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Off to Worst Ever World Cup Start, What Lacklustre South Africa Needs to Bounce Back Against India

South Africa's path to World Cup Glory seems to be off to a rockier start than usual. Will the Proteas make a comeback?

News18 Sports

Updated:June 3, 2019, 4:09 PM IST
Off to Worst Ever World Cup Start, What Lacklustre South Africa Needs to Bounce Back Against India
South Africa have lost both their ICC World Cup 2019 matches so far. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

The South African juggernaut, which always rolls right up till the semi-final stage of the ICC World Cup before coming to a screeching halt, has been a non-starter in England. The Faf Du Plessis side is not the same Proteas team of yore that both observant critics and the casual audiences loved to heap praise upon.

The 12th edition of the Cricket World Cup, taking place on the lush, picturesque greens of England and Wales have been unkind to the Proteas so far, as the young team find themselves smarting from two consecutive defeats in the opening rounds, doing so for the first time since their initiation into the running for cricket’s most coveted trophy back in 1992.

As if suffering a crushing 104 run defeat against hosts England was not enough, South Africa locked horns with tournament underdogs Bangladesh, only to crash and burn yet again, aiding the Bangladeshi side in registering their highest ever ODI total in the process.

So what has been the source of this? The young, inexperienced core poses a major concern. Only seven of the 15 -member squad possess any former World cup experience, and the fact that it is coach Otto Gibson’s first time getting acquainted to the peculiarities of the South African team lends further gravity to the problem.

The team has an okayish batting line-up, now bereft of the dazzling AB de Villiers, it’s poster boys being Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla, who appears to be all muddled going in. Amla’s return to form might help keep the score board ticking.

Another front where the team presents an ambiguity is a devastating bowling line-up that boasts three of the most menacing pacers in the world right now (Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi), all of whom are plagued by fitness concerns, with Dale Steyn not playing the first two matches. A co-ordinated attack by these would spruce up the side and more often than not rip through the opposition line-up.

Despite these difficulties, it is heartening to see that du Plessis is not willing to throw in the towel just yet. Their “take it on the chin” attitude is sure to serve their interests later on, as they tackle tournament favorites and two-time champions India next, and their newfound underdog status could definitely help ease the pressure.

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