Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith has said that Proteas hopes of winning their first World Cup cold be thwarted by their inability to chase down targets.
While batting first in the tournament till now, South Africa registered a total of more than 400 against West Indies and Ireland and also piled up 339 against Zimbabwe. But while chasing 308 against India at Melbourne, they got bundled out for just 177. Their latest flop while chasing came against Pakistan at Auckland on March 7th when they lost the match by 29 runs in the pursuit of just 232.
“South Africa’s win-loss record, when chasing 240 or more since the last World Cup, is 3-10 whilst they only have a 39 percent win percentage when chasing in one-day internationals since January 2013.
“On the contrary, when batting first, South Africa has a 24-8 win-loss record, which is the best among all Test playing nations during the same period.
“If one were to examine this issue more closely it would also become apparent that in every game in which the Proteas have been knocked out of a World Cup since 1992, they batted second with the exception of the semi-final loss to Australia in 2007.”
Smith also feared that South Africa’s potential opponents in the knockout stages might exploit their nervousness to extend their record of never having made a World Cup final.
“They have a lot more work to do in very little time. Even with one pool game to go their attention would have shifted to the likely quarter-final opponents of either Sri Lanka or Australia who would definitely have noted that their chasing travails continued,” Smith added.