Cricket World Cup – Proteas on the prowl
The Cricket World Cup has a reputation of forging some of the greatest cricketing stories there are to be told. It spoke of the famous 1983 Indian team who, till then, hadn’t won a single World Cup match but in a surprising turn of events beat the mighty West Indian team led by Clive Lloyd not once, but twice – in the opening game and then in the historic final to be crowned the unexpected champions of the world. The dream run till the semi finals of the 2003 edition of the Kenyan team is another well documented story.
The ICC Cricket World 2015 in Australia and New Zealand is also churning a number of stories of note. But there’s none as fascinating as that being scripted by South Africa. The Proteas, for the first time in their World Cup history, won a knockout game in the tournament, beating Sri Lanka quite convincingly with a tremendous display of disciplined and lethal fast bowling. All that is required from them now is to maintain this momentum and win two more games on the trot to catch hold of the coveted prize. (Oh, how long have they waited for this moment)
There have been teams in the past that have shown the calibre worthy of World Champions, but none as much as the current crop of players for South Africa. You have to agree as well, since this is the team that finally progressed further in the knockout stages – a feat no other team from South Africa could manage.
Most importantly, the Proteas have a great captain in AB de Villiers. One of the most versatile batsmen of the modern game, de Villiers carries a composed head on his shoulders at all times. Some of his stroke play is technically sound, and most of his batting prowess never ceases to amaze. He has carried his good form into the World Cup as well, being well supported by the ever dependable Hashim Amla, Francois du Plessis and keeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, who seems to have found some form towards the business end of the tournament.
No team is ever complete without a good bowling attack. We all know how deadly the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel can be, and they lived up to their hype, putting in some effective spells and picking up crucial wickets. But more than the fast bowlers it has been leg-spinner Imran Tahir who has made connoisseurs sit up and take note, snapping up 15 wickets in the tournament, the highest for a spinner.
So everyone must have heaved a huge sigh of relief to see South Africa take the final Sri Lankan wicket, to register a convincing but crucial win to take another step towards the final and eventually, the glorious title.
South Africa defying all odds and finally winning the ICC Cricket World Cup this year would then make for yet another exciting tale.
Will the Proteas at long last lift the infamous “chokers” tag off themselves? Who, in your opinion, will win the World Cup? You can leave your thoughts in the comments section below.