Proteas

CWC 2019: Proteas wrestle sickly UK stats

2019-04-04 17:00
Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - A drought stretching back 21 years in one-day international trophy-hoisting success on those shores stands as a major tempering factor to South Africa's chances of landing the Cricket World Cup in England.

Apart from their much-publicised jinx in the premier tournament anyway - not even an appearance in the final to boast yet - the Proteas will hit those shores in May mindful that any significant success in ODIs there has also eluded them for more than two decades.

You have to wind the clock back to 1998 for the last time SA emerged victorious from any 50-overs event in either England or Wales, the joint landscapes for CWC 2019.

It was in a three-match Texaco Trophy series against England themselves (final outcome 2-1), when Hansie Cronje's side secured the spoils early by following up their Oval triumph with a 32-run win in the decisive second match at Old Trafford.

Lance Klusener, in what would become just as familiar a party trick at the 1999 World Cup roughly a year later, gave vital late-innings impetus to South Africa's 226 for nine - possibly deemed a better-than-par total then - with his unbeaten 55, Gerhardus Liebenberg nudged a diligent 39, and Allan Donald (three for 32) was a handful when England, captained by Adam Hollioake, fell short at the crease.

But that’s the last time there was significant reason to pop corks in the SA dressing room in the UK as far as ODIs are concerned.

Since then, there have been failed cracks by the country in that landscape at one World Cup (1999), three Champions Trophy tournaments (2004, 2013 and 2017), two triangular series, and three further purely bilateral ones against the English.

Although the '99 World Cup was a true heartbreaker - South Africa were arguably the best team for much of it, and only exited on a technicality after tying the dramatic semi-final against Australia at Edgbaston - there have also been some pronounced low points on the ODI front for them in the UK.

One was the 4-0 whitewashing (with one no-result) from England in a 2008 bilateral series, while there has also been an ominous habit of the Proteas wilting at very key stages of tournaments there.

One example is the 2013 Champs Trophy semi-final against the host nation at The Oval, when the Proteas tumbled to a lamentable 80 for eight batting first, only to have some blushes spared by David Miller and Rory Kleinveldt more than doubling the final total to 175 all out; they were nevertheless crushed by seven wickets.

Victory to England by exactly the same margin had occurred in the final of the 2003 NatWest Triangular (also featuring Zimbabwe), when South Africa were bundled out for a hapless 107 at Lord's.

The Proteas' last two ODI-related visits to England haven't exactly been studded with success, either: in 2017, they lost 2-1 to England in what should have been a perfect acclimatisation for the Champions Trophy hot on its tail, and then won only a solitary game of three (against Sri Lanka) at the bigger event to bow out ahead of the knockout stage.

Since that 1998 Texaco Trophy success, South Africa have won 16 ODIs against all comers on English/Welsh pitches, but lost 19, with two ties and two no-results.

It is not a record to suggest the bookies are going to have them especially high on their list of favourites for CWC 2019, although a more optimistic view would be that flying a little beneath the radar may also prove a novel, constructive experience for Faf du Plessis and company ...

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  cwc 2019  |  faf du plessis  |  cricket

 

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