Team India’s lacklustre performance in the recent past has made it vulnerable and other teams confident to put on a great show in the upcoming ICC World Cup.
That being said, many teams are already counting out the defending champions and focusing on their own strengths. India not looking confident enough presents other teams an opportunity to win the most coveted prize in cricket.
England, New Zealand and especially South Africa would be fancying their chances this year. South Africa, who are also referred to as chokers because of their inability to pull off matches later in the competition, would have their sights on the World Cup.
They have had a phenomenal cricketing year thus far (also 2014) and they would want to get rid of the ‘chokers’ tag once and for all. So what exactly are South Africa’s chances at winning the trophy?
In the ICC rankings, team South Africa is placed at number three in ODIs. Eight members out of their 15-member squad have appeared in the previous World Cup matches.
Out of these eight men, two players – AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla – are in sublime form. Where the former recently recorded the fastest century in ODI history, the latter cannot let go of his habit of playing consistent innings, regardless of the opponents.
Other teams cannot ignore their bowlers either. Dale Steyn is still one of the most ferocious bowlers in cricket (ODI, Test and T20). Supporting him are Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir.
Basically, the squad is full of match-winners. However, their habit of crumbling under pressure situations is something that needs working. South Africa has already risked it by including half-fit wicketkeeper Quinton De Kock.
The team is gelled well together and is seen as one of the frontrunners for winning the World Cup. South Africa played 19 One-Day Internationals in 2014 of which they won 12 matches. Such a result means that the players are physically and psychologically strong and can bring home the trophy for the first time since their inclusion in cricket.
South Africa is placed in Pool B. Other teams competing alongside them in this pool are West Indies, India, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Ireland and UAE. They play their first match at Hamilton against Zimbabwe, which they are slated to win.
If the team manages to rid the psychological barrier that has often resulted in them being labelled as ‘chokers’, South Africa can really take home the trophy after participating in the tournament on prior six occasions.