The Proteas have been invincible of late with some big victories and outstanding performances. Their bowling is in top form and the batting has been formidable. Despite that, it is the big stage where the South African side has failed to deliver over the years. Thinking optimistically, if the South African side can continue what they have been doing in the last two years, then their first World Cup victory is surely on the cards at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
A Look-Back at South African Cricket In 2011
Much was expected from South Africa in the previous world cup in 2011. The Proteas ended the group stage with five wins out of the six matches played. However in the quarter-finals, New Zealand got the better of South Africa, bringing their 2011 ICC World Cup journey to an abrupt end.
If one weighs South Africa’s chances based on recent performances, the odds are stacked up in favour of the Proteas. The most recent ODI series against West Indies is more than sufficient to show that South Africa will be the team to beat in Australia this Summer. The five match ODI series against the West Indies saw South Africa win four of those matches with considerable ease. AB de Villiers centurion knock in the second ODI will not be forgotten for a long time to come.
South Africa are currently ranked at the third position in the ICC ODI rankings with a total of 6211 points from 55 matches.
Strengths Versus Weaknesses
South Africa can take pride in having both, the current best batsman and bowler. in their squad. AB de Villiers will take charge of batting duties with his wide range of shots and Dale Steyn will make sure the opposition do not get away with a fast start.
The Australian pitches are pretty flat according to retired Aussie legend Brett Lee and bowlers will have to come up with something very special to make a mark on these pitches. South Africa have some of the World’s best bowlers. That would give them a significant edge over their opponents.
Looking at the squad it is hard to find any weakness at all. It is safe to say that the South African side has a perfect balance on paper. While Steyn, Amla and de Villiers will surely be the key players, in case of an untimely incident, the Proteas have good reserves as well. If Steyn has a bad day at work, Morne Morkel will cover for him. The only weakness that can be pointed out clearly is that South Africa have an enigmatic and sometimes inconsistent spinner in Imran Tahir.
South Africa are placed in Pool B alongside India, Pakistan, West Indies, Ireland, Zimbabwe and the UAE. The only real threat here to the South Africans are the defending champions India. While Zimbabwe and Ireland are known for pulling out surprise tricks every now and then, one can bank on South Africa progressing in style from the Group.
The key will be to see if this South African side can hold their nerve when it comes to the knock-outs !
The South African side will be heavy favorites for this ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. With the perfect kind of balance between quality batsmen and bowlers, the South African squad is definitely the best on paper. It remains to be seen if the South Africans can live up to the expectations.
AB de Villiers (capt), Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Kyle Abbott, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn.