South Africa has always started as favorites in any ICC Tournament or World cup they have played in, but this year is different! Dare I say, they are not the favorites for the World Cup 2019.
Yes! They aren’t. Let’s first see their strengths and weaknesses.
1. Superb Fast Bowlers:
South Africa has some amazing fast bowlers in the mix. They have the combination variety, skill & experience in that bowling line-up!
Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada are two genuinely quick bowlers in the mix and can make batsman uncomfortable with raw pace and on the other hand, they have the experience of Dale Steyn to back the youngsters.
For support, they also have picked fast bowling All-rounders like Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius in the team.
South Africa’s bowling line-up/options are pretty similar to India, as they have picked a right arm leggie(Chahal & Tahir) and a left arm Chinaman(Kuldeep and Shamsi) and also have picked three genuine fast bowlers in the side.
1. The poor form of Experienced players:
The experienced players of South Africa haven’t been in the best of their forms. Hashim Amla in recent times has been in miserable form and barely got into the world cup side of South Africa.
David Miller also hasn’t been in the best of his form. He hasn’t been able to finish off games for South Africa in an explosive way like he used to do 3-4 years back consistently!!
Chris Morris’s ODI record is also not so pleasing to the eyes, both with the bat and ball. South Africa would hope to see the best of their experienced players in order to get into the knock out stages of world cup 2019.
2. The Tag of Chokers or Failing at the big stage:
South Africa in every world cup has come up with great players and teams and have looked undefeatable and yet never won the world cup for one single reason. That’s “lack of absorbing pressure” and this problem has cost them so many matches and tournaments in the past.
South Africa has to rise above that and showcase their skills in the pressure situations if they want to get into the knockout stages of the World cup 2019. They have to start playing fearless cricket and forget the so-called chokers tag if they are in the world cup 2019 to win it!
Expected Playing XI:
1. Hashim Amla
2. Quinton De Kock
3. Faf Du Plessis
4. Rassie Van der Dussen
5. JP Duminy
6. David Miller
7. Andile Phelukwayo
8. Dale Steyn
9. Kagiso Rabada
10. Lungi Ngidi
11. Imran Tahir
12. Tabraiz Shamshi
13. Dwaine Pretorius
14. Chris Morris
15. Aiden Markram
Fixtures of World cup 2019:
30/06- vs England @London
02/06- vs Bangladesh @London
05/06- vs India @Southampton
10/06- vs West Indies @Southampton
15/06- vs Afghanistan @Cardiff
19/06- vs New Zealand @Birmingham
23/06- vs Pakistan @London
28/06- vs Sri Lanka @Chester-le-Street
06/07- vs Australia @Manchester
Where will South Africa finish in World cup 2019?
South Africa don’t start as favorites for sure in this world cup, but still, they are a good team. They will fight for the semi-finals but I don’t expect them to reach the finals. If they really reach the finals, it would be a huge feat for this side.
It’s already a year now since Ab De Villiers has retired from international cricket, but still, it feels like South Africa haven’t been able to get over his retirement. Also, cricket fans feel the same way. As a cricket fan, I wanted to see Ab De Villiers in the scheme of things for the world cup 2019.
Watch One of De Villiers’ greatest ODI innings ever:
But this is the team that South Africa have and if their Veterans perform on the big stage, they will go a long way.