Former captain Graeme Smith is confident that the South African 2015 Cricket World Cup squad is good enough to make history and bring the World Cup back to South Africa for the first time.
South Africa made their World Cup debut in the 1992 tournament in Australia, after being welcomed back into the ICC following the end of apartheid, and they made it all the way to the semifinals, but were cruelly denied a chance of making it to the final by the productive overs method – the precursor to the Duckworth-Lewis method that is currently used to determine totals in rain-affected matches.
The Proteas returned to the tournament four years later on the subcontinent and they cruised through their pool games without losing a single game, but a collapse saw them lose their quarter final match to the West Indies and they were eliminated from the tournament.
Arguably the darkest day in the history of South African cricket took place at the 1999 World Cup where South Africa looked as though they had a berth in the final wrapped up, but a mix-up between in-form batsmen Lance Klusener and Allan Donald led to a run-out and the tie was enough to see Australia through to the final – despite South Africa being the form team of the World Cup.
Much was expected of South Africa heading into the 2013 Cricket World Cup on home soil, but they suffered tight losses against the West Indies and New Zealand and they were eliminated after a calculation effort saw them tie with Sri Lanka in their final pool game.
South Africa made it all the way to the semi-finals of the 2007 World Cup, but they were bowled out for just 149 by Australia in an embarrassing performance, while in 2011 they were able to top their Group before they suffered a shock defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the quarter-finals.
Smith admits that South Africa have had a love/hate relationship with the Cricket World Cup and their string of heart-breaking losses have ended the folklore of the event, but he believes that the current South African squad can overcome the choker tag and win the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
“At each of these ICC Cricket World Cups, the Proteas showed good form during the event,” Smith said in an article on the ICC website.
“However, I cannot categorically say that we were without doubt the best team or would absolutely have gone on to win any of the tournaments if we had got through our knock-out game.
Regardless of whether or not the chokers tag is justified, it is a label that the current Proteas side has to live with in preparation for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
“They have made peace with it given their history, but are resolute in their belief that they are on the verge of shedding this tag once and for all.
“I know that the current squad are good enough to win this year’s tournament and have I expect that they will go deep.
“I am hoping that come 29 March 2015, this team will have a new tag of ‘the history-makers’.”
South Africa start their 2015 Cricket World Cup campaign against Zimbabwe on Saturday February 14 and they are currently available at odds of $4.50 to win the tournament with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Sign-up and deposit with Ladbrokes.com.au before the start of the 2015 Cricket World Cup to score the best odds on offer for South Africa or any other team as well as take advantage of their wide range of exciting promotions.