On 14 September 2019, I wrote about History beckoning for Siya Kolisi and his Springboks for the 2019 World Cup in Japan – and I was spot on baring the semi finals, where I had the teams swapped around – but the Boks triumphed and I felt vindicated by my predictions.
South Africa begin their ill-fated T20 World Cup quest against Australia on 23 October and we all know how the Proteas fair at ICC events!
The Proteas, by virtue of their T20 ICC ranking, automatically qualify for the Super `12 round of the bi-annual event and will only know who their other group opponents will be – besides the Aussies, England and the West Indies – come 20h00 on Friday 22 October when the final Round 1 fixture between Sri Lanka and the Netherlands concludes.
The first round of the World Cup is split into two qualifying groups with Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherland and Namibia contesting Group A while Bangladesh, Scotland, Oman and Papua New Guinea battle out in Group B.
The Proteas will have the winner of Group A and the runner-up of Group B in their Super 12 group – most likely Sri Lanka and Scotland.
Having just trounced the Islanders 3-0 in their own backyard, the Proteas are more than likely to sweep aside Sri Lanka as well as Scotland.
The West Indies are always a tricky bunch because you never know who will turn up – and having just secured a 3-2 win in the Caribbean, Temba Bavuma’s warriors will feel they have what it takes to beat the Windies.
The Proteas fate could well be sealed by the time they face England on 6 November! Should they lose to Australia in their opening match and suffer the same fate against the Windies, the match against England could well be one where they determine where the Poms end on the log.
However, they might just fancy their chances against Aaron Finch’s men, who have not had the best of times in T20 matches of late.
So, they could head into the final group match needing a win to either secure top spot, or fight for qualification. And that is my gripe with T20 cricket – I actually hate it.
There is no real form to go on because in T20 cricket, just one person comes off and Papua New Guinea could win the bloody thing!
But let me not complain before the first ball is even bowled.
Should the Proteas even make it to the semi final’s, they land up playing one of three sides – India, Pakistan or New Zealand.
And for me, this is where the tournament ends for Bavuma’s men. With everything that has happened in and around South African cricket of late, I do not see them making the final – if they even reach the semi’s.
The fact that one of the most consistent spinners, George Linde, has only been selected as a travelling reserve, speaks volumes of the selection conundrum we face when it comes to “making up the numbers”.
Keshav Maharaj really stepped up against Sri Lanka when Bavuma got injured, but to surpass Linde into the T20 World Cup squad is like saying the earth is flat as Linde’s batting is far better than Maharaj’s will ever be.
So here is my prediction – the Proteas will end third on their log and not make the semi-finals!
This will strengthen the hounds for coach Mark Boucher’s head as they have been clamoring for all along. They will also go after Director of Cricket Graeme Smith’s head and Cricket South Africa (CSA) will have to pay a heavy sum to dismiss him.
And so it will come to pass that the protagonists will get their way. Boucher and Smith will be fired and CSA will be plunged into yet another off-field drama.
But what would these nay-sayers have to say if, by some chance, Bavuma and his squad can somehow lift their first piece of ICC silverware since 1996?
Bet you one thing! Boucher will still be vilified but Bavuma will get all the praise!