ICC World Cup 2019: South Africa SWOT analysis – Proteas look to shed the chokers tag
Since they were re-admitted to international sport in 1992, South Africa have reached the semis in four of their seven World Cup appearances, but never progressed into the final.Updated: May 30, 2019 13:30 IST
“You can’t control history — I am a firm believer in that,” skipper Faf du Plessis was quoted as saying during the pre-tournament press conference but he will also agree that Proteas are under immense pressure to shed the tag which has tormented them for years.
Since they were re-admitted to international sport in 1992, South Africa have reached the semis in four of their seven World Cup appearances, but never progressed into the final.
The Proteas have gone into the tournament with a relatively younger squad with only seven members of the 15-man squad have previously participated in the showpiece event.
Pace battery: South Africa boasts of one of the best fast-bowling attacks going into the tournament and they will look to set the tournament alight with their fiery pace. Kagiso Rabada is expected to lead the line and he will be supported by the experience of Dale Steyn and the guile of Lungi Ngidi. South Africa’s attack collectively averages 30.54 since the 2015 World Cup - the best by any side (minimum 1000 Overs bowled)
Captain Marvel: Skipper Faf du Plessis has led South Africa well over the last few years and his records speak for themselves. Du Plessis has a win% of 83.3 which is the best for any skipper who has led a side in 30+ ODIs.
Record in England: South Africa may be ranked third in the latest ICC rankings but they aren’t one of the top favourites for the title. One of the reason is their poor record in the England. In any country where they have played at least 30 ODIs, their W/L ratio in England is the worst – 0.82. To make matters worse, England is also the country of their most damaging World Cup loss - the 1999 World Cup semi-final against Australia.
Top-order woes: South Africa have always known to have a star-studded top-order with big-ticket players but they are also guilty of collapsing in big matches. One such player is Hashim Amla, whose recent form is a cause on concern for the Proteas. He has crossed the 50-run mark in just 25% of his ODI innings since 2018 and that doesn’t bode well for a team which likes to rely heavily on their top-order for runs.
Youthful exuberance: The stage is perfectly set for Rassie van der Dussen to make a name for himself at the biggest stage. He averages 88.25 in ODI cricket & has impressed recently, remaining unbeaten in three of his last four innings across formats (scoring 231 runs). The likes of Kagiso Rabada, Aiden Markram and Lungi Ngidi will also look to continue their good work and leave their mark in England and Wales.
Exorcise their WC Demons: South Africa return to the country where they earned their nickname of World Cup chokers. They also have a chance to set their record straight after being knocked out in the semi-finals in four out of seven occasions.
Pace injury concerns: South Africa haven’t been immune from injury issues. Anrich Nortje has been withdrawn from the tournament while Lungi Ngidi is coming off a fairly serious injury (side strain). Dale Steyn has had issues with his shoulder & groin. Kagiso Rabada was an early withdrawal from the Indian Premier League due to a back ailment. However it is expected that Steyn and Rabada should be fit for their tournament opener against England.
Faf du Plessis (c), JP Duminy, David Miller, Dale Steyn, Andile Phehlukwayo, Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada, Dwaine Pretorius, Quinton de Kock (wk), Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Hashim Amla, Tabraiz Shamsi