ProteaFire is all but extinguished as South Africa stare at an early ICC World Cup 2019 exit. Having won only one of their six matches (with one being lost to the unpredictable and gloomy English weather), the Proteas are almost at the end of their World Cup campaign. Ominous signs for the team began appearing in the first match itself, where they were at the receiving end of a true ‘thrashing’ at the hands of hosts, England, losing the game by a mammoth 104 runs.
To add to the insult, they were handed another defeat by Bangladesh, who were and are still being considered the underdogs, if not minnows. Their third match against India was no different, as the South Africans folded for just 227 in their 50 overs, with Morris being the top scorer at no. 9 with 42 runs. So far, their star batsman, Hashim Amla, has managed scores of 13 (England), 6 (India), 6 (West Indies), 41 (Afghanistan) and 55 (New Zealand); he didn’t play against Bangladesh after being rattled by a furious Jofra Archer bouncer in the previous match.
The other worry for the Proteas has been their fast bowling department, which had already taken a blow in the form of Anrich Nortje’s injury even before the tournament began. Dale Steyn, who had picked up a niggle after playing just two games in this year’s IPL, was too ruled out of the World Cup. Then came the third blow in the form of Lungi Ngidi, who has been seen as the ideal new-bowl partner of the charismatic Kagiso Rabada in the absence of Steyn. This left RSA with just Rabada, with Chris Morris and Beuran Hendricks being drafted in as the last resort.
South Africa’s batting just hasn’t clicked, with Amla, JP Duminy, and Faf du Plessis failing to amass runs like they used to 1-2 years ago, and their bowling looks lacklustre too. No offence to Rabada, who has been impressive thus far, he just hasn’t had the support he would have wanted from the other bowlers and more importantly from the batsmen. The only ray of light for the Proteas apart from Quinton de Kock has been Rassie van der Dussen, who had the almost-impossible role of filling AB de Villiers’ shoes, which he has done wonderfully as of now with two 50+ scores already.
Even if SA manage to somehow win all of their remaining matches, they will be at 9 points, which New Zealand already are on. Plus, with India, the Kiwis, England and Australia left with 4-5 matches each, SA’s chances of making the semi-finals are almost non-existent.