South Africa’s Method for Success in 2019 Cricket World Cup

There is a Cricket World Cup at stake in 2019. However, if South Africa is under any additional pressure, it will not be from inside the team. As his squad prepares to make their way to England where they won’t be considered the favourites to win this tournament for once, Faf du Plessis won’t be demanding anything extravagant from his team this time around.


Instead, he believes that sticking to what worked for them in the past and focusing on enjoying the tournament after a summer where they managed to win 11 games from 13 ODI’s and defeating Australia 2-1 away, will offer an exact formula for success.

South Africa’s Chances in the 2019 Cricket World Cup

In previous cricket world cups, South Africa wanted to deliver superhuman performances. They were under the impression that they had to provide something extraordinary and had to, which was not the outcome in the previous two World Cup tournaments. South Africa is not known for playing the best cricket when it comes to the World Cup tournaments because they place too much pressure on themselves, which isn’t necessary.

Seven team members of the squad that are making their way to England this year formed part of the World Cup team in 2015 when New Zealand defeated the side with four wickets in hand during the semi-finals. Dale Steyn, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Hashim Amla, and Faf du Plessis were also part of the team during the 2011 World Cup when they were second best during another nail-biting contest with New Zealand.

Faf du Plessis as Captain

Faf du Plessis is regarded as a thinking captain but can also be considered a feeling captain at the same time. Instead of shying away from the pressures that are coupled with competition on an international level, he urges his team to look at things positively. He also hasn’t been afraid of discussing this with the media in terms of the mental aspect.

He recently informed reporters that the South African cricket team started preparing over two years ago to get their mental preparation in order. This is one area that du Plessis believes the team can improve on when compared to previous World Cup encounters. He is someone that has been to several World Cup tournaments and is well aware of the pressures that come with it. This is one reason why he believes that the South African cricket team of 2019 should play more freely and enjoy themselves as opposed to feeling too much pressure and failing horribly.

Faf du Plessis’s new approach will also get noticed when it comes to selecting the South African squad during the tournament. He believes that the team should be picked according to their performance and experience. The squad decision is going to be made during the two warm-up matches based on form.

The Saga of AB de Villiers Exposes Panic in the BBL

From beginning to end, a trace of panic managed to linger over the way the BBL and its cricket clubs handled the dead and brief flirtation of AB de Villiers during the tournament. Considered the most game-changing addition when it comes to Australian cricket, the Big Bash League deserved better than to host a competition that didn’t have any winners.

AD de Villiers Losses Interest in BBL

Whether it was the broadcasters from Fox and Seven News/Sports Corp, the clubs, or even Cricket Australia, the eagerness to finally secure AB de Villiers after he decided to decline participation in the tournament in the previous season looked motivated by belief and worried about the strength the cricket tournament already had.

The management team of De Villiers and the cricket star himself, having received offers by more than half the cricket clubs, stated on Friday that he is no longer interested in participating in the tournament, offering no specific reason other than complaining about the repeated media leaks regarding his interest along with the terms by which it could be secured.

When you look at the length of the cricket tournament, the BBL salary cap constraints, there’s enormous proximity of Australian news on white-ball players that will be away for an ODI tour in India during January. It essentially deprived the cricket tournament of loads of talent which made AB de Villiers a must or bust situation, leaving plenty of unanswered questions in the air.

Money Was Always a Problem

For one, the money that needed to be gathered by the broadcasters, the Cricket Australia marketing funds, and successful cricket clubs. All involved with discussions to sign de Villiers made a huge mockery of the salary payments that are usually available to the players that participate in the tournament, while they raised the issue of whether AD de Villiers would be in the cricket tournament as a billboard or cricketer.

A $350,000 figure for a handful of cricket games made the headline of a 5-year contract worth $1 million inked by Chris Lynn look puny. There was loads of pressure from the global market and elsewhere that forced the broadcasters, clubs, and CA to look over and above the norm. However, there were loads of voices that questioned the integrity of the deal and how successful it would genuinely be to pay one player that much money in broad daylight.

Imagine if you will see a salary cap league like the AFL where broadcasters were initially approached to provide additional money for players to ensure they arrive at a specific club. This was mainly a display of how the BBL spent way too much money to get one elite player to increase the popularity of a cricket tournament that never needed to be expanded in the first place. All the uncertainty and scrambling by the BBL made them look less like a cricket addition and more like a struggling league.

How Are The Quick Bowlers From Australia Shaping Up for the Cricket World Cup?

With the surprising return of David Warner and Steven Smith, loads of attention has been given to the batting order of Australia ahead of the Cricket World Cup in England and Wales this year, while the spinning role has also been discussed in great detail. However, how are the quick bowlers doing at the moment in preparation of the World Cup?

Pat Cummings

After receiving the Allan Border Medallist for a player of the year, including tours to UAE and India, Cummings decided to have some downtime before the Brisbane camp. His form has not been dampened after taking a few weeks off. He managed to strike twice during the opening over against New Zealand and finished off with 3 for 36. He can be a star when it comes to the upcoming World Cup.

Mitchell Starc

Starc hasn’t played a match since the Sri Lanka Test where he, unfortunately, suffered a severe injury to his pectoral muscle. He bowled quite well in Brisbane, but it’s unlikely that he will participate in the next three matches. Perhaps the managers will allow him to play at least one game before he makes his way to England. In the last 15 months, he only played in 3 OD I’s due to his injuries. However, adding him to the mix for a quick bowler in the World Cup will be the right choice.

Nathan Coulter-Nile

It’s been an exciting couple of months for this quick bowler. Nathan managed to take ten wickets in only five games against Pakistan and India after he was overlooked entirely for the India series, allowing him to make several comments regarding the lack of communication. During the opening match where Australia faced New Zealand, Nathan showed his worth with three wickets for 34. He is someone that could bring a positive change to the squad if he makes his way to England.

Jason Behrendorff

After enduring loads of accidental injuries, Jason received his opportunity on the big stage where he enjoyed his first ODI match against India in a recent home season. He will likely become an understudy for Mitchell Starc during the World Cup. However, once he is warmed up and ready to go, he can be a dangerous left-arm quick bowler. He managed to collect 3 for 34 on Monday and was the only one of the frontline for Australia to make his way to the IPL where he enjoyed five matches.

Josh Hazlewood

Josh is still busy with recovery after his stress fracture. This, unfortunately, ended his season following the India test series, and he has ruled him out for the upcoming World Cup team. He managed to make his return to the next recently but is still not bowling for the A tours. His best chance to make an appearance in the World Cup is if Australia requires a replacement after the group stages are done and dusted.

The BBL Messiah Deal for De Villiers Will Exceed AUD350,000

The Sydney Sixers are shaping up to be the likely destinations for AB de Villiers in the Big Bash League. This forms part of the package deal that was presented to AB de Villiers from Cricket Australia, along with its broadcasters, that could be worth a jaw-dropping AUD350,000 for a spell at the back end of the tournament during the summer.

The Cricket Australia Deal

Cricket Australia and broadcasters have recently confirmed to the clubs within the Big Bash League that they will offer financial assistance to successfully secure AB de Villiers signature before a brand-new season where the ODI men’s team will be absent for most of January in Australia. Cricket Australia’s contribution is set to be around $50,000 where they will receive marketing services in return.

The Sydney Sixers appear to be the frontrunners to receive AD de Villiers as a player for reasons over and above the broadcasting, marketing, and playing deal that can formulate for the South African cricket player and his management team.
Big Bash League Clubs

Most of the cricket clubs that form part of the Big Bash League have shown interest in signing the phenomenal cricket player from South Africa. The Adelaide Strikers would have claimed de Villiers if he was available for the entire season. The proposal from the Sydney Thunder’s was strengthened thanks to the salary cap afford to him by Shane Watson who is going to limit himself to shorter T20 international matches instead of a more demanding and extended Big Bash League schedule.

However, the Sydney Sixers have plenty of advantages that cannot be matched anywhere else. Not only will AB de Villiers have a former teammate and friend at Sydney Sixers, thanks to Morne Morkel. He is spending 6 months of the year in Sydney due to his family, but he will also be able to participate in home matches at the SCG, the stadium where he managed to score a remarkable 162 runs from only 66 balls while playing for South Africa who faced West Indies during the World Cup in 2015.

High profile signings that come equipped with financial assistance from Cricket Australia and broadcasters, including Fox Sports, have long been part of the Big Bash League history. This includes Kevin Pietersen and Shane Warne with Melbourne Stars. The recent news that the ODI team of Australia would be pressed to provide a pre-existing commitment to participate in a tour to India in January 2020 has assisted the push to secure AB de Villiers for at least a portion of the upcoming competition.

Apart from AB de Villiers joining the Sydney Sixers, other cricket stars will also join in on the action in the next few weeks. This will include Fawad Ahmed that will eventually form part of the Perth Scorchers, while Nathan Coulter-Nile, who is a paceman in West Australia, will likely join the ranks of Melbourne Stars for their 2019/20 season.

Virat Kohli Received Double Honours in 2019 Wisden

The reputation of Virat Kohli as an outstanding cricketer has been further enriched by a series of accolades from the 2019 edition of the Wisden Cricketers Almanack that was published earlier this week.

The Accolades of Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli, who is going to lead the World Cup campaign for India in England, has recently been voted the leading cricketer of the world for 3 consecutive years after receiving the vote again in 2019. He has also managed to receive one accolade that has been eluding him for most of his career, getting voted as one of the Five Cricketers of the Year by Wisden, which is considered the oldest award on an individual level within the world of cricket.

Wisden Cricket Accolades Worth Mentioning

Sam Curran and Jos Buttler were also voted as one of the five cricketers after their vital roles in the summer campaigns for England along with Rory Burns, who is the championship-winning captain for Surrey, as well as Tammy Beaumont, who is another phenomenal player from the England cricket team on the women’s side.

The fellow Indian of Kohli, Smriti Mandhana, has been voted the leading cricketer when it comes to the women’s cricket game after she managed to rake in 1,291 runs in limited-over formats which included 13 half-centuries. The Afghanistan leg spinner, Rashid Khan, has been voted as the leading T20 cricketer for 2 consecutive years now.

However, Kohli was undoubtedly the dominant figure in the world of cricket for 2018, accumulating 2,735 runs on an international level at 68.37 on all formats. This is more than 700 runs than the nearest challenger who is Joe Root from the England squad.

During that time, Kohli managed to score a phenomenal 11 centuries during 37 innings, 7 of which were accumulated during India’s tour of Australia, England, and South Africa, each considered the most difficult venues for batsmen that travel overseas. His form was particularly outstanding during the Test tour of England even though India suffered a 4-1 defeat in the series. Kohli made a total of 593 runs in 5 Tests with a total of 59.30 which included hundreds at both Trent Bridge and Edgbaston.

Comments from Wisden

Wisden recently stated that “influence on, or excellence in, the previous summer in England was the major criteria for inclusion when it comes to Cricketer of the Year”, and due to the fact that Kohli has managed only 134 runs at a rate of 13.40 during his previous test tour that occurred in 2014, this was essentially his first real chance to finally claim the exclusive honour. This is not like the Leading Cricketer award which can only be achieved once in the career of a player.

“In spite of his losing side, Virat Kohli as the Indian captain managed to shine with his bat, eliminating his struggles that he endured during 2014 in England,” stated Lawrence Booth who is the editor for Wisden.

India Squad for World Cup to be Announced on 15 April 2019

The World Cup squad for India will be announced on 15 April 2019 in Mumbai. The announcement will likely see Virat Kohli attend the meeting as the captain for India. He will also be leading the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their game against Mumbai Indians on the same night.

The Selection of the Indian Cricket Team

Even though the ICC provided a deadline to announce World Cup squads up until 23 April 2019, it’s understood that the selectors of India want their players to receive additional time to adequately prepare themselves for the upcoming tournament that the team last won during 2011 while playing at home.

The chairman of the selection committee in India, MSK Prasad, pointed out in early February that the panel managed to shortlist around 20 players where 15 final players would be selected. “There might be an instance where the final spot will be given at the last minute. However, we are quite clear when it comes to the rest of the team,” Prasad stated in an interview to reporters.

Prasad also made it very clear that the selection panel won’t consider IPLK form to fill the vacant spots, “since we already made our minds up”. “We will only observe a player’s performance if we believe that they should be selected for the squad. We already have a list of 20 phenomenal players and will follow the form of each player to make our decision,” Prasad stated recently.

Kohli also reiterated the statement before the home ODI series where they faced Australia in March, stating that both the selectors and team management need to be clear regarding the team they wish to take to the cricket World Cup. “I highly doubt anything will change going forward, regardless of the IPL performances from each player. Should a handful of players not enjoy a good IPL season, it won’t eliminate them from being chosen for the cricket World Cup. This will not affect at the end.”

The last ODI tournament for India was the Australian series before the start of the World Cup, and they, unfortunately, lost 3-2 even though they won the first two games. After the tournament, Kohli insisted that India wasn’t panicking. “As a team, we are quite sorted,” Kohli stated.

The main question about the team selection is primary around the 4th batsmen for the Indian side as well as the place for the second all-rounded following Hardik Pandya. There’s no denying that Vijay Shankar was in excellent form during the New Zealand series which has raised the bar for him taking the spot as opposed to Ravindra Jadeja who hasn’t performed too well since the Asia Cup.

The other talking point is based on the fast-bowling attackers. As it stands, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah are certainties. Pandya might play the role of seamer part-time, but then India sits with a 4th specialist seamer.

Hashim Amla Will Make a Comeback to Cricket in the CSA T20 Challenge

Hashim Amla is finally making his return to the world of cricket when he plays for the Cape Cobras in the upcoming T20 for Cricket South Africa, coach Ashwell Prince announced on Thursday in Cape Town. Prince has also confirmed that CSA is hoping that Alma might be able to participate in a short spell taking place in England ahead of the Cricket World Cup.

However, Amla wants to stay in South Africa to ensure he is around his ailing father. “Hashim Amla is available,” Ashwell Prince stated at Newlands. “As per my knowledge, the CSA would have preferred Amla to play in the United Kingdom, but he wants to stay at home due to his father.”

Hashim Amla’s Current Situation

The Cape Cobras are set to play a total of 5 games during the domestic T20 before the South Africa squad for the World Cup is announced on 18 April 2019. The opening tournament on Sunday against the Lions will be the first participation for Amla in competitive cricket since 1 March 2019. Hashim Amla last played for the South African cricket team in February when they faced Sri Lanka in two Tests. After that, he was given compassionate leave from the team to be with his father that is currently ill.

Amla’s situation has improved slightly since then. The 36-year-old is currently short of a match and form ahead of the deadline announcement for the South African cricket squad for the World Cup. His place in the cricket squad isn’t settled as of yet, and Linda Zondi, the selection convener for the CSA, told reporters that the process of selecting the team is giving him nights without any sleep.

Amla Is Ready to Play Again

Amla began his season in a horrible form where he averaged only 10.14 with his bat along with two ducks in 7 innings in the Mzansi Super League while playing for Durban Heat before he turned things around with big runs. This included a 27th ODI hundred when Pakistan paid a visit. After spending time away from cricket to be with his father, Amla made his return to cricket this week at Durban and will fly to Cape Town where he is set to join the Cape Cobras before their initial game during the T20 Challenge by the CSA. Ashwell Prince thinks that the cricket tournament will give Amla valuable time to get back into form before the cricket World Cup.

“I don’t believe an extension in innings has ever been an issue for Hashim,” Prince stated. “It’s necessarily all about getting in. During the Mzansi Super League, Amla couldn’t manage it, which occurred after a long lay-off. I still believe there’s a place for someone to bat throughout the innings, and Amla is very capable of achieving that. There’s a chance Amla can bat through the innings. Even if he does half of it, it will be good enough in terms of batting.”

South Africa Complete 3-0 Sweep Following Huge DLS Victory

The final limited-overs game of the tour followed the same form and style of so many games that these two teams played in the last few weeks. For instance, Sri Lanka couldn’t make regular breakthroughs to the innings of South Africa as Dwaine Pretorius, and Reeza Hendricks managed to combine to accumulate 90 for the 2nd wicket. South Africa then went on to provide a solid finish where JP Duminy managed to score 34 runs off 14 balls. This allowed South Africa to surge to a 198 for two from only 20 overs.

Sri Lanka’s Poor Performance

In terms of batting, there’s no denying that Sri Lanka was poor yet again. Niroshan Dickwella managed to offer a fast start, accumulating 38 runs from only 22 balls. However, this is where it stopped as the rest of the batting line up simply collapsed. Sri Lanka was five wickets down with just 41 runs before Isuru Udana managed to make his charge, hitting four sixes to accumulate 36 runs from 23 balls. However, a win was impossible for Sri Lanka even when Udana was on the field. Once he was bowled out, all hope was lost as the four wickets followed with no additional runs from the team.

The only feature of the game that set it apart from the other matches that were previously played between the two teams was the rain delay, taking more than 70 minutes from the match which shortened the innings of Sri Lanka by three overs. Before the rain delay, Sri Lanka was six down and needed 88 runs from 53 balls. Once the rain delay came to an end, Sri Lanka required 72 runs from 35 balls.

South Africa’s Excellence

South Africa managed to produce a match-defining stand at the second wicket, precisely the same way they did in the previous game. Even though Rassie van der Dussen, who formed part of the incredible partnership during the second T20 match, was resting for this match, Hendricks as opener managed to get his second consecutive 50, joining Pretorius at the other end this time, who also managed to produce the best innings of the match with 77 runs from 42 balls not out.

The partnership between the two batsmen was formed during the 6th over where South Africa boasted with over six as their run-rate. However, the team decided to take the innings by the collar, allowing the partnership to accumulate 90 runs from only 55 balls. Neither the seam of spin from Sri Lanka’s bowling was spared.

Henricks was eventually bowled out during the 15th over by Vandersay, but that only opened the door for more incredible gameplay. Pretorius smashed the ball for three successive fours before he hit another six and a four after that. Duminy also managed to make his presence felt during the 18th over. South Africa managed to prove once again that they are the top-rated cricket team when it comes to T20’s.

Sri Lanka to Face South Africa in T20 International

Despite the alterations in format, the primary focus for both Sri Lanka and South Africa will remain on the 50-over World Cup. The Proteas selected the same team for the first T20 International as they did for the ODI. Linda Zondi, the national selector, stated that Cricket South Africa will regard the game as yet another stepping stone to complete their Vision 2019 campaign. This is essentially their grand plan for success at the World Cup.

South Africa

Faf du Plessis, the captain of the South African cricket team, stated that he is 99.9% sure regarding the team he will take with him to the cricket tournament in England. All the changing and chopping of South Africa throughout a generally prosperous and long home summer has provided the team with a decent idea of which player does what. The Proteas have managed to regain confidence and form during the ODI’s. Although their focus is somewhere else, their T20 International outfit will be complicated to defeat.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka seemed to have retreated since their rare victory that managed to open the tour. The glory and triumph of their remarkable Test series look like a distant memory following their 5-0 win in the ODI’s. The team is also currently facing yet another crisis when it comes to coaching. Chandika Hathurusingha has been requested to return to Sri Lanka, while Steve Rixon, the fielding coach, will fill in to act as the head coach during the T20 Internationals.

Sri Lanka has been unable to succeed in one-day cricket, and they need to cover plenty of ground to make up for it during the 20-over format successfully. Sri Lanka is currently ranked 9th in the 20-over format, placing them below Afghanistan. They only managed to win 6 out of the past 20 matches when it comes to T20Is. Before they can truly focus on the World Cup, they will need to get their squad in order.

Conditions and Pitch

Summer is coming to an end in South Africa. However, the weather should be beautiful in Cape Town during the tournament. The surface at Newlands is usually on the slow side. However, before the final day of the 5th ODI, fast bowlers from Sri Lanka and South Africa enjoyed both bounce and pace so that anything can happen this time around too. The last time a T20I was played at Newlands was when South Africa faced Pakistan in February where South Africa accumulated 192 for 6. This is considered the highest total recorded at the venue when it comes to T20Is.

Stats

No cricket player has scored a century at Newlands during a T20I. JP Duminy has the highest recorded T20I runs at Newlands, scoring 229 runs from 7 matches. Sri Lanka has enjoyed two T20 Internationals in Cape Town, losing to Australia in 2007 and defeating South Africa in 2017.

England Defeats West Indies in Second T20 International

Sam Billings managed to rescue England before the four-wicket haul from Chris Jordan to demolish the West Indies for 45. This provided England with a 137-run win during the second T20 International and an incontrovertible 2-0 lead in the cricket series.

Sam Billings and Joe Root

Sam Billings was the Man of the Match, knocking a career-best of 87 from 47 balls and a T20I return from Joe Root who managed to make 55 off 40 balls. This allowed the England squad to be resurrected from a mere 32 for four after only 5.2 overs.

Then Jordan’s incredible four from 6 overs meant that the West Indies were never actually in the contest. They are falling for the second lowest total in T20I history, behind the 39 runs made by the Netherlands against Sri Lanka in 2014 during the World T20. It’s considered the lowest total from a Full-Member nation. This is worse than the 60 runs accumulated by New Zealand when they played against Sri Lanka in the T20I and the 60 runs made by West Indies in Karachi last year against Pakistan.

While the top order was tumbling around Root, he managed to produce a genuinely composed innings where he shared an 82-run partnership with Sam Billings to accumulate his half-century. This was the first time Joe Root managed to reach double figures in 4 T20 International innings. He also had his 10th knock since he last managed to reach 50 during the World T20 Final in 2016 which was won by West Indies.

Once Joe Root was run-out, the rescue mission fell to Sam Billings, and he accepted it willingly. Sam Billings managed to rake up 17 runs in one over from Sheldon Cottrell which included a 6 to provide his half-century.

Carlos Brathwaite was economical throughout the first three overs where he claimed 1 for 11. However, he conceded a total of 22 during his last over which included three fours to Sam Billings and a 6 to David Willey. The partnership between Billings and Willey provided 68 runs before Billings was dismissed. By the time Billings was denied, he had managed to lead England to a phenomenal total. The West Indies won the coin toss and requested that England go on the pitch, anticipating that the ground will improve as the game unfolded. However, the West Indies were not on the ball long enough for this to occur.

England Dismissals

David Willey continued to press during the match, snaring the wicket of Gayle for only five which was caught by Joe Root in mid-on. He also managed to knock out Hope. After that, Jordan went crazy, claiming wickets of Jason Holder and Darren Brova with consecutive balls. He also led to dismiss Allen and Nicholas Pooran during his second over. The damage was done, allowing Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid to clean up the tail end of the West Indies batting force. This provided England with the most significant T20 International victory within 12 overs.

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