How South Africa can win
It’s not impossible to mention the world cup without slipping in South Africa’s past; it’s just not that fun. Without South Africa failing it wouldn’t feel like such a special tournament. Everyone needs the Washington Generals. Their torment is part of the mystique; no one proves that World Cups are hard to win more than South Africa.
Every thing South Africa does is looked at through their comical history. It doesn’t mean they can’t win the world cup; it also doesn’t make it easier. If South Africa wins this tournament, their painful past will just make it sweeter.
Their big problem was obvious against England, the middle order was weak. Yet, with their top four all being cautious batsmen, they have the potential to cover over the cracks with careful batting.
While other teams can’t afford to bat in a one paced way and give up potential runs, South Africa have the best attack in the world cup. Their weakest bowler is Robin Petersen, and he doesn’t even have to be their fifth bowler. They could play Steyn, Morkel, Tsotsobe, Tahir, Kallis as the 5th bowler and Duminy as the 6th bowler, if they play slightly within themelves and don’t lose wickets.
With this line up they should be able to control the game and play decisive conservative balanced cautious pragmatic cricket, also known as the South African Way.
What South Africa must do
Keep Amla in his magical form.
How you can beat South Africa
Morne Morkel is mentally fragile, Imran Tahir can go for runs, Kallis doesn’t seem to like to bowl as much these days, Tsotsobe is hittable, Botha is easier to manoeuvre without a doosra and Robin Petersen is a bowler you can work over. Sure, I’ve just said above that their the best bowling attack in the tournament, but they’re really only fighting for that honour with Sri Lanka, so it doesn’t mean that much.
The attack is varied and talented, but take Dale Steyn out of it, and it has issues. The problem is taking him out of the attack without losing any wickets to him is not easy. If you don’t give him wickets, you can afford to go along at four an over against him. Against India, he took five wickets, you just can’t allow that. Without Tahir, and they may not play him, Steyn has to take wickets. Especially if they are batting slower to protect the middle order.
In 07, Australia let Kallis bat because he couldn’t score quick enough to hurt them. Now that system would play into their hands as their attack is better, and thanks to T20, Kallis has a fifth gear. To beat them you have to get out their top four. I know what you’re thinking, “Jrod, what a revolutionary game plan you’ve come up with, the first four wickets, genius”. The thing is, I don’t think their middle order has what it takes to post or chase a total if early wickets go down. They are capable of chipping in, like they did against India, but at the moment they don’t look like being part of anything substantial. You have to get through to them, so unless you want to off them in a comedy Springfield Isotopes way, I’d suggest wickets.
The most important thing is to never give up against them, distant and recent history show that you’re always a chance, no matter how over the game looks. However I’d suggest spending more time on working out how to beat Amla and Steyn, and less on working out who will pull a Donald.
What not to do against South Africa
Don’t mention the C word when facing Steyn.