There’s no need to panic, South Africa are more than good enough to win the World Cup, said Kepler Wessels on SuperSport
Reviewing the Proteas latest reverse against Pakistan, which they lost by 29 runs with 13 overs remaining, Wessels reminded the nation that the team need only play their best cricket in the knockout stages.
‘Some of our batsmen are playing brilliantly and we have as good a chance as any other team to win the World Cup,’ he said. ‘It’s not ideal to lose these matches, but you save your best for when it really matters,’ he said.
But once again, he pressed for young opener Quinton de Kock to drop down the order after he was caught behind off the second ball of the innings without scoring. His return from five innings has been a total of 27, and the opening partnership has never gone beyond the sixth over.
‘I must say that losing a wicket in the first over is not ideal, it really sets you back,’ said Wessels with typical understatement. ‘We need to look at an alternative strategy if we are going to continue with the seven batsman strategy. Rilee Rossouw has got a [ODI] hundred and is in good form [128 runs from three innings], so maybe it is time to move him to the top of the order and De Kock down, to give some breathing space.
‘It is a concern that we have not responded well against good bowling attacks, against India and Pakistan, but it does not help the cause that you are one down in the first couple of overs.’
Nevertheless, South Africa should end the pool stage in second place behind India, said Wessels, with just one game to go, against the UAE. ‘Unless we are rained off, and Pakistan could sneak in ahead [if they beat Ireland], but all things being equal, it should be a formality to take second place.’
The most likely scenario would be a tie against Sri Lanka.