Monday, February 7, 2011

South Africa wants to break the world cup jinks

New Delhi: Ever since South Africa's first appearance at the World Cup in 1992, the tournament has consistently brought heartbreaks for the rainbow nation. And because of their unfortunate knack of losing from winning positions, they have also been historically tagged as 'chokers'.

The rain-affected semifinal loss in 1992 was followed by an unlikely quarterfinal exit against the West Indies four years later. The drama of the Lance Klusener-Allan Donald run-out put their chances in 1999 to rest and 2003 saw the South Africans crash out early on their home turf.
This time it's no different for the green-clad Proteas. Ranked No. 3 in the ICC ODI rankings, South Africa are one of the hot favourites to win the cup but that's when they choke and ultimately succumb to the pressure of expectations.

But Graeme Smith, who will lead the team for the last time in ODIs after giving up the T20 captaincy earlier, has the machinery that can churn out consistent wins for the team.

South Africa's top order looks absolutely brilliant with the likes of Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla in superb one-day form and dependable AB de Villiers will be raring to go in the mega event. If South Africa are to be successful in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, they will need solid performances from these specialists.

These four batsman have the pedigree to post the big scores that are likely to be necessary in the subcontinent. Coming in the tournament after an ODI series win at home against India, Proteas will be high on confidence and will surely give every opponent a run for its money.

South Africa's bowling also looks well take care of. Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel are venomous in any format and on almost any surface. In addition, they now have Lonwabo Tsotsobe, whose rise in the series against India has come as a welcome surprise for South Africa.

Johan Botha, South Africa's T20 skipper, is a miserly spinner who can thrive on spin-friendly Indian tracks. However, a question mark remains over the second spinner's role, with the uncapped Pakistan-born Imran Tahir having no international exposure.

The unfulfilled expectations of the past and less hype around the side this time around will stand the Proteas in good stead when they set foot on the subcontinent.

They would surely be expecting another semifinal finish as they are being viewed to reach the quarterfinal stage by default from a group that has three low-lying teams in Bangladesh, Ireland and Netherlands besides India, England and West Indies.


February 24: South Africa vs West Indies at Delhi

March 3: South Africa vs Netherlands at Mohali

March 6: South Africa vs England at Chennai

March 12: India vs South Africa at Nagpur

March 15: South Africa vs Ireland at Kolkata

March 19: South Africa vs Bangladesh at Mirpur


Graeme Smith (captain), Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Morne van Wyk.


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Zodiac Astrology said...

SA is a formidable side, with five world class batsmen and 2 world class bowlers. Facing them will be the real challenge for India.

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