Can underrated underdogs finally end World Cup hoodoo, South Africa team preview

South Africa has never won an ICC World Cup in any format

Can underrated underdogs finally end World Cup hoodoo, South Africa team preview PHOTO COURTESY: ICC

South Africa arrived in Australia with a batting line-up shy of the big names of old but packed full of explosive talent, backed up by one of the best bowling attacks in the tournament. With expectation low but potential relatively high, could this be the year it finally happens for South Africa?


Temba Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock, Heinrich Klaasen, Reeza Hendricks, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Rillee Rossouw, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs, Marco Jansen. Standby Players: Bjorn Fortuin, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lizaad Williams.

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Best finish at the tournament

Semi-finalists (2009 and 2014)

Despite arriving at tournaments with powerful squads through the years, South Africa has never won an ICC World Cup in any format. The best the Proteas have managed at Men’s T20 World Cups are semi-final appearances in 2009 and 2014.

In 2009 a total of 150 to beat Pakistan proved too much, with South Africa finishing seven runs short at 142/5. And in 2014, a Virat Kohli-inspired India made relatively short work of a reply to 172/4, reaching the target with five balls remaining.

Results in the last 10 T20I games

Most recent first: W W L L W W W W L L


v Group B Winner (October 24), Bellerive Oval, Hobart

v Bangladesh (October 27), SCG, Sydney

v India (October 30), Perth Stadium, Perth

v Pakistan (November 03), SCG, Sydney

v Group A Runner Up (November 06), Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

Key Match

v India (Oct 30) - The MRF ICC Men’s T20I Team Rankings have India top in the week before the Super 12 stage, with South Africa in fourth, just narrowly behind fellow group opponents Pakistan.

The meeting with the Asian giants comes back-to-back in South Africa’s tournament schedule, but if the Proteas are two wins from two (and that’s a big if), then victory over India would put them in the driving seat in the Group.

South Africa’s power hitters would fancy taking down an Indian bowling attack robbed of the services of Jasprit Bumrah. And if any bowling attack can trouble the mighty Indian top six, then it is undoubtedly Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, and co.

Key Player

Anrich Nortje – The pace merchant could off an extremely valuable x-factor on the bouncier Australian pitches, giving his side yet another threat in what is likely to be one of the better bowling attacks at the tournament.

Nortje’s T20I returns to date are strong rather than spectacular, but he has shown during his franchise career that he has the raw pace and skillset to trouble the top batters in the world.

With wickets in the Powerplay likely to be key for any successful side, Nortje’s role is vital.


Despite the injured Rassie van der Dussen, South Africa’s batting line-up looks primed to excel in Australian conditions. Quinton de Kock, Heinrich Klaasen, Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram, David Miller, and Rilee Rossouw are all explosive batters who can trouble any of their Super 12 opponents.

Miller, in particular, has found his feet at the international level in a manner that should concern all of South Africa’s opponents.

The worry is over the form and strike rate of captain Temba Bavuma, who leads the side but would be far from a specific pick otherwise. It’s not out of the question, but unlikely that the selectors will even leave Bavuma out if he doesn’t improve throughout the group stage.

Tristan Stubbs is the x-factor addition to the squad in the last year or so, bringing incredible power down the order in that all-important finisher role.

And with the ball, few can match the South Africans. Tabraiz Shamsi had been struggling a little with illness but looked back to his best in the last warm-up match to strengthen the spin options alongside the excellent Keshav Maharaj.

But it’s the pacers that set South Africa apart. Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, and Marco Jansen is a tournament-winning attacks on paper.