World Twenty20 team preview: South Africa

Reports & previews

The Proteas are the perpetual underachievers. They're the kid who does really well on IQ tests, but when it comes to actual exams he draws a blank and gets a low score.

<b>Captain:</b> Faf du Plessis<br><b>Coach:</b> Russell Domingo<br><b>WT20 Best:</b> Losing semi-finalists, 2009

<b>Overview</b><br>The Proteas are the perpetual underachievers. They're the kid who does really well on IQ tests, but when it comes to actual exams he draws a blank and gets a low score. Not a fail, exactly, but he's not winning class Valedictorian.

The current class is a mixed bag of veterans (AB, the Morkel brothers, Dale Steyn) and rookies (Hendricks, De Kock, Phangiso) but they haven't found a balance yet, despite their success in the longest format.

An issue seems to be the bizarre execution behind the scenes, and the lack of time together. Opening the batting with Hashim Amla, sacrilegious as this seems, may not be the best idea, and yet they persist. The world's classiest batsman doesn't have a T20 half ton, make of that what you will.

This tournament sees some real talent in the line-up though, and players who have shown they can hit the ball miles and very quickly. De Kock, David Miller and Albie Morkel are explosive and if they fire at the same time, scores will be massive.

The bowling though… Lonwabo Tsotsobe fails to impress more often than not, Beuran Hendricks is talented but brand new, Imran Tahir is either abject or amazing, and Wayne Parnell is the Jade Dernbach of SA cricket. Who knows where he'll pitch it?

<b>Key Batsman</b><br>We're going to go with young Quinton de Kock here. He's astonishingly talented in shorter formats, as India discovered last year, and his effort in the Seven7 against Australia was impressive, if in vain. If he gets off to a good start, the platform will be solid.

<b>Key Bowler</b><br>Premier paceman Dale Steyn is set to be recovered on time, and that is good news as he averages under 16 with the ball in this format and is the country's leading wicket taker. He showed in the IPL and for SA that he's not just a Test bowler. Be afraid.

<b>Likely Benchwarmer</b><br>It depends on the conditions. JP Duminy is the number one spinner lately, so if they go with two then it'll likely be Tahir ahead of Phangiso. In the pace department, Hendricks probably won't play once Steyn is back, unless Tsotsobe or Parnell are utterly dire.

<b>Cricket365's Prediction</b><br>This is a very tough group. If the Proteas can't beat either Sri Lanka or New Zealand, the in-form sides, then they won't make it past the group stage. But this time, no-one is expecting anything, so how will they do without the pressure?

<b>They Said:</b> "I worked on my skills, adapting to pressure and sticking to the basics, that's what helped me. I really hope that I can implement it for the Proteas when given the opportunity. It's a dream come true. I have been dreaming of playing for the Proteas since I was nine years old, it's even more special because it's a World Twenty20 year, I will cherish this forever." – seamer <b>Beuran Hendricks</b>.

<b>Squad:</b> Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

<b>Fixtures</b><br>22 March: v Sri Lanka, Chittagong<br>24 March: v New Zealand, Chittagong<br>27 March: v qualifying team, Chittagong<br>29 March: v England, Chittagong

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