In this look ahead to the cricket world cup in England I’ll be looking at who I consider to be contenders, pretenders and dark horses. First off I have to start with my nation of birth South Africa. This has been the cup that has eluded us for many, many years; suffering lots of world cup heart breaks along the way none more famous than the Allan Donald/ Lance Kluesner debacle of 1999.
After that a miscalculation in 2003 left us short when the rains came down in Durban leaving the match to be decided by the Duckworth and Lewis system.
Yes in some world cups South Africa have been unlucky but for the most part I believe we haven’t played to our potential.
Can it be different in 2019?
Yes I believe it can be this time around. This time we coming into the tournament more as underdog rather than favorites and I believe this is where I think us as South Africans thrive. In recent times the team has not been a steady unit with Coach Otis Gibson looking to use multiple options in recent games giving the illusion that we don’t know our best XI. However it has been explained recently that going into the series as far back as the Pakistan series the team was 90% decided and only a few positions needed looking at. I believe the South Africans have a great squad going into the tournament with players in form at the right time and a great mix of youth and experience and can go a long way in the tournament, if not all the way.
India is probably perennial favorites for this tournament and with good reason. They boast a range of talented cricketers in their side, non-more so than their illustrious captain Virat Kholi. The man has been nothing less than inspirational for his team and recently has back to back hundreds against Australia, cementing his status as no.1 batsman in the ODI format.
The conditions may favor the Indians too with flat batting tracks being prepared for high scoring, high entertainment cricket to be played. With the fire power India has and a bowling attack that can hold its own against the very best it would be foolish to think the Indians won’t make a fist of this tournament once again. With Kholi leading them and MS there too to help him along the way it would appear the stars are aligning for the Indians once again.
The West Indies are always a dangerous team in any game or tournament. The way they play the game form means very little it’s all about which team turns up on the day and with the Universe boss, Chris Gayle, back at the top of the order look to him to provide the spark the West Indies need as the man is in great form going into the tournament. He recently smashed the Host’s England to all parts of stadiums in the West Indies hitting 6s with ease and while conditions will be different in England I reckon the big man has the experience to counter that. I do however believe their bowling attack will be under fire as I think they lack the penetration required to go far in the tournament but if they come off with the bat this might not matter. The toss will probably be the most important part of the game for their captain Jason Holder. If they can put scoreboard pressure on teams they may find themselves in a semifinal match in the not too distant future
To be continued…