New Delhi: South Africa have been perhaps the biggest underachievers in world cricket. They have almost always gone into a tournament as favourites but then come out empty handed.
However, the Champions Trophy has been kind to them. They won the inaugural edition in 1998 by beating West Indies in Bangladesh and would ideally want a repeat in England, this time around.
A win in this edition will help heal some bruises which were inflicted on them in the 2015 World Cup semi-final where they lost a nail-biter to New Zealand. Like always they have the team again who can propel them to the champions podium.
Here we take a look at their strengths and weaknesses for the upcoming Champions Trophy.
South Africa have one of the most fiery batting line-ups in the tournament. The top-order consists of the ever consistent Hashim Amla and the flamboyant Quinton de Kock. Both batters are in rich vein of form, which they showed in the recently concluded series against England.
They also have the likes of skipper AB De Villiers and Faf du Plessis in the middle order, a pair any team around the world would want to possess.
The lower-order looks good too with the likes of David Miller in it. On his day, Miller can take apart a bowling opposition single-handedly.
The Proteas have within their ranks the tall and fast Morne Morkel and the young Kagiso Rabada who can clock the 145 plus km/ph with ease. They also have the ability to swing the ball both ways, thus making life difficult for a batsman.
They then have the likes of Wayne Parnell and Chris Morris who usually keep it tight by bowling on a tight length and line.
Over dependence on star players
It is often seen that South Africa fail to perform to their potential when the likes of Hashim Amla and AB De Villiers fail to perform. Such over dependence on individuals can be quite a curse in such a huge tournament.
The likes of JP Duminy and Dwaine Pretorius too need to step up and deliver at such a huge stage.
Choking in crucial times
Losing the plot in tense situations has been a perennial problem in South African cricket. Be it the 2015 World Cup or the 1999 edition of the quadrennial trophy, they have succumbed to the pressure whenever it has been on them. They will be hoping to get rid of the 'chokers' tag this time around by lifting the trophy aloft.
The leg-spinner can be the X-factor for his side in the tournament as he has the ability to pick wickets at crucial junctures of a game. Also, Tahir is coming off a very successful IPL where he picked up 18 wickets for his side Rising Pune Supergiant from 12 matches.
South Africa squad:
Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wicket-keeper), Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers(captain), Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Farhaan Behardien, Morne Morkel