Will South Africa finally end their bare run in the ICC World Cups? Can Bavuma lead the Proteas to the glory they have longed for ever since? Well, only time can tell, but they certainly have one of the strongest squads in this year’s World Cup.
South Africa are trolled as “chokers” by worldwide cricket fans. The reason behind it is their abundant losses in the WC semi-finals and their inability to win even a single World Cup in the history of Cricket.
However, they have always been one of the strongest sides in world cricket. In this year’s World Cup, their team has all the capability to defy the odds and get to the glory for the first time.
This blog has assessed all the aspects of their squad and predicts how far they will go in this event. So, let’s dive right into it.
South Africa Squad Analysis
South Africa have named a solid all-round squad for the upcoming mega event. The following players have flown to Australia carrying the Proteas’ hopes of winning their first World Cup:
Temba Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, David Miller, Rillee Rossouw, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Keshav Maharaj,Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada
Reserves: Bjorn Fortuin, Lizaad Williams, Andile Phehlukwayo
The South African squad has six specialist batsmen along with two wicket-keeper batters. In the bowling department, they have opted for two spinners and five genuine fast bowlers.
A point of concern for them is the absence of a proper all-rounder in the squad after an injury ruled out Dwaine Pretorius. It will force South Africa to go with Maharaj or Parnell at #7, compromising their batting depth.
Potential Starting XI
Keeping in mind South Africa’s squad and recent preferences, their starting XI will look like this:
- Temba Bavuma (c)
- Quinton de Kock (wk)
- Rilee Rossouw
- Aiden Markram
- David Miller
- Tristan Stubbs
- Keshav Maharaj
- Kagiso Rabada
- Tabraiz Shamsi
- Lungi Ngidi
- Anrich Nortje
There are a couple of talking points about this playing XI. Firstly, if South Africa decide to go with four pacers, considering the pace-friendly conditions in Australia, Parnell or Jansen can replace Shamsi.
Secondly, South Africa may be happy to stick with two spinners but want to strengthen their late middle order. In this case, Parnell will come in at the expense of Ngidi to bat at #7.
Strengths of South Africa’s Squad
Here’s what makes South Africa a prime contender for the World Cup in Australia:
An In-Form and Experienced Middle Order
Rossouw, Markram, and Miller will bat at #3,#4, and #5 in the upcoming mega event. These three individuals have been playing international cricket for many years and have been in great touch of the late.
In T20Is, Miller strikes at an impressive 145.5, but what if I tell you that Markram’s and Rossouw’s strike rates are even higher? Markram’s SR is 151.2, while Rossouw’s SR is 152.9 in T20 International cricket.
So, the Proteas’ middle order is highly destructive, and even if one of these three bats deep, he can single-handedly win the game for his team.
Two World Class Fast Bowlers
Without a doubt, Kagiso Rabada is one of the best fast bowlers going around. He can swing the new ball, bowl at 145+ kph regularly, and come back and execute his yorkers to perfection at the death. So, he can do almost everything a pacer is expected to do for his team.
On the other hand, Anrich Nortje has made a name for himself by bowling some lightning-fast spells. His ability to clock 150 clicks regularly can push any batsman on the back foot. In his brief T20 International career, he has conceded runs at an economy rate of just seven and a half.
South Africa’s chances of making a mark in this tournament heavily depend on this duo.
Weaknesses of South Africa’s Squad
Despite performing well in T20 cricket this year, all is not going right for South Africa. The following are the most concerning areas of their game:
A Struggling Opening Pair
Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma has recovered from his injury and is back in the T20 side. However, he and de Kock haven’t been in the best of forms recently. De Kock’s strike rate has been 126.54 this year in T20Is. It’s his lowest in the last five years.
If these two get out early and expose their middle order to the new ball, things can go bizarre quickly for them, as they did against India in the first T20I.
Lack of Batting Depth
As mentioned earlier, South Africa will bat either Maharaj or Parnell at #7. Maharaj has never scored a fifty in T20 cricket, and Parnell’s T20I SR is just 102.
It’s fair to say that their tail will start from #7. If they don’t have one of their top six batters at the crease in the slog overs, they might even struggle to score eight runs an over.
Predicted Performers for South Africa
We feel that these two guys are gonna rock for South Africa in the upcoming World T20:
The southpaw is averaging 56.60 with an SR of 186.18 in T20Is this year. Everything in his arc is disappearing, and he is playing pace and spin equally well. There’s every chance of him continuing his golden run of form in this event.
Nortje has got great pace, and he uses the short ball pretty well. Apart from being quick, he holds fine control over his line and length. He will certainly be a threat to the batters in these helpful conditions.
Predicted Flops for South Africa
Everybody playing at the International level has the capability to be a match-winner for their side. However, anybody can have a bad tournament, and we reckon that these two blokes are going to have a tough time in the ICC T20 WC 2022:
With a strike rate of 116.49 in T20I cricket and 123.55 in T20 cricket, Bavuma is yet to prove himself as a T20 cricketer. In the three-match T20 series against India, his scores were 0(4), 0(7), and 3(8).
The way he is struggling, there aren’t many chances of him doing any wonders in this marque event.
The chinaman has an economy rate of 9.38 in T20 International cricket in 2022. Also, he has been struggling to bowl with proper control and build pressure on the opposition.
Considering his form, he is not expected to do anything exceptional for his team in this tournament.
South Africa’s Recent Form
South Africa have won 3 and lost 2 games in their most recent 5 T20I fixtures. Here are the details:
- Oct 4 – Won by 49 runs against India
- Oct 2 – Lost by 16 runs against India
- Sep 28 – Lost by 8 wickets against India
- Aug 5 – Won by 44 runs against Ireland
- Aug 3 – Won by 21 runs against Ireland
Prediction for South Africa’s Group Matches
- Oct 23 – B2 (South Africa to win)
- Oct 27 – Bangladesh (South Africa to win)
- Oct 30 – Pakistan (Pakistan to win)
- Nov 3 – India (India to win)
- Nov 6 – A2 (South Africa to win)
South Africa have never beaten Pakistan in a T20 World Cup game. Also, India have won 4 T20 WC games against SA, while SA have won one against them. Since 2010, the Proteas have always been under pressure against these two Asian sides.
That’s why we predict them to lose against both India and Pakistan while winning the other three games in the super-12 stages.
There’s no doubt that South Africa are one of the favorites on paper for the World T20 in Australia. They have some champion players like Rabada, Miller, Nortje, and Rossouw on their side.
However, the injury of Dwaine Pretorius has made a massive impact on their team balance. Without a genuine all-rounder in the squad, they will be playing with one batsman short, which can cost them dearly.
Also, Rabada and Nortje tend to struggle on flat pitches. If it happens, they might find themselves wanting.
Bearing all these factors in mind, we expect South Africa to be eliminated from the group stages after losing against Pakistan and India.
Final Verdict: South Africa won’t be able to qualify for the T20 World Cup 2022 semi-finals.