South Africa will be aiming to put right past failures to win the Cricket World Cup for the first time.
No team has underachieved more than the Proteas, who have endured a number of excruciating defeats in high-profile matches.
The last World Cup in England in 1999 epitomised their struggles as Lance Klusener and Allan Donald’s run out cost them a place in the final. There has been further pain since, losing at the semi-final stage in 2011 and 2015, while a Duckworth/Lewis error resulted in a premature exit in their home tournament in 2003.
It’s time for the Proteas to deliver on the world stage and there’s no excuse for Faf du Plessis and his team. They boast ample talent in their batting ranks, while their bowling attack is arguably the best in the world.
Whether they are able to blend it together to make a surge towards the crown is another matter, especially given their propensity to crack under pressure. South Africa have a point to prove in England.
Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Rassie van der Dussen.
South Africa always arrive at major tournaments stacked with talent, but are never able to get over the line. The Proteas have only managed to win one 50-over crown, which came back in 1998 in the Champions Trophy. Since then they have known nothing other than disappointment.
It has become synonymous that South Africa will have a major slip-up at some point during a leading competition. Despite the quality at their disposal, they have always had issues with their composure. The Proteas arrive in England off the back of five bilateral series wins on the bounce, although only one of them came against elite competition.
Du Plessis’ men defeated Australia, and even that victory comes with a caveat as the Baggy Greens were without David Warner and Steve Smith. South Africa were off the pace in the Champions Trophy in their last visit to England, being dumped out of the competition in the group stage.
They suffered defeats to India and Pakistan, which resulted in their exit. Their record in major competitions has to improve some time and there’s a huge opportunity for Du Plessis and his team to change the culture of cricket in South Africa for the future.
He had a lean time in 2018 before he made a breakthrough at the start of 2019, notching 83 in his side’s win over Pakistan in Cape Town. De Kock reeled off a run of posting five scores in a row of fifty plus, including a brilliant 121 in a victory over Sri Lanka in Durban in March.
He maintained that standard of form in the Indian Premier League for the Mumbai Indians, playing an important role in their triumph. The 26-year-old arrives in England in good touch in the middle, although he has not quite found conditions to his liking.
He wasn’t overly impressive in the Champions Trophy, scoring only one fifty in three matches. South Africa need him to set the tone from the off to put them on course for the knockout stage. He’s capable of leading their charge and potentially to top score in the tournament at odds of 16/117.00+160016.0016.00-0.06 with Bet365 and for South Africa at odds of 5/23.50+2502.502.50-0.40 .
Kagiso Rabada – South Africa have the two leading wicket takers from the 2019 Indian Premier League season in their ranks. Imran Tahir led the way with 26 scalps, but right behind him was his compatriot Rabada with 22 in 12 matches for the Delhi Capitals.
Rabada has established himself as one of the leading fast bowlers in the game. The 24-year-old boasts a fine record in his 66 matches ODI matches, claiming 106 wickets at an average of 26.43. He was extremely impressive in the Proteas’ triumph over Sri Lanka, continuing a good run of form over the last year. However, there are warning signs about his performances against elite competition.
Dale Steyn, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi and Andile Phehlukwayo are also present in the squad. Rabada needs to be the leader of the attack to take charge of his side’s surge to the knockout stage. Back him to lead the tournament in wickets at 16/117.00+160016.0016.00-0.06 at Bet365 and for South Africa at 12/53.40+2402.402.40-0.42 .
On paper South Africa have one of the best teams in the tournament. However, as proven in their past experiences in the World Cup it has not worked out for them in terms of the ultimate success. Du Plessis will be batting the past scars along with the quality of the other teams in the competition.
Their batting line-up does not have the depth and power of that of England or India, which places lot of pressure on De Kock to perform. Hashim Amla has been a great servant for his country, but he has struggled for form in the 50-over arena. David Miller and Aiden Markram have to play their part to ease the burden on De Kock and their skipper.
The bowling attack is the strength of the team. South Africa have the deepest unit in the tournament, boasting Rabada, Steyn, Ngidi and Tahir in their frontline. That could be a decisive factor given that the rest of the units are inconsistent to say the least or lacking in depth.
South Africa should advance to the last four, but they may not have a complete enough team to see off a team of England or India’s quality. Back them for a semi-final stage of elimination at odds of 11/43.75+2752.752.75-0.36 with Bet365.