T20 World Cup – Preview -South Africa

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In Group A along with the West Indies and Bangladesh.

South Africa – The hosts will favour themselves to go far in this World Cup, and in so doing hope to win the countries first major cricket honours.(The have won the ICC championships, but not a World Cup) The will have to guard against the burden of expectation by both themselves and their country, a burden that has proved to strong in each of the last 4 World Cups, where they were amongst the favourites to win. In 2003, the last time South Africa hosted a World Cup, they failed to progress past the group stage in a tournament they were fancied to win, both as hosts and on form. Along with England, South Africa has the most experienced T20 domestic league and thus have more experienced players in the shortened version of the game. They have dipped into this pool of talent for their squad with the inclusion of Gulam Bodi, Albie Morkel, and Johan van der Wath.

Players to watch
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Graeme Smith – The South African captain is the leading batsman in international T20 cricket, with 259 runs in 5 matches and a strike rate of 138, including 3 fifties. His best score of 89 not out came against the Australians and took just 59 balls.

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Shaun Pollock – the senior bowler in the attack, his batting will be as important in this format as his bowling. While economy is used loosely in T20, when anything under 8 is good, Pollock will have to lead from the front and take the pressure off the less experienced bowlers in the SA attack, like Albie and Morne Morkel. His free hitting stroke play may be South Africa’s secret weapon, both as a finisher of an innings in the lower order, or has an injection of aggression higher up.

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Albie Morkel – The Titans all rounder has had the label of potential hanging on his shoulders for a few seasons now and it may be time for him to cash that in and prove his ability to be a big player in the current squad. Like Pollock, Morkel can be expected to float anywhere in the batting order, and while his bowling will be relied upon to restrict and take wickets, it’s his ability to hit any attack far and wide that will have all South Africans hoping for an on form Albie Morkel. Scored 97 batting at number 3 in the last ODI South Africa played, against Zimbabwe, and it will be that form that he will hope to carry through to the T20 World Cup. The scene may be set for Albie to come of age.

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Morne Morkel – The younger brother of Albie, Morne has shown a great deal of promise in his young career, both as a future Test and ODI star. More then the pace he is able to bowl at it will be the bounce he gets from any wicket that will cause batsman problems. A strike bowler who is also economical is a rarity, and in Morne SA have this scarce resource that they will hope to get the best out of. Has shown capability with the bat that wont see he bat higher than 9 but will ensure depth that is needed in this form.

While T20 can be a lottery, more about luck then anything else, there is a fair amount of skill and tactical know how needed to best utilise the talent at your disposal. A South African team packed with all rounders, and Twenty Twenty experience, backed by home ground experience, may finally be able to make the impact on the world stage that their talent warrants.

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6 Responses to T20 World Cup – Preview -South Africa

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