The 2019 Cricket World, which will be held between England and Wales respectively, is fast approaching and the Proteas will be aiming to go all out to bring the trophy home. The Proteas have played Sri Lanka in a One Day International and T20 series ahead of the World Cup.
In previous tournaments, the Proteas have not gone all the way in securing the title but have come close, falling short at the Semi-Finals on four occasions. The Proteas have appeared in the tournament on seven occasions. Being the host nation for the 2003 Cricket World Cup, they failed to progress past the group stages.
They are set to have two warm up fixtures against Sri Lanka and the West Indies before the tournament.
In the 1992 World Cup, then captain Kepler Wessels and his troops went all the way to the Semi-Finals. The Proteas were knocked out by England in a game that was rain affected. South Africa needed 22 more runs to win the contest from 13 balls when the rain intervened. After that period, play went back on but with South Africa now needing 19 runs from a single ball. A new rule introduced for that World Cup meant the target was reduced only by the amount of runs the team had scored in the least productive two overs with the bat. Pakistan went on to win that World Cup beating England at the finals.
At the 1996 World Cup, the Proteas were led by Hansie Cronje who actually took his side to the Quarter finals. South Africa fell short at the hands of the West Indies by a mere 19 runs. This was not the only World Cup Cronje led the troops in.
During the 1999 tournament they went on smoothly through the group stages only to be knocked out at the Semi-finals. Australia tied the match and went into the final against Pakistan because they finished higher in the Super Sixes.
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Host nation South Africa in 2003 made a disappointing exit in the group stages when they faced Sri Lanka needing a win to advance in the final group stage clash. They played to a draw and Sri Lanka advanced on higher log points leaving many fans bewildered and disappointed.
In the 2007 tournament the Proteas led by Graeme Smith went all the way to the Semi-Finals again to face Australia. Smith won the toss and elected to bat first. South Africa produced the worst batting performance in the World Cup only scoring 149 all out. Australia never really struggled despite losing an early wicket and eased to reaching the required target within 32 overs.
In 2011 after going through the group stages Smith’s Proteas side were set to face New Zealand in the Quarter finals. The Black Caps won the toss and elected to bat first setting a total of 221 in their 50 overs. The Proteas only managed 172 all out in 43.2 overs losing the match by 49 runs.
Belief, hope and expectations were high in the 2015 tournament as AB de Villiers side had been doing pretty well in the lead up. The nation, players and management believed this would be the team to go all the way. AB’s side in the Semi-finals against New Zealand set a target of 281-5 in their 43 overs. The game had been reduced to 43 overs per side and New Zealand’s target had been revised to 298 due to rain. They would go on to reach the target within 42.5 overs with 6 wickets down. This was recorded as the highest successful run-chase in a World Cup knockout match. Also going on to being New Zealand’s first time qualifying for the World Cup final.
With the 2019 tournament almost upon us, Faf du Plessis and his troops will be holding the nations hopes in their arms almost literary. His side has been having batting woes and big star names not being able to produce expected performances. The Proteas will head into the tournament with some concern. The bowlers in the side have been up to standard and will need batters like Amla, Hendricks, du Plessis, Miller, among others, to produce the goods.
Quinton de Kock has been in fine form with bat in hand and will look to take that form into the tournament, whilst breakout stars Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Radaba will be key to tearing up the opposition. Experienced bowler Dale Steyn is also be key to the Proteas bowling attack.
SABC sports commentator Mluleki Ntsabo believes the only formula for our Proteas to bring back the trophy is simply making sure they win all their games.
“First of all you’ve got to win your games. What I love about this competition is that you play each and every one before you go to the Semi-finals because your top four that finishes at the top, the first two in one group and the other then they slug it out for Semi-finals and the finals,” says Ntsabo.
Listen to Mluleki Ntsabo interview: