South Africa and World Cup have a strange relationship. The Closest Allie yet the stranger. The strong contender yet a big failure. Wounds which get refreshed every Four Years. A tag which they have failed to abolish since 1992. Sometime due to luck , Be it 1992 when the cruel rain rule crushed their hope to reach Finals or 1999 when the heartbreaker semifinal broke their hearts , but most of the times they have failed to bear the pressure necessary to be a world champions. Be it Karachi 1996, Durban 2003, Gros islet 2007 or Dhaka 2011 each time they were favorites to go ahead but on every occasion they slipped couldn’t be able to cope with pressure and every time a deeper scar is left on South African cricket . South Arica have been no. 1 in test cricket since demise of great Australian side in early 2009. And official ranking also confirms them as no.1 for most no of months in Test cricket since Jan 2009. Yet they have not been able to as impressive in One day internationals as test cricket.
However they still are among the top contenders of the World cup in Australia and New Zealand. The reason have been once again their consistent performance in Odi cricket in past few months leading to World cup. Apart from loss in Odi series in Australia by 1-4 them have won in Srilankan, New Zealand, Tri series In Zimbabwe, Against India. Once again the hope to bring the World cup first time to Africa is sailing high.
The Ab de Villiars led team is not invincible like of West Indies or Australia of past but they are a very strong side made no mistake about it. In Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander they have the most potent attack which can dip the opposition with pace, swing and bounce and with Imran Tahir they have a wicket taking spinner. Hashim Amla and AB De Villiars will be the pillars in batting around whom the batting of the team will revolve.It’s upto FAF Du Plessis and JP Duminy to come to the term pressure and play the game they are well known for. In David Millar, RilleRossouw they have two able youngsters who can take South Africa through. And the fielding of South Africa have always given them an edge over the others. This might be the last world cup for Dale Steyn andthe best fast bowler in the world will like to add a missing trophy in the cupboard of South Africa.
However there are chinks in armourof S.Africa too. David Millar, Farhan Beherdein and RilleRossouw needs to be more consistent to Support the big three. Their Performance in Australia in recently concluded series clearly stated that they belong to this level but they need to utilize every opportunity. In addition to it Injury to De Cock and JP Duminy is a big concern for Proteas. Both of them are impact players in Limited over games. Though JP is expected to be fit for the first game but the concern are looming large on de cock. The 22 year old has 6 hundreds in 35 games. While in spin Tahir has been wicket taker but again inconsistentperformance throughout his career has hindered his permanent establishment in S.Africanteam. His record in Australia does not boast huge confidence. Apart from all these as seen in past S.Africa have been highlysusceptible in pressure situations crumbling at crucial junctures in Global Tournaments.
This time though they have a big chance to amend all the mistakes of past and remove the tag they got in same country 23 years back.