An injury-hit South Africa will bank on their IPL stars, including David Miller and Kagiso Rabada, to lift their maiden global trophy at the ODI World Cup in India. South Africa have never made the final of a world event in both the 50-overs and 20-overs formats.
The Proteas missed their chances when they were expected to win but in the upcoming edition, the Temba Bavuma-led side will have to punch above its weight to shed the perennial under-achievers’ tag.
Here is the SWOT analysis of a team which goes into the competition high on confidence, having come from behind to beat Australia 3-2 in the recent series at home:
David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen are among the most in-form batters going into the World Cup.
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Miller, who has played numerous match-winning knocks in the shorter formats over the past 18 months, will hold key to the team’s chances. His rich experience of playing India — both IPL and international cricket — should also come handy.
Klaasen was South Africa’s stand-out batter of the series against Australia. His 174 off just 83 balls in the fourth ODI showed how explosive he can be.
The No 4 batter Aiden Markram too has hit top form going into the 50-over showpiece.
Skipper Bavuma, who has gone back home due to personal reasons, is expected to rejoin the side ahead of the tournament opener against Sri Lanka in Delhi on October 7. His opening partner Quinton de Kock, who averages around 50 in India, will be aiming to replicate that form before he says goodbye to ODI cricket.
Injury to pacers Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala has dealt a body blow to South Africa.
Nortje, especially, would have provided much-needed firepower in the fast bowling department. Rabada, who has a decent record in India, will lead the attack which also includes the 23-year-old Gerald Coetzee.
Spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi were among the wickets in the recent series against Australia but don’t have an enviable record in India. They will be determined to change that in favourable conditions.
The tournament is a massive opportunity for someone like Coetzee, who has made his debut across formats this year.
The exciting talent has the gift of raw pace and a performance to remember in India could go a long way in taking his team deep into the tournament. His successful exploits could also help Coetzee attract the attention of IPL teams ahead of the next season.
For Bavuma, the World Cup is probably one final chance to leave a lasting legacy behind. The likes of Bavuma and Miller are possibly playing their last ODI World Cup.
Lanky fast bowler Marco Jansen will be another player to watch out for.
South Africa will be depending on too much on Rabada and it remains to be seen, if their spinners are able to provide wickets in the middle overs. The batting department does look a lot more settled than bowling.