Guwahati, Feb 21: Ahead of the fourth face-off in the World Cup between India and South Africa, supporters of the Proteas are searching online more about the opponent than their home team.
According to global search engine Google, search interest for the home team in South Africa have surprisingly gone down by half in the last few days.
"The fans are busy searching for their rival team India, (which is) witnessing significant search interest from South Africa before the upcoming clash at MCG," Google said in its report on search trends.
The overall trends show a spike in online searches as team India gets ready to reverse its dismal record against South Africa in previous World Cup matches. India have never won against South Africa in a World Cup, losing to them in 1992, 1999 and 2011.
"South Africa, often called the most jinxed team in the World Cup, go into this match not as the favourites against title holder India, a team that's historically been a favoured one when playing at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds," Google said in the report.
The analysis of the trends shows that star batsman Virat Kohli leads the Indian team with highest search interest after his centurion knock against Pakistan last Sunday.
"For the Indians, search interest also peaked around MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja before the match," it pointed out. Sachin Tendulkar is the only Indian to have scored a century (111) against South Africa in World Cup in 2011, followed by Sourav Ganguly whose top score against South Africa is 97.
Google also said while the Indian pace attack may not be the strongest against South Africa, but Mohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami saw significant spikes in search interest with Sharma attracting five time more searches than usual.
"Dale Steyn, who will be leading the pace attack for South Africa, has seen significant interest from fans online, followed by Wayne Parnell and Morne Morkel," it added.
Given the number of Indian fans, search interest for Kohli notably surpasses consolidated search interest for leading pacers from South African bowling attack.
Google further said: "Not surprisingly, AB De Villiers leads the South African batsmen with regards to search queries, followed by Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy, who are also witnessing growing search interest online."
No South African batsman has scored a ton against India in World Cup with the best being 96 by Jacques Kallis in 1999. "On an interesting side note, with marketers driving hard to cash in on this opportunity, following a series of popular ads, searches for fireworks in India have been at their highest since New Year's Eve," Google said.
Meanwhile, Google said Tendulkar will be sharing his views live on a Google hangout during the match break tomorrow and the video will also be telecast live on YouTube.