World Cup: Five South Africa players to watch out for

Being a childhood friend of the legendary AB de Villiers — the skipper of the 2015 edition — Faf has borrowed the strength, strategies and all things positive to cause a turnaround.

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis at a training session ahead of the opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup against England at The Oval.   -  AFP

 

South Africa and World Cups have been enemies. The trophy has been running away from its grasp since its debut in 1992. Seven years later, in 1999, the Proteas had the best chance but it choked against Australia in the semifinal. The story was no different four years ago, when it lost to New Zealand, again in the semis. This time around, there is no AB de Villiers which increases responsibility for the senior crop.

Faf du Plessis: Every time South Africa goes into a World Cup, the ‘choke’ joke starts doing the rounds. Every captain wants to get the monkey off the back. Being a childhood friend of the legendary AB de Villiers — the skipper of the 2015 edition — Faf has borrowed the strength, strategies and all things positive to cause a turnaround. Having found form with the bat in the IPL for Chennai Super Kings, the right-hander will be the key to the Proteas’ batting line-up.

Quinton de Kock.   -  AFP

 

Quinton de Kock: A free-flowing batsman, who can score runs at will, is a key player for the Proteas. The left-hander has scored all over the world and a great start from him could set the tone for South Africa. His hook off the short-pitched deliveries is a delight to watch. De Kock improved his spin game by training on spin mats. He is a fine wicketkeeper too.

Hashim Amla: This is probably Amla’s last World Cup and like he says, he is “hungrier than before”. The senior batsman went through a rough patch and his position in the squad was under scanner. But when it comes to big tournaments, Amla is the guy to do the job.

J.P. Duminy: Duminy made his ODI debut for South Africa in 2004 but his century (166) and an unbeaten half-century on his Test debut in Australia, when the Proteas successfully chased down 414, remains the highlight of his career. Duminy offers versatility with his off-spin, while he has tended to be a floater in what has often been a high-quality batting line-up. Duminy has not been as consistent with the bat as his talent suggests, but he remains a key member of the Faf du Plessis-led team.

Kagiso Rabada: There is no delivery that he can’t bowl. Rabada is a match-winner. Despite the presence of the seasoned Dale Steyn, Rabada is expected to lead the pace attack for his variations and accuracy. He has the yorker, bouncer and anger — all in one as a power combo! The IPL experience with Delhi Capitals helped him assess the top batters around the world better.

Kagiso Rabada.   -  REUTERS

 

Most of the matches start at 10.30 am (UK time) and 3 pm (IST). The day-night matches will start at 1.30 pm (UK time) and 6 pm (IST). It will be aired on Star Sports and Hotstar in India.