Can The Proteas Prolong Their Supremacy At The Top

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The last time South Africa won a major tournament, the ICC champions trophy was named the Wills International Cup. The year was 1998, an inspired Jacque Kallis helped South Africa win their first substantial trophy. Since then, a lot of players have come and gone. Stalwarts, who have taken world cricket by a storm, but the team hasn’t managed to win another silverware. Why does this elite bunch falter at the stage where it matters the most? Has the pressure gotten the better of them? The South African team has produced some of the finest cricketers; From Graeme Pollock to Allan Donald, from Gary Kirsten to Graeme Smith, from Jacque Kallis to AB de Villiers. These cricketers are qualified enough to walk into any team on any given day. What they don’t have though, is an ICC medal. Let’s take a look at South Africa’s performance in yesteryear in the Champions Trophy.

Why does this elite bunch falter at the stage where it matters the most? Has the pressure gotten the better of them? The South African team has produced some of the finest cricketers; From Graeme Pollock to Allan Donald, from Gary Kirsten to Graeme Smith, from Jacque Kallis to AB de Villiers. These cricketers are qualified enough to walk into any team on any given day. What they don’t have though, is an ICC medal. Let’s take a look at South Africa’s performance in yesteryear in the Champions Trophy.

South Africa in Champions Trophy

1998/99      CHAMPIONS

2000           SEMI- FINALISTS

2002/03      SEMI- FINALISTS

2004           GROUP- STAGE

2006           SEMI- FINALISTS

2009           GROUP- STAGE

2013           SEMI- FINALISTS

They did manage to win the inaugural tournament. Since then they’ve qualified to the final four, 4 times and have faltered on all four occasions to make it to the finals. The 7th edition in 2013 proved to be extremely lucky for the Proteas. They lost the first game to India, beat Pakistan and a stalemate at Cardiff against the West Indies. After finishing the group stage with all possible results, they did manage to sneak in into the final 4, but were comprehensively beaten by the home team, England.

The Proteas look a formidable squad yet again, heading into the Champions Trophy. They’ve got some match winning combinations at the top of the order. Their all-rounders pack a punch and their bowlers can uproot the stump and discard it 30 yards from the pitch.

South Africa Squad For Champions Trophy 2017

SOUTH AFRICA: AB de Villiers(c), Quinton de Kock(wk), Faf Du Plesis, Hashim Amla, Kagiso Rabada, JP Duminy, Chris Morris, David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Imran Tahir, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo.

THE MIGHTY HASH: At 6 “1”, a supple human walking towards the batting crease might not seem/sound intimidating. But when Hashim Amla plays a defensive stroke or flicks one to the mid-wicket boundary, that’s when the domination starts. Amla oozes class. His stats are a comprehensive pointer, that we’re watching greatness scurry between the 66 yard strip. If Amla walks out to the centre, you’re in for a extended session. The manner in which he scores his runs is an absolute joy to watch for a cricket lover. If a question comes up saying “Which is more elastic, Iron or Amla’s wrist”? I’d go with the latter. Such is his authority over his conscience and he does know his limitations, which if measured are far beyond computing.

Amla’s now the fastest to 2000, 3000…….. 7000 in ODIs. As technically sound a player he is, the rate at which he scores makes him more daunting. You have this phenomenal player, who’s technique can’t be questioned; who’s strike rate is peerless and who’s demeanour elevates him way above the rest. Hashim Amla will go down in history as one of the best ever to don a South African jersey. Yes, he’s MIGHTY brilliant. He’s the MIGHTY HASH.

CAREER STATS: MATCHES 153, RUNS 7032, AVERAGE 50.22, STRIKE RATE 89.23, 100’s 24.

HIS RECORD IN ENGLAND: MATCHES 15, RUNS 697, AVERAGE 58.08, SR 92.68 100’s 1.

SOUTH AFRICA are a part of GROUP B. Here’s a look at their fixtures:

JUNE 3, GROUP B: SRI LANKA VS SOUTH AFRICA at the OVAL.

JUNE 7, GROUP B: PAKISTAN VS SOUTH AFRICA at EDGBASTON.

JUNE 11, GROUP B: INDIA VS SOUTH AFRICA at the OVAL.

THE HERCULEAN TOP ORDER:

The South African top order is loaded up with super heroes. If analogies are to be made, all of them can be matched with super heroes from Marvel or DC. The magnitude and the pace at which these fine cricketers score their runs is appalling. “You sometimes wonder, how did this team manage to lose”.

Amla and Quinton De Kock kick off proceedings. At one drop you have the incredible AB de Villiers, at 4, Faf Du Plesis, JP Duminy, David Miller and the rest to follow. The South African top order has a pleasant blend of brute force, classy elegance and an intrepid approach.

— Quinton De Kock has score 1417 runs in 30 games at an average of 50.60 in the last 18 months. Only David Warner has scored more runs(1755).

— Faf Du Plesis stands 5th on the list with 1255 runs at 54.56.

— Hashim Amla has scored over 1000 runs. 1024 to be precise, at 39.38.

— South Africa have won 20 off their last 30 games played. A win percentage of 66.66.

THE DELETERIOUS DUO:

Another reason why South Africa have won games consistently is because of their ability to pick wickets are regular intervals. Kagiso Rabada has nonplussed all of us, pleasantly though. His aptness to bowl at 150 clicks per hour and with immaculate accuracy has yielded him a spot in the top 5 of the ICC rankings in ODIs. The delivery to dismiss Usman Khawaja in the test series down under was adequate enough to prove to the world, that a young speedster has  made a mark, and what a bright mark he’s made. In 27 games Rabada has picked 43 wickets at 27.18(FROM JAN 1, 2016 TO MAY 29TH, 2017).

Wrist spinners add a lot of variety to the bowling attack. Be it the regular leg spinners or the left-arm chinaman. The likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Rashid Khan, Yuzvinder Chahal, Shadab Khan, Rashid khan, have made quite an impression, but a certain Imran Tahir rules the chart in the limited over formats. The leg spinner from South Africa has been picking up wickets by the dozen and his guile, deception and craft have outsmarted many a batsmen. Also, the pace at which he bowls makes it difficult for the batsmen to read him off the wicket. A slight misjudgement of line, you either hear the sound of timber or are struck plumb in-front. Accuracy has been one of his strengths. To top it, a meandering googly bowled with utmost flair. In 26 games, Tahir has picked 43 wickets at 26.62(FROM JAN 1, 2016 TO MAY 29TH 2017)

The Proteas have everything to play for and in AB de Villiers they have an able leader who can marshal his troops to a title victory.

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