MUMBAI – South Africa are loaded with match-winners and, with a little bit of luck, can end their World Cup agony at this year’s 50-over tournament in England, fast bowler Dale Steyn has said.
South Africa’s World Cup adventures have ended prematurely in unfortunate circumstances on numerous occasions earning them the ‘chokers’ tag at the 50-over event.
Ranked fourth in ODIs, Faf du Plessis’ side, however, have not lost a 50-over series in the last 12 months, winning home and away against Sri Lanka, in Australia, and at home to Pakistan and Zimbabwe.
All of it convinces Steyn that the team could break their World Cup duck this time.
“We’re going with good expectations,” Steyn told reporters ahead of the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s IPL match in Kolkata.
“If you’re not going to the World Cup expecting to win, then you probably shouldn’t go. But I’m not going to lie, we have some fantastic players.”
South Africa in the past fell foul of an unfair rain rule, paid for miscalculating the Duckworth–Lewis run-rate requirement, and suffered comical run outs to crash out of the competition.
Four years ago, they fell short in a thrilling semi-final when New Zealand’s Grant Elliott hit Steyn for a six off the penultimate ball of the match to seal victory.
Steyn, who has taken 196 wickets in 125 ODIs, showered rich praise on fast bowler Kagiso Rabada and pinned hopes on the 23-year-old to lead South Africa’s bowling attack in the future.
“We’re led by Faf, who’s been in fantastic form lately. And in the Indian Premier League, Imran Tahir has been right up there in terms of wickets,” said Steyn, who is hoping to make South Africa’s 15-man squad for the May 30-July 14 tournament.
“From Quinton de Kock all the way down to number 11, they’re all match-winners. We just need to go there and hope a bit of luck – weather, a missed no-ball – goes your way, and you could win the tournament.
“You look at KG (Rabada), he’s been bowling exceptionally well. Kagiso is a wunderkind. Just hope he continues that kind of form.”
South Africa open their World Cup against England at The Oval on May 30. (Reuters)