South Africa World Cup profile: Hashim Amla's form a worry as Proteas aim to shed 'chokers' tag

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Amla (centre) has been out of form for some time now.

ICC World Cup heartbreak and South Africa have become synonymous with each other ever since the Proteas made their debut in the competition in 1992.

Four times have South Africa failed at the semi-final hurdle with the latest of them coming in the 2015 edition, where they fell to an agonising defeat at the hands of co-hosts New Zealand.

From the dramatic loss to Australia in the semi-final of the 1999 World Cup to being hard done by the Duckworth-Lewis (DLS) method in 1992, South Africa have a history of making a hash of the competition despite the prodigious talents at their disposal.

The current crop led by skipper Faf du Plessis is not short of talent themselves with the Proteas coming into the 2019 ICC World Cup on the back of some impressive results in the 50-over format.

Since their disappointing campaign in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy in England, South Africa have only been beaten once in any bilateral ODI series. Apart from India who prevailed 6-1, South Africa have notched convincing wins over Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in that period.

Shedding their tag of ‘chokers’ and advancing to their maiden World Cup final will be top of the agenda for du Plessis’ men in England.

Record: Semi-final 1992, 1999, 2007 and 2015

Squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, JP Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Chris Morris, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi.

Strength: Pace battery. In Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi, the Proteas have one of the most fearsome pace arsenals at the World Cup. Rabada is coming off a stupendous IPL campaign while veteran Steyn will be desperate to perform in what is surely his final World Cup.

Weakness: Stalwart Hashim Amla is struggling for form in all three formats with an average of just 16.25 in his last 12 innings across all competitions. With AB de Villiers no more a part of the international setup, the Proteas need Amla back at his best at the top.

Tahir going strong at 40.

Tahir going strong at 40.

Man to watch: Veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir is showing no signs of slowing down with age. Tahir has been in sensational form for CSK in the IPL this year and will be expected to do plenty of damage in England with wrist-spinners set to play a massive role in the World Cup.

Surprise Package: Rassie van der Dussen has had an excellent start to his international career with a batting average of over 88 after nine ODIs. He could turn out to be the replacement South Africa need down the order for De Villiers.

Verdict: Semi-final

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