South Africa and the word Hoodoo in a World Cup semifinalcontext are like Brothers In Arms akin to the famous song by the legendary band Dire Straits.
The Proteas since their readmission in the international fold in 1992, have contested the ICC Cricket World Cup semifinal on four different occasions and unfortunately have come short each time.
To add misery to their already reeling fortunes, it’s been the might of Australia that has ensured the Mzansi come up second best in two of the aforementioned four.
Yes, Australia has been instrumental in choking South Africa’s fortitude, be it in the 1999 WC semifinal in England where Alan Donald had to just trust Lance Kluesner for the winning run or the 2007 edition in the West Indies where a strong outfit led by Graeme Smith wilted for a paltry 149 batting first with OZ comfortably reaching the target with seven wickets to spare.
Such has been the hazardous effect of this Aussie spell on the Proteas, that one surely would ponder which South African outfit will lock horns with Australia in yet another semifinal this Thursday at the iconic Eden Gardens – the one to falter or the one to fly?
Perhaps for an intrepid Protea fan including me, it should be the latter with the form South Africa has demonstrated in the tournament winning seven out of the nine games they have contested.
The team from the southern shores of Africa have mauled nearly every competitor in this tournament, need one say pretty convincingly that too, sans the likes of the invincible India who possibly can only be beaten by a team from another galaxy and the rising stars in international cricket, the Netherlands who ensured the Proteas came short while chasing.
The South African team so far in their journey have undoubtedly looked sharp with the likes of Quinton de Kock who has been in scintillating form scoring 591 runs with four tons to his name ably supported by Rassie van der Dussen as the able number three having mounted two tons of his own followed by the destructive middle order in Markram, Klaasen and Miller.
When it comes to their bowling, the Proteas haven’t faltered either boasting two young sensations in Gerald Coetzee and Marco Jansen who are right up there in the wickets column with 18 and 17 sticks, respectively.
To a neutral South Africa surely looks formidable but make no mistake their opponents Australia have made victory their mission having won their last seven games on the bounce since their defeats to India and South Africa at the start of the tournament.
Australia know how to get the job done in knock out games having lifted this prestigious trophy on five different occasions.
The team in yellow have talents like Glenn Maxwell who single handedly altered the course of the Afghanistan game with a breathtaking 201 of just 128 deliveries when all seemed lost, in the process earning him the esteemed title of the highest individual score in this edition.
The Big Show has been ably supported by batters the likes of Mitch Marsh, Travis Head, David Warner and Steve Smith who surely making this Australian batting look steaming hot.
Coming to the cherry, the Australians boast arguably one of the best pace trios in world cricket in Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and the captain Pat Cummins.
Well if they don’t make the dent, a wily leg spinner in Adam Zampa would surely do.
With such formidable talent in both the ranks, this contest would indisputably be an edge of the seat affair.
So fasten your seat belts, and get your cricket glares on as Thursday, the 16th is going to etched in the memory of the cricket faithful for years to come.