South Africa is on an impressive winning streak in the 2023 ODI World Cup, raising expectations for their first-ever title victory. Except for an unexpected defeat to the Netherlands in Dharamsala, the Proteas have performed exceptionally well in the tournament.
They currently hold the second position in the points table and seem well on their way to reaching the semi-finals. Although South Africa faces some challenging matches against India, Pakistan, and New Zealand in the upcoming weeks, their strong start will be advantageous as the league stage progresses towards its conclusion.
South Africa has adopted an aggressive style of cricket on flat subcontinent pitches, enabling them to become the first team to achieve three scores of 350 or more in a single World Cup edition The Proteas are maintaining their strong momentum and, if they sustain their performance, they might have a shot at winning the tournament. They are undoubtedly a significant challenge for their opponents in this current form.
#3 Make South Africa the team that has to chase in the game
Deciding whether to bat or bowl first isn’t always in your hands, but when you have the chance, it’s a good idea to make South Africa the team that has to chase. South Africa has lost only one game in this tournament, and it was when they were chasing. This is something important to note. Their performance while chasing targets in recent matches hasn’t been impressive.
In the seven matches in 2023 where they batted second, they only won three times, which is much worse than their record when they bat first. South Africa struggles under pressure, and the task of chasing runs in a big tournament like the World Cup is something that other teams can exploit – if they get lucky before the match.
#2 Neutralize the middle-order and reveal the lack of backup
South Africa’s middle-order batsmen, including Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, and Marco Jansen, have been in great form, often scoring heavily in the latter part of innings. To counter this, opposition bowlers should aim to prevent these batsmen from causing significant damage, such as limiting spin bowling against Klaasen and focusing on defensive play in the final 10 overs.
Despite their middle-order prowess, South Africa’s batting depth is questionable, and the bowling unit relies on only five bowlers. Aiden Markram could be the sixth bowler but should be introduced gradually and not under extreme pressure.
#1 Use their own way of playing cricket when you compete against them
South Africa has been playing an aggressive style of cricket in the tournament, making the most of the conditions. Their batsmen are in good form, and they have been assertive with the ball, taking the most wickets in the first powerplay.
While Marco Jansen has been impressive with the new ball and Kagiso Rabada has shown his potential, the team doesn’t seem invincible, especially in the bowling department. The Netherlands demonstrated that South Africa’s bowling attack can be pressured.
Opponents might need to take some risks, but they can challenge South Africa with their aggressive approach. As mentioned earlier, South Africa’s lack of a sixth bowling option could worsen their situation when under pressure.