s going to be. That Indian team just look unstoppable at the moment. Whatever the conditions have been, they’ve outplayed everybody. That’s the key for me. It’s not always about being smarter, but performing better in the conditions. They know the conditions well,” Gibbs told IOL Sport.
‘Watch out for Shami’
While the Indian batsmen like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have hogged the headlines, Gibbs said fast bowler Mohammed Shami, who has claimed 23 wickets in this World Cup, was just as important for the men in blue.
“Mohammed Shami has been unbelievable. And their spinners when the ball has turned, have become a huge factor. It’s difficult to see a better top seven [batting lineup]. They’re just very confident and have a home nation that’s behind them.”
Still, despite seeing India as overwhelming favourites, Gibbs said if any team could spring a surprise it would be the Aussies.
“But if there’s a team that can beat anybody on their day, it’s Australia. They thrive on the big moments. It’s going to be a tough one to beat India. But if you look at everybody else in the competition then you have to think that Australia could be the one that can cause an upset.
“But India are obviously clear favourites.”