ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Will SA get rid of ‘chokers’ tag?

Omkar Paranjape
Tuesday, 28 May 2019

No AB de Villiers but the South Africans are not short on firepower with bat and in the field as well

London: South Africa’s history at the World Cup is dramatic, to say the least. They have never contested a tournament final, and have been knocked out of three semi-finals in heartbreaking fashion--against England in 1992, against Australia in 1999, Australia again in 2007 and New Zealand in 2015.

Yet, England 2019 gives them hope. Cricket’s perennial chokers’ World Cup ambitions would largely hinge on their potent attack, led by young Kagiso Rabada and seasoned Imran Tahir as South Africa make their eighth attempt to achieve the sport’s biggest prize. 

Formidable bowling unit
In leg-spinner Imran Tahir and pace ace Kagiso Rabada, the Proteas have two world-class bowlers capable of taking wickets in clumps. Tahir’s googly and Rabada’s sheer pace could see wickets tumble in quick time so don’t be surprised if either player - not to mention the likes of Dale Steyn or Lungi Ngidi - pick up three wickets in as many balls at some stage.

De Kock the key
Quinton de Kock is in for a big tournament. The left-hander has an incredible ODI record with 14 centuries in 106 innings. The 26-year-old has all the shots and displayed them during the Indian Premier League this season with champions Mumbai Indians.

The comparisons between de Kock and Adam Gilchrist have so far been justified but a huge World Cup for the Proteas could see the South African continue to mirror the legendary Australian wicketkeeper-batsman. With the likes of Hashim Amla and skipper Faf du Plessis, South Africa would be expecting to get chunk of their scores from these three.

They have a very long tail with Rabada, Steyn, Ngidi and Tahir likely to occupy spots 8 to 11. Since the 2017 Champions Trophy, South Africa’s 8-11 average just 12.16 runs per dismissal.

So far, it has been a matter of coming ‘so close and yet so far’, but can the only African participants go all the way in England? Only time will tell!

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