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One thing that is evidently missing from South Africa’s illustrious CV is a major ICC tournament. It is cricket’s most intriguing mystery that in spite of possessing stalwarts throughout their rich history and present, they have still not managed to break the ICC code. In the last edition (2014), they knocked on the ‘C’ door thunderously only to be thwarted by a rampaging Kohli, who masterminded the chase of 170-odd runs.


 South Africa have an opening conundrum to sort out. Currently, Amla’s strokeplay is making fielders chase shadows and De Kock is batting with poise and pomp. The prospect of Ab De Villiers taking on the opener’s mantle is certainly mouth-watering. Currently, he is at the peak of his powers, and if he gets into sixth gear, then the spectators shall be privileged with a 1.5 hour 3-D movie. The rise of South Africa’s youth icon Kagiso Rabada has been meteoric. He has been the flag-bearer for South Africa in recent times, putting his heart on his sleeves and bailing South Africa out of trouble at every opportune moment. You don’t often outwit a Dhoni in a last over shoot-out and the youngster has already managed to get a tick against that box. Recently, Dale Steyn has been more of a Dolphin jumping in and out of the South African team pre-dominantly due to injuries. South Africa would be breaking their sweat over his fitness as a fiery Dale Steyn can do wonders to any outfit. The million-dollar man Morris will hold all the aces, as he can strike those crucial blows lower down and pick some vital wickets. Tahir can be a pillow over which South Africa can sleep peacefully. He has to be their trump card and Du Plessis should use this card judiciously. ‘Killer Miller’ will be no alien to Indian conditions as he has already made a name for himself in the IPL. He is a butcher of the cricket ball and his hefty blows can make short work of any target or can act as a beautiful cherry at the top of the cake while batting first. Talking about the leader, Du Plessis will be the base around which the whole roller-coaster has to revolve. His acrobatic fielding will be like ‘dry-fruits over an ice-cream’. Duminy has struggled of late to make the sort of impact South Africa expects from him, but the multi-utility cricketer’s can come in handy especially ,if the opposition’s batting is stacked full of left-handers and he remains a calming influence in that middle order who comes with a reputation of a finisher.
Invariably, South Africa dig their own grave by panicking at crucial moments and it is high time, with the talent and skill that they possess, they start winning those big moments. Again I repeat, they have a champion team but come the 2nd of April will they have a Champions tag against their name is a million-dollar question to their bewildered fans
Will the Proteas flower blossom or pale away, as often is the case in major tournaments, against the burden of expectations?