South Africa shall be going into the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy as one of the top title contenders. The Proteas are once again the pre-tournament favourites ahead of a major ICC tournament. South Africa are the number one ranked ODI team at present. The South African side looks formidable with a heavy arsenal in their batting and firepower in the bowling. The squad looks balanced with stroke makers, quality seamers and handy all-rounders.
South Africa are drawn in Group B with India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan. Given the strength of their squad and seam-friendly conditions in England, South Africa should progress into the knockouts along with defending champions India. South Africa fought a tightly fought ODI series against hosts England as part of their preparations for the tournament. Though the Proteas lost the series 1-2, they would draw great confidence with their showing against England in their own backyard.
South Africa's Squad for 2017 ICC Champions Trophy
Hashim Amla, Quinton De Cock, AB De Villiers (Captain), JP Duminy, Faf Du Plessis, David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Wayne Parnell, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj
The seasoned campaigner Hashim Amla and attacking southpaw Quinton De Cock shall look to provide their team with the opening salvo up the order. While Amla is adept at both flaying attack and playing the sheet anchor's role to perfection, De Cock has excelled in the role of an aggressor up the order by providing his side with those rapid fire starts.
The middle order has invaluable experience in the form of AB De Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf Du Plessis and the dangerous David Miller. Batting genius AB De Villiers can decimate any attack with his wide range of shots. If 'Mr 360' gets his act together he could torment the best of bowlers with his belligerent strokeplay. Faf Du Plessis has the ability to hold the guard in the middle and provide the required acceleration to step up the scoring rate. The hard-hitting David Miller can produce some whirlwind cameos down the order to finish the innings with a flourish. The wicketkeeping duties shall be shared by Quinton De Cock and Farhan Behardien. They also have AB De Villiers who can don the gloves if required.
South Africa's side has been provided with the right balance with quality allrounders in Chris Morris, JP Duminy and Andile Phehlukwayo.
South Africa, as usual, have a formidable pace attack with quality seamers in Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell. While the experienced Morne Morkel shall bring in his pace and bounce to unsettle oppositions, the young seamer Rabada would like to use his seam movement and raw pace to rack up wickets.
Meanwhile, the likes of Wayne Parnel and Chris Morris can be lethal in swing friendly English conditions. The South Africans shall surely miss the services of their pace ace Dale Steyn who is still recovering from the career-threatening shoulder injury. The pace attack shall be augmented by medium pacers like Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo who all will be handy in seam friendly English conditions.
The spin shall be spearheaded by leggie Imran Tahir who has been a potent weapon in the limited overs format with his variations and googlies. Tahir shall be provided good support by Keshav Maharaj and allrounder JP Duminy, both of whom are quite handy with his spin.
Record in Champions Trophy:
South Africa have an impressive record in Champions Trophy-winning the inaugural edition in 1998 besides reaching the semifinals on four other occasions. The Proteas have an impressive win-loss record since the commencement of the 2015 World Cup. In their last outing in a major ICC tournament, South Africa reached the semi-finals at the 2015 World Cup before losing to the Kiwis in a thriller of a game.
So the 'Green and Gold Brigade' look to be serious title contenders going into the multi-nation tournament. However, the big question that remains is whether they can hold their nerves together in the knockouts and go on to clinch the title. Given the fact that they for long have been labelled as 'chokers' at ICC showpiece events, they would surely like to shed that monkey off their bag.