Sri Lanka, Proteas have a point to prove

HARARE - There is no doubting the natural flair and ability of both South Africa and the home side Sri Lanka, who are in the same group with Zimbabwe at the upcoming ICC World Twenty20, with both sides having the luxury of powerful batting lineups as well as match winning bowlers.

Looking at South Africa, it is remarkable if not frustrating to see how many times this super-talented team have stumbled and fallen at crucial times of world cups.

On the eve of the fourth addition of the ICC World Twenty20 which will be played in Sri Lanka, fans around the world are already cracking jokes and asking if AB de Villiers and his men remembered to pack their cases of choca cola as they already brace themselves for another spectacular exit.

So do the Proteas have what it takes to actually win a World Cup? The answer to that is, of course they do!

South Africa have all the ingredients and the tools to go all the way and to be brutally honest, they have always had the fire power to lift the trophy. Be it 50-over or 20-over cricket.

They have arguably the world’s best ever all-rounder in Jacques Kallis as well as an array of free flowing batsmen with the likes of AB de Villiers and the world’s hottest property, Hashim Amla, who are more than capable of toying with any bowling attack in the world.

Their bowlers have genuine pace and they are without question the world’s fittest team and their fielding can only be described as brilliant!

To back it all up, they also have an amazing coaching staff led by Gary Kirsten, who the players respect.

On paper, they look untouchable and yet, when it comes to big time pressure, they crumble.

It wouldn’t be at all surprising if they qualified for the Super Eight without breaking a sweat, but it is at the following stage that the wheels come off.

Many people have put this down to complacency which, let’s be honest, has on more than one occasion got the better of South African teams throughout their return to international cricket. But now that Gary Kirsten has taken over, attitudes of the senior players in particular have changed for the better.

The problem that they still have is most definitely their top order as they still struggle to find a suitable opening partner for Hashim Amla. In the past, Jacques Kallis has opened the batting and this may very well be the way to go if the Proteas are wanting to get off to a good start.

The idea of Amla and Kallis opening the batting in a Twenty20 international would have made many South African supporters shudder to the bone due to the fact that at one point neither Kallis nor Amla were known for their aggressive stroke play.

But this perception may very well have to be reviewed again as both Kallis and in particular Amla have proved that they are capable of taking advantage of the powerplay overs as well as rotating the strike in the middle overs. - Dean du Plessis

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