SA get new chance to remove unwanted tag

2016-03-11 13:09
Faf du Plessis (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - South Africa will believe they have a chance to finally shed their image as major tournament chokers when they head to the World Twenty20 in India as one of the form sides.

The Proteas have often entered global championships in limited-overs formats among the more favoured sides during the past two decades, but bar a victory in the now defunct ICC KnockOut Trophy in 1998, have picked up an unwanted reputation for self capitulation and blowing their chances.

Not short of form ahead of the trip to South Asia, the Proteas have won nine of their last 11 completed Twenty20 games since January 2015, including series wins on spinning wickets in Bangladesh and India, as well as home successes against England.

"I honestly don't feel that we have a hole in our team," captain Faf du Plessis said.

"I don't feel that there are any weak areas, I feel that we have a well-balanced squad of 15 players and the 11 that are playing at the moment are doing really well.

"What you look for from players as a captain is consistency, and our consistency in Twenty20 cricket over the last two years has been excellent."

One key decision that still needs to be made, however, is whether Hashim Amla or young wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock will open the batting with AB de Villiers.

Both have excellent records in South Asian conditions but perhaps Amla's greater experience will swing it in his favour.

Either way, the form of De Villiers will be a major factor in any success the side has in the competition.

"Especially in India, someone like AB has the potential to blast a team away and get a hundred... because he scores so quickly," Du Plessis added.

"I feel AB is best suited to bat as much as possible."

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir will lead the bowling attack, having been the side's most effective performer in this format in the last 12 months, and they will also rely on the cutters and change of pace of all-rounders Davis Wiese and Chris Morris, who have emerged as valuable assets with bat and ball.

Fast bowler Dale Steyn has been included in the squad despite a run of injuries that has seen him play very little, while young seamer Kagiso Rabada has emerged an important cog at the beginning and end of the innings.

South Africa open their campaign against England on Mar. 18. They also play Sri Lanka, West Indies and a qualifier in their Super 10 stage pool.

Read more on:    proteas  |  faf du plessis  |  cricket

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