SWOT analysis: Can South Africa shed the chokers tag?

South Africa’s bowling, comprising the likes of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi and Imran Tahir, will be its biggest strength going into the World Cup.

Steyn and rabada

Dale Steyn with his teammate Kagiso Rabada during a practice session   -  K R DEEPAK

In 2015, South Africa had a brilliant run until it crashed out in a close finish against New Zealand in the semifinal. With no A.B. de Villiers, Faf du Plessis will lead South Africa in a World Cup for the first time.

Sportstar does a SWOT analysis of South Africa, leading to the World Cup.

Strengths

South Africa’s bowling is its biggest strength going into the World Cup. Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi form a potent pace attack that will be complemented by legspinner Imran Tahir. Steyn (shoulder), Rabada (back) and Ngidi (side strain) are coming off injury layoffs and from South Africa’s point of view, the fitness of the three bowlers will be paramount.

In Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris, who replaced the injured Anrich Nortje in the 15-man squad, South Africa has two quality seam-bowling all-rounders who provide balance to the playing XI.

READ | Dhoni, through the eyes of family, teachers, friends

Weaknesses

In the absence of the now-retired A.B. de Villiers, South Africa’s batting lacks the x-factor. It doesn’t quite have the big-hitting batsmen in the lower middle order to propel the Proteas to big totals if the top order doesn’t deliver. South Africa will look up to Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla and du Plessis to lay the foundation and get big hundreds that will help the team post scores in excess of 350.

ALSO READ | Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the antithesis of a Merathiya

Opportunities

South Africa is not a team that’s being considered a favourite to win the World Cup, with India, England and Australia carrying the ‘favourite’ tag into the tournament. Ahead of the team’s departure to England, captain du Plessis said: “In the previous World Cups, we wanted to do superhuman things. We have to do the basics as well as possible; teams don’t win the World Cup by someone scoring a century off 50 balls or taking seven for 20.”

In a lot of ways, the pressure is off South Africa, which can, therefore, play with a clear mind and feed off the pressure that the likes of India, England and even Australia might feel.

RELATED | Kuldeep Yadav - the accidental chinaman

Threats

Given that only four teams can make the knockout stage of the tournament, South Africa is likely to face competition from Pakistan and New Zealand, though results against India, England and Australia will also be pivotal to its chances of qualifying for the semifinals.

Squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), JP Duminy, David Miller, Dale Steyn, Andile Phehlukwayo, Imran Tahir, Hashim Amla, Kagiso Rabada, Dwaine Pretorius, Quinton de Kock (wk), Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Tabraiz Shamsi.