South Africa and Zimbabwe faced each other in their opening matches of the world cup. South Africa pulled through with a convincing 62-run victory despite Zimbabwe’s fight with both bat and ball. Here’s what we need to know about the two teams:
ICC Ranking: 3rd
Best performance: Semi-finalists (1992, 1999, 2007)
Captain: AB de Villiers
Coach: Russell Domingo
Best ranked bowler: Dale Steyn (3rd)
Best ranked batsman: AB de Villiers (1st)
Recent ODI form: W W W L W
Squad: Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), AB de Villiers (wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir.
South Africa go into the tournament as one of the favourites to lift the world cup and finally put the ‘chokers’ tag to bed. They have a real balance to their team, with two batsmen and two bowlers each ranked in the top ten in their respective brackets. While they do offer such big-name players, their real test will come when it’s up to the second tier players to perform and test the depth of the team & squad.
ICC Ranking: 10th
Best performance: Super 6 (1999, 2003)
Captain: Elton Chigumbura
Coach: Dav Whatmore
Best ranked bowler: Prosper Utseya (39th)
Best ranked batsman: Brendan Taylor (31st)
Recent ODI form: L L L L L
Squad: Regis Chakabva (wk), Tendai Chatara, Chamu Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Craig Ervine, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Solomon Mire, Tawanda Mupariwa, Tinashe Panyangara, Sikandar Raza, Brendan Taylor (wk), Prosper Utseya, Sean Williams.
Zimbabwe is one of the teams one would put down to have at least one upset this tournament, and possibly sneak into the knock out stages. They have their fair share of noteworthy players who are as capable as any to guide their team to a win on their day. Certainly ones to look out for among the teams outside the top eight in the ICC rankings.
** World Cup warm-up matches not included in the teams’ recent forms