Can this SA team Break the World Cup Jinx!
Can this SA team Break the World Cup Jinx! | Photography: Officialwc2019

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Can this SA team Break the World Cup Jinx!

Feb 11, 2019

With 22 needed of 1 ball South African’s were bemused with what had happened to them after a rain delay in the semi-finals of 1992 world cup. That has been the state of RSA’s cricket ever since they were readmitted after the ban for being in line with the then government’s apartheid policy. Let’s see whether they can turn around their fortunes this time.

Since the 1992 world cup, they have been falling short in the knockout phase of all the tournaments. 

In 1999, South Africa lost in the semi-final to ensuing champions Australia. The match ended in a tie, both the teams having scored 213 but Australia advanced to the Final as they finished higher than South Africa in their pool. 

It was South Africa’s match to lose at one point but small mistakes here and there costed them the game. That was just a start, which later would have earned them the title of ‘Choker’.

At the 2003 tournament, as hosts, they failed to make it to the knockouts after rain affected their final match against Sri Lanka with a shattered footage of captain Shaun Pollock underlining their anguish. In 2007, after having a cake walk of a journey in the group stage, they got beaten heavily by Australia who went on to take the title. To follow this, in the ensuing world cups, identical things happened which has strengthened the title of chokers on their back.

Now it’s time to redeem their team. Talking to South Africa's coach, Ottis Gibson, after the series against Zimbabwe, says that the time for experimentation ahead of 2019 cricket world cup is coming to an end. After rain washed out his team's final Twenty20 international against Zimbabwe in Benoni, Gibson said a short limited overs tour of Australia, starting later this month, would be a crucial part of the build-up to the World Cup in England. "We want to go there with an attitude of trying to lift the trophy," said Gibson. "The squad that we pick will reflect that and reflect our feeling on the formula and the way we want to play cricket."

While analysing the potential XI for the world cup, barring two positions, South Africa’s squad looks to be settled. Here is a look at who are certain and who the ones with a chance are. Hashim Amla and Quinton de kock have been one of the most prolific opening pairs in this format. Reeza Hendricks, du Plessis, David Miller and the recent sensation Van der Dussen form a rock solid middle order. Questions of AB de Villiers coming out of retirement is also a big boost.They are badly in need of his aggressiveness and creativity to exert their dominance over the other top teams. The pace department is spoilt for choices with the likes of Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada showing their class in the recently concluded ODI series against Pakistan.

This time it looks like a formidable side to challenge for the trophy, but one necessary thing for them to keep in mind is not to crumble under crucial situations.

SA have always been dumped in the knock out stages of ICC tournaments and hence earned the title “chokers”. We all know how incredible a team SA is and how much they have contributed to world cricket.

They have given us some mind blowing players like Allan Donald, Jonty Rhodes, Shaun Pollock, Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn and our beloved ABD Villiers. And one cannot forget the most iconic and memorable match of the cricketing history wherein, they chased a mammoth 434 runs against the Aussies.

Will 2019 be the year for the Proteas?