ICC World Twenty20 2014 Preview - South Africa
This team has been at the international top rung for quite some time now, yet for them not to have one an ICC world event has got to be one of the biggest surprises in world cricket.
Even going into the ICC World T20, South Africa boast some of the best batsman and bowlers across formats, in AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn, but will that be enough to overcome their usual problems?
In Sri Lanka (2012), it was obvious that AB de Villiers was not able to bring up the goods in the triple role of captain, batsman and wicket-keeper as the Proteas suffered their worst tournament record.
This time around, he has been freed of two of those roles and now can get on with doing what he does best - taking apart bowlers with his 360-degree array of shots.
Steyn will be pumped up too. In recent times, Mitchell Johnson has been testing batsmen with his pace, bounce and swing, assuming the mantle of the fiercest pace bowler in the world at the moment. The South African fast bowler will surely have a thing or two to say about it, as was visible during their recent contest. More so now since this will be a world event and Johnson is missing out during injury.
Even so, the question remains. Will this be enough to offset the usual voodoo that surrounds any South African team at an ICC event?
They inevitably find ways to shoot themselves in the foot and this time around as well, the stage is already set for such an outcome. They will finish their league fixtures one round earlier than the rest of teams, and as such, they will be under pressure to get things going right from the very beginning.
Their squad is full of ability, with thrilling and measured elements thrown in. In Quinton de Kock they boast of perhaps the most exciting batting prospect in world cricket at the moment. David Miller can be as belligerent as AB, with JP Duminy and Imran Tahir providing the spin element.
It is in pace that the Proteas will find their respite with Steyn getting support from Morne Morkel, Albie Morkel, Wayne Parnell and Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
If his international performances are any indication, Faf du Plessis will provide some balanced thinking to leadership, highly needed from a South African point of view given their record at ICC events.
2013-14 – WL-LL
20th November – Beat Pakistan by four runs in Johannesburg
22nd November – Lost to Pakistan by six runs in Cape Town
9th March – Match abandoned, versus Australia in Port Elizabeth
12th March – Lost to Australia by five wickets in Durban
14th March – Lost to Australia by six wickets at Centurion
Previous Tournament Record
2007 – Super Eights: Beat England and New Zealand, lost to India to go out on run-rate
2009 – Semi-finalists: Lost to eventual winners Pakistan by seven runs at Nottingham
2010 – Super Eights: Beat New Zealand, lost to England and Pakistan
2012 – Super Eights; Lost to Australia, India, Pakistan
22nd March – Versus Sri Lanka in Chittagong
24th March – Versus New Zealand in Chittagong
27th March – Versus B1 qualifier in Chittagong
29th March – Versus England in Chittagong
Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wicket-keeper), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe
© Cricket World 2014