Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith says South Africa’s inability to chase targets when batting second could derail their quest for a first ever World Cup title.
South Africa lost their second pool match by 29 runs against Pakistan on Saturday after their were asked to chase 232 for victory. They also lost their second pool match against India when they had to chase a score of 307, but failed to reach 200.
Smith, in his column for the ICC, said he was concerned about South Africa’s ability to chase targets.
‘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,’ wrote Smith.
‘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 said he feared that potential opponents in the knockout stages will exploit South Africa’s 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.’