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by Bimal Mirwani Tuesday 10 February 2015
There is no doubt in anyone's mind that South Africa are one of the favourites, if not the favourites, to win the World Cup this year. With an almost Harlem Globetrotters like squad, South Africa possess an all-round team that most countries could only dream of having. The Proteas will be one of the most vicious and lethal teams in the tournament since opposing teams with have to get through the opening pair of Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock.Should they lose early wickets, South Africa still possess players like Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, David Miller and JP Duminy, all of whom are capable of inflicting serious damage on any given day.Once the batsmen are done feasting, it will be time for the Proteas to unleash their brutal pace trio of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel. Just thinking of facing either one of those bowlers will be enough to put a chill down any batsman's spine.However, it is not only the quick bowlers that the opposition batsmen will have to worry about. There is also the threat of spinner Imran Tahir. Capable of bamboozling batsmen almost as easily as clicking his fingers, Tahir will be one spinner most batsmen will not want to mess with.While South Africa's squad is almost like something out of a horror film, their team is only one of several things the other nations will have to worry about. Given the way South Africa dissected and dismantled the West Indies in their recent five-match ODI series, it wouldn't come as a surprise if most teams would be shaking when going up against the African behemoths. Add to the fact that de Villiers broke the record for the fastest ODI century during that series and things start to become that much more chilling.
South Africa are also on a mission to shed their 'chokers' tag and in order to do this, they will be looking to pulverize every team they face during the tournament. Having been knocked out in the quarter-finals during an intense and heated battle against New Zealand in the 2011 World Cup, the Proteas will be looking to put a stop to their habit of choking after making brilliant starts in renowned tournaments. Given they now possess an all-star squad, an immense amount of confidence and an overabundance of passion, there is no reason as to why South Africa cannot win this World Cup.
South Africa will also have another advantage heading into the World Cup, which is the fact that they have played in both Australia and New Zealand as of late. Even though they were beaten 4-1 by the Baggy Greens during their five-match ODI series in November, the Proteas will have definitely gained some knowledge, experience and understanding of what it takes to succeed in Australia.
However, while taking on New Zealand in a three-match ODI series in October, South Africa hit the jackpot as they not only got a feel for the New Zealand conditions, but also beat the Blackcaps 2-0 in their own backyard.
15th February – South Africa v Zimbabwe in Hamilton22nd February – India v South Africa in Melbourne27th February – South Africa v West Indies in Sydney3rd March – Ireland v South Africa at Canberra7th March – Pakistan v South Africa in Auckland12th March – South Africa v United Arab Emirates in Wellington
Recent Form (last 10 ODI matches)
(recent) W, L, W, W, W, L, L, L W, L
January 28, 2015 - Beat West Indies by 131 runs (Centurion)January 25, 2015 - Lost to West Indies by one wicket (Port Elizabeth)January 21, 2015 - Beat West Indies by nine wickets (East London)January 18, 2015 - Beat West Indies by 148 runs (Johannesburg)January 16, 2015 - Beat West Indies by 61 runs (Durban)November 23, 2014 - Lost to Australia by two wickets (Sydney)November 21, 2014 - Lost to Australia by three wickets (Melbourne)November 19, 2014 - Lost to Australia by 73 runs (Canberra)November 16, 2014 - Beat Australia by three wickets (Perth)November 14, 2014 - Lost to Australia by 32 runs (Perth)
Stat:South Africa have a W/L ratio of 2.00. They have won 30 games and lost 15 games in World Cups.
A lot will depend on AB de Villiers who is South Africa’s most experienced player in the World Cup. He has 725 runs from 15 games at an average of 51.78.
AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla, Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn
Player To Watch:
AB de Villiers - After having broken the record for the fastest ODI century just last month, there is no denying that people will be expecting a lot more fireworks from de Villiers during the World Cup.
If de Villiers was able to wallop 16 sixes during his record-breaking knock, then one can only imagine what South Africa's ODI captain can accomplish against other teams during the marquee event. Furthermore, with de Villiers having claimed three victims with his medium pace in ODIs, it will be very interesting to see whether he brings himself on in an attempt to not only put the opposition under pressure, but also see if he can wreak some havoc with the ball as well.
Prediction:Final© Cricket World 2015