Thursday, February 05, 2015

CWC 2015: Team to watch - South Africa

There hasn’t been a World Cup when South Africa were not considered as pre-favourites to win the cup. The fact that they didn’t win till now is an altogether different story. Cricketing, Non-cricketing and luck have played their part to ensure South Africa remains without a World Cup trophy. Duckworth Lewis is more popularly known after what they did to South Africa in one of the world cups. They had a game tied against Australia in the knockout stage and lost out because of Australia’s previous victory against them in the same event. Then had a close encounter against Australia again which they lost. They have been better performers in the group stages but haven’t won a single knockout match in the World Cup history. That’s something they have to correct this time.

Recent ODI Form – last 12 months *
South Africa team stats - Recent Form in ODI Cricket (last 12 months)

Form in Australia – last 24 months *
South Africa team stats - Recent Form in ODI Cricket in Australia (last 24 months)

Form in ODI World Cup events *
South Africa Cricket team statistic- Form in ODI World Cup eventsSouth Africa, statistically, are second only to the all-conquering Australia. They have a win / loss ratio of 2.3 in the last one year which is significant considering their opponents included Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Of the 7 games they have lost, 5 of them have come against Australia and 3 of those in Australia. This could be a significant statistic for the World Cup. If we ignore matches against Australia, South Africa’s statistics improves drastically (win / loss ratio changes from 2.3 to 8.0). That’s how powerful Australia has been and how powerful South Africa has been against other teams. South Africa’s world cup performance has been consistent but they have lost key matches (mainly knockouts) when it matters the most. For a rational / impartial fan, South Africa winning this edition of the World Cup will ensure that justice has finally been served.

SWOT Analysis – 
  • Strengths – 
    • Momentum, form and consistent superior performance
    • AB De Villiers and Hashim Amla will be a constant pain for opposition bowlers
    • Dale Steyn will do the same from the bowling department
  • Weaknesses – 
    • “Chokers” tag will continue to haunt till they prove otherwise
    • Top tournament performance (or the lack of it)
  • Opportunities – 
    • Relatively favorable pool, strong chance to finish 1st in the pool
    • Similar conditions back home and recent ODI series against Australia will help
  • Threats – 
    • Unpredictability in the pool can be the reason for concern
    • This edition of the World Cup also has knockouts (sarcasm)!

South Africa will rely on key players to deliver and it’s high time the likes of AB De Villiers and Hashim Amla make this their world cup. Not only from a personal standpoint, but also for the team cause. Hashim Amla is the fastest to reach 5000 ODI runs and De Villiers has the fastest ODI century to his credit. In my opinion, this is the most balanced squad of them all in the World Cup, even better than Australia on paper. It’s now a matter to show the same on the field. Steyn, Parnell, Morkel and Tahir are quite a handful. Baring 2003 World Cup, they have always cleared the group stage. So it will be a shock if they are eliminated early. What’s shocking is, when they come to knockouts, they just don’t know how to win. This is where their key players should come in.

South Africa needs to correct a lot of unwanted records they have against them. This could be the place for them to start. How great will it be for South Africa to get their hands on that trophy? Isn't that their final frontier? 

Click here to view all the posts on Cricket World Cup 2015.

* The above statistics have been compiled using for the duration of 1 year or 2 years (based on the statistic) till 31st Jan 2015.

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