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Pressure is SA’s toughest enemy

Pressure is SA’s toughest enemy
The current crop of players led by the ever-talented AB de Villiers, however, will look to shed the tag of ‘chokers’ and ‘nearly men’ and give the country their first major trophy.

South Africa’s World Cup campaign has been a tale of heartbreaks - right from their first participation in 1992 when the rain gods conspired against them and in 2011 when they were the odds on favourite to beat New Zealand in the quarters but the batting failed to cope with the pressure.

Not to forget, in between there was also the small situation of a tied semifinal with Australia, who advanced because of group-stage win.South Africa were poised to win the game, needing one to win off four balls and a wicket in hand. But a major mix-up between Lance Klusener and Allan Donald gave the Australians the thoroughfare.

More than beating their opponents South Africa will have to battle the demons within and push back the pressure under which they have been weighed down one too many times. The scars of events of the past still exist but led by De Villiers it would be hard to bet against them.

The Proteas will feel right at home in Australia and New Zealand, and a classy batting line-up backed by an arsenal of quicks with the ability to not only beat batsmen by pace but also their movement. South Africa will have little problems getting past the group stage and their only real test could be against the defending champions India.

The likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir will surely cause more than a few problems for the opposition. The batting will be led by De Villiers, who in the lead-up to the tournament, smashed the fastest century in ODIs, off just 31 balls in a match against the West Indies. He has also hovered around the World No.1 one-day ranking for the last five years and captaincy has not dimmed his form either.

The solid batting skills of Hashim Amla at the top of the order, juxtaposed with the ruthleness of JP Duminy and David Miller, leaves South Africa with a right mix of sanity and aggression. Many believe this will be the tournament when South Africa claim the elusive trophy but that’s what they said the last time and the time before that. Squad: AB de Villiers (captain), Hashim Amla, Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn.

Don’t return as losers: SA Sports minister warns
South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has warned its cricket team of failure in the forthcoming World Cup, forbidding them from becoming “a bunch of losers”. The comments came during the team’s send-off for Australia Wednesday. They received a rousing farewell from their fans but the buoyant mood was dampened by Mbalula’s deflating comments.

South Africa, perennial chokers in World Cup, are already under immense pressure to win their maiden title. “We don’t want you in the World Cup to add numbers and just become a bunch of losers,” Mbalula was quoted as saying by espncricinfo.com.

“You are not going to be playing with robots, you are playing with people. You are the special ones. You are the chosen ones. It does not mean you are irreplaceable but all of you are capable of doing the duty for us,”  he added.
Agencies

Agencies

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