Many believed that South Africa had what it takes to not just make the knockout stages but to finally break the drought and win the tournament. To say that South Africa underperformed this World Cup would be a massive understatement. Many of their stars had a below-par campaign as injuries blighted their hope left, right and center.
In 2015, South Africa suffered another heartbreaking loss in a World Cup semi-final, this time to New Zealand. South Africa finished second to India in their group and comfortably defeated Sri Lanka as they looked to reach their first ever World Cup final. Having posted 281 in 43 overs, and with Duckworth-Lewis pushing the total up to 298 for the New Zealanders to chase, South Africa seemed to have one foot in the final.
However, New Zealand clawed their way back into the game with a 100-run partnership between Corey Anderson and Grant Elliot. New Zealand came into the last over requiring 12 runs to win and Dale Steyn had the ball in his hand. Elliot hit the penultimate ball for a six to knock South Africa out of the tournament.
2019 World Cup Squad
The Proteas certainly had a good 15-man squad for the tournament. In the batting department, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, and David Miller provided the much-needed experience.
On the bowling end, Kagiso Rabada was coming off an IPL campaign which saw him as the leading wicket-taker and was hoping for support from Lungi Ngidi and the returning Dale Steyn. Imran Tahir too was in good form ahead of the tournament.
However, Ngidi got injured during the tournament and struggled for form, and Steyn's World Cup never got started due to injury.
2019 World Cup Performance
The Proteas campaign got off to a bad start when they lost their opener to hosts England. They then were upset by Bangladesh, after falling short in the run chase. This was followed by an unsurprising loss to India, and already the Proteas' World Cup campaign was off to a horrible start.
Their next game against the West Indies was washed out but the Proteas were already 2 wickets down in the first 10 overs when the downpour started. While there was still a chance that South Africa could recover, it slowly reduced after every game. Though they beat Afghanistan, back to back losses to New Zealand and Pakistan ended their hopes of a place in the top-four.
They finished the tournament on a high after beating Sri Lanka and Australia in their last two league games.
Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen finished as the top-two run-getters for South Africa in the tournament with 387 and 311 runs respectively. Rassie van der Dussen, in particular, had an outstanding World Cup with three crucial fifties. Quinton de Kock too had a good tournament with the bat.
On the bowling front, Chris Morris finished with 13 wickets in seven innings. Imran Tahir picked up 11 wickets and conceded less than five runs an over.
After an outstanding 2019 IPL campaign, Kagiso Rabada failed to lit up the tournament in England. Though he picked up 11 wickets in 8 innings, he wasn't at his ruthless best in the World Cup. Injury to Dale Steyn has affected their bowling combination.
Hashim Amla scored just over 200 runs in seven innings and JP Duminy managed only 70 runs in his four outings with the bat. Aiden Markram too finished with just 140 runs in six innings. All in all, middle-order batting failure has cost them a lot in the World Cup.
Also read – World cup winners listPublished 09 Jul 2019, 03:06 IST