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South Africa – World Cup Team Preview

by Tom on Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
South Africa's heart breaking scene at the 1992’s World Cup

South Africa’s heart breaking scene at the 1992’s World Cup

South Africa proudly represents the African continent’s coming out of age in the cricketing world. While its other African counterparts like East Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Namibia have faded away, South Africa has transformed itself into a strong cricketing team. They are considered ace in the shorter format of the game and at present are ranked 4th in ODI’s (as on 20th May 2013). They scored 438 runs in an ODI in a record-scripting chase against the then World Champions Australia.

Till now South Africa have not tasted huge success in ICC World Cup tournaments. Even though they were a Test- Playing nation, they missed the first four editions of the World Cup. But when they did make their debut in 1992, they took all the other teams by surprise by advancing to the semi-finals stage. If it hadn’t been the ICC’s controversial ‘average run-rate method’, under which South Africa had to score 21 runs off 1 ball as opposed to 22 runs from 13 balls before the rain intervention against England, who knows, they would have made it to the finals also.

South African team celebrating after chasing a world record 434

South African team celebrating after chasing a world record 434.

Slowly and slowly, the Proteas built on their reputation of being ‘Chokers’ as they reached the semi-finals three times (1992,1999 and 2007) but failed to progress ahead. In the last World Cup held in 2011, they had a roller coaster ride, scoring convincing victories over West Indies, Netherlands, Ireland and Bangladesh. The only time they looked out of form was when they were bowled out for partly 165 against England. But they came over it with a sweet victory over hosts India, in which they pulled back the hosts from 267-1 at one stage to 296 all out and then chased down the target in the last over. But in the Quarter-finals, they were beaten by New Zealand by 2 wickets in a low scoring game at Dhaka.

With Graeme Smith handing over the captaincy to AB de Villiers, the South African cricket team today boats some exciting cricket players. In Dale Styen, they have the World no.1 bowler to their advantage, one who can provide crucial breakthroughs as well as maintain economical bowling figures. In Morkel brothers, they have an array of all-rounding capabilities, as both of them can hit the ball a long distance and make up for the fifth bowler’s presence. Several other players like JP Duminy, Robin Peterson, Hashim Amla and Richard Levi have already proved their mettle in the 50 over format. With the unfortunate exit of Mark Boucher (eye injury) and confusions whether the experienced Jacque Kallis will play till the 2015 World Cup or not, the South African team will have to pull up their sleeves a little-bit. It will be interesting to see how South Africa plans to shed its ‘chokers’ tag.

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