Men’s T20 World Cup
South Africa at Men’s T20 World Cup, headed by Mark Boucher, has enlisted the help of seasoned players in their quest for their first ICC Men’s T20 World Cup victory. Surprisingly, the Proteas have never reached the final of this tournament and have only made it to the last four twice.
Despite that record, there are just four new names in the side that lost out on the 2021 semi-finals to eventual winners Australia on net run rate. Even those who have been recruited in are familiar names, with Wayne Parnell and Rilee Rossouw both picked after returning to the T20 squad after many years away at the Men’s T20 World Cup.
So, will the old guard be able to lead South Africa to their first T20 title, or will the wait continue?
Prospects for 2022
Men’s T20 World Cup, South Africa’s hopes were significantly harmed when great batter Rassie van der Dussen was ruled out due to injury. The 33-year-old sustained a finger injury during the second Test against England, and his absence will be felt heavily in the middle order. Another noticeable absence is all-rounder Dwaine Pretorious, although his late departure has not reduced the group.
Pretorious’ successor Marco Jansen burst into the international scene this summer with a Test five-for against England and has been dubbed “the whole package” by Sri Lanka icon Mahela Jayawardene. The fact that he was originally named as a travelling reserve illustrates the depth and breadth of skill in the side, which includes top-order batsmen Rossouw and Quinton de Kock, as well as spin lords Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj at the Men’s T20 World Cup.
South Africa’s greatest chance to win a World Cup ever, with a terrific balance and a squad well-suited to the grounds and circumstances in Australia. To advance to the semi-finals, they must show they can flourish against sub-continental competition in a group that includes India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
History of the T20 World Cup
South Africa was anticipated to do well in the first Men’s T20 World Cup. With home advantage and a lineup full of big names, they seemed to be a solid chance to go the distance. However, despite winning their first four matches convincingly, they were ousted from the competition on net run rate after a crushing loss to India in their fourth Super 8s encounter. They did reach the last four two years later, but fell just short in the semi-final against Pakistan, losing by seven runs to the eventual victors.
That marked the end of the Mickey Arthur era, but a change in coach for the next two tournaments failed to produce a change in fortune. A return to the semi-finals in 2014 proved to be a false dawn, with no appearances in the final four in either of the two subsequent tournaments, though they were perhaps unlucky not to progress last time out, losing only one of their five Super 12 fixtures and having the same record as group winners, England.
Boucher’s team’s Men’s T20 World Cup preparations could not have gone better. They defeated India in their first two T20 matches after last year’s World Cup, taking a 2-0 series lead. David Miller excelled with the bat, while Anrich Nortje was as steady as ever. They were held to a draw in the following two matches before the final was called off due to weather. Following that was a series triumph in England, with a 90-run victory in the last of three matches a true statement of purpose, with Shamsi apparently unplayable at the Rose Bowl, closing with figures of five for 24.
Ireland was the next team to be eliminated before returning to India, with the hosts winning 2-1 in early October at Men’s T20 World Cup. The highlight was unquestionably Rossouw’s match-winning 100 off just 48 balls in the final event, which essentially clinched his position in the World Cup team and they’ve taken that form into Australia, defeating New Zealand by nine wickets in the first of South Africa’s two warm-up games.
Such a strong win against last year’s runners-up will undoubtedly raise eyebrows before the tournament even begins.
The Proteas have two batters rated in the top ten in the world, a feat only equaled by Pakistan. Aiden Markram is ranked fourth, with keeper De Kock rounding out the top ten. Markram averages 41.05 in Men’s T20 World Cup internationals and has over 150 hits, while De Kock has already struck two T20 international half-centuries this year, and the duo form a devastating top-order combination.
The best bowlers
In recent years, Shamsi has established himself as one of the world’s top white-ball bowlers, with only Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan and Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga ranking higher. He will be well assisted by Maharaj, while Nortje has emerged as one of the Delhi Capitals’ most valuable assets in the Indian Premier League. He has the speed to beat the best in the world, as does Kagiso Rabada, and experienced left-armer Parnell will seek for sideways movement with the new ball.
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