Proteas safer under the radar

HARARE - Since South Africa's readmission to international sport, their cricket team has had the misfortune of missing out on a number of ICC events. Most of them due to the last minute pressure which subsequently earned them the labels of being chokers.

The only event that was robbed from the Proteas, was the 50-over World Cup back in 1992 when some truly shameful umpiring saw England beat Kepler Wessels’ men, and play Pakistan in the final.

Pakistan went on to win the tournament when they beat England by 22 runs in Melbourne.

Six years later, the World Cup was played on the subcontinent, and the Hansie Cronje-led team made short work of everyone they played, until they met the broad and uncompromising bat of Brian Charles Lara who singlehandedly terminated South Africa in the quarter final stage of the competition.

The lists of could should would have, is a rather lengthy one, which would no doubt bore the reader to sleep.

In this event however, many have lost belief in South Africa's abilities to perform at major events, and have switched focus to the likes of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India and even Australia and the West Indies as out siders.

This shift of focus will suit Faf du Plessis and his men down to the ground.

The Proteas got off to a disappointing start when they were narrowly beaten by Sri Lanka in their first game on Saturday, but then provided yet another nail biting cliff hanger when Dale Steyn produced an over close to perfect to snatch certain victory from the jaws of defeat when they beat New Zealand by two runs on Monday.

I believe that the Proteas most definitely have a chance of progressing, but, they do have a few areas they do need to look at in order to ensure their progression goes to plan.

First and most probably foremost they have to get AB de Villiers up the order to number Three.

In my humble opinion, AB is the best batsmen in the world. Not only does he have a sound technique, but, he is able to mix a very correct style with a brand of improvisation and innervation that has made him the class act he is.

South Africa also have a bit of a problem at the top of the order, with Hashim Amla struggling to get the ball off the square, which is a massive disappointment and crying shame, given the pure quality he has.

Though to be fair, the silent warrior showed glimpses of returning to form with a hard fought 41 against New Zealand.

David Miller, the multi-talented big hitting left hander has been a huge disappointment so far, but a good performance against the Netherlands on Thursday may be the tonic he needs for Saturday's crunch match against England.

In a bizarre kind of way, South Africa have played a game not to dissimilar to that of Zimbabwe's top order batsmen, taking a very almost to cautious approach in the power play.

And had it not been for a swashbuckling 83 off 46 balls by JP Duminy, the Proteas may very well have been trying to convince Zimbabwe to play them in a one off Test match.

Morne Morkel may find himself warming the bench after the Black caps tucked into his wayward bowling, and even though the Proteas are pretty much guaranteed to make short work of Netherlands on Thursday, they would be hoping to iron out some of the niggles that may still cost them dearly against a stronger team.


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