Monday, 4 April 2011

Tournament review: South Africa

Continuing our tournament reviews, here is an assessment of how South Africa did.

The cliché that South Africa always choke in World Cups was given new credence by their spectacular implosion against New Zealand. In topping their group ahead of India, South Africa showed they possessed a range of wicket-taking options they have not always possessed, with Imran Tahir exceptional. The batting, led by AB de Villiers, was also powerful. Yet they were ultimately exposed by a weak lower middle-order, with Johan Botha (ODI average of 19) never good enough to be a number seven.

Star man
It could have been de Villiers, Tahir or even Robin Petersen, but Dale Steyn showed his class again. His bowling against India, when he claimed five wickets, part of a total of 12, to trigger a collapse of 9/29, showed off the brilliance of his yorkers.

Disappointment
Outgoing captain Graeme Smith failed to score a half-century in the tournament, suggesting he may find it hard to continue to merit a place in the ODI side.

Prospects
They remain an excellent side in all three formats, but the c word will remain their biggest nemesis. Need some allrounders – Albie Morkel, perhaps? – to ensure they bat deeper. In search of a new coach too, Gary Kirsten would do very nicely.

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