ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2019

World Cup preview: South Africa

No AB de Villiers but the Proteas are not short on firepower with bat and ball with de Kock, Rabada leading the charge

Sam Ferris

26 May 2019, 08:25 AM AEST

The squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, JP Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Chris Morris, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi

Who they are missing: There's no AB de Villiers (retirement) and paceman Anrich Nortje was ruled out with a broken thumb after being named in the initial 15-player squad. Allrounder Chris Morris was called in as Nortje's replacement.

Form line (most recent first): WWWWWWLWWL

The 2015 result: Semi-final

Best finish: Semi-final (2015)

Elliott and Steyn at the 2015 World Cup semi-final // Getty
Elliott and Steyn at the 2015 World Cup semi-final // Getty

The big question: Can South Africa breakthrough for a maiden final appearance? Four years ago, South Africa finally recorded their first-ever knockout win at a World Cup by beating Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals and snapping the 23-year hoodoo. Wet weather, a gutsy New Zealand side and South Africa's old demons in the big-pressure moments prevented AB de Villiers's side from making it two knockout wins on the trot in the semi-final which ended in tears and heartbreak for the visitors. So with the knockout monkey off the back and the hurt of a semi-final loss fresh in their memories, can the Proteas go one better in 2019 and advance all the way to the final? They have the fire power across the board and a bold leader in Faf du Plessis to do it, but it's not just a matter of whether they can hold their nerve at the business end of the competition.

Ponting's World Cup danger man: Kagiso Rabada

Player to watch: Quinton de Kock is in for a big tournament. The left-hander has an incredible ODI record with 14 centuries in 106 innings. The 26-year-old has all the shots and displayed them during the Indian Premier League this season with champions Mumbai Indians. The comparisons between de Kock and Adam Gilchrist have so far been justified but a huge World Cup for the Proteas could see the South African continue to mirror the legendary Australian wicketkeeper-batsman.

Don't be surprised if: A South African takes a hat-trick this tournament. In leg-spinner Imran Tahir and pace ace Kagiso Rabada, the Proteas have two world-class bowlers capable of taking wickets in clumps. Tahir's googly and Rabada's sheer pace could see wickets tumble in quick time so don't be surprised if either player – not to mention the likes of Dale Steyn or Lungi Ngidi – pick up three wickets in as many balls at some stage.

'Crazy eyes' Steyn on fast bowling love

Fun fact: only one South African has taken a World Cup hat-trick – part-time spinner JP Duminy against Sri Lanka at the SCG in 2015. Perhaps Duminy will go back to back!

World Cup numbers

Team record: Matches: 55 | Won: 35 | Lost: 18 | Tied: 2 | NR: 0

Highest total: 4-411 v Ireland, Canberra 2015

Lowest total: 149 v Australia, Gros Islet 2007

The Aussies celebrate another McGrath wicket // Getty

Most runs: Who else but the great AB de Villiers. In 22 innings, de Villiers scored 1207 at a strike rate of 117.29 and posted four centuries. His average of 63.52 is second only to Andrew Symonds' 103 among batsmen with 500 World Cup runs. To say he will be sorely missed is a gross understatement. 

Most wickets: 'White Lightning' Allan Donald has taken the most wickets for the Proteas at World Cups with 38 wickets in 25 matches at an average of 24.02.

Most dismissals: Gloveman Mark Boucher is streets ahead in this category, with 31 dismissals – all catches – in three World Cup campaigns.

The fixtures:

May 30 v England, The Oval, 7.30pm AEST

June 2 v Bangladesh, The Oval, 7.30pm AEST

June 5 v India, Southampton, 7.30pm AEST

June 10 v West Indies, Southampton, 7.30pm AEST

June 15 v Afghanistan, Cardiff, 10.30pm AEST

June 19 v New Zealand, Birmingham, 7.30pm AEST

June 23 v Pakistan, Lord's, 7.30pm AEST

June 28 v Sri Lanka, Durham, 7.30pm AEST

July 6 v Australia, Manchester, 7.30pm AEST

For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE