South Africa’s 2015 World Cup strategy

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Is it a sign of a good side that they can get away with working to a fairly predictable strategy? Innovation is often a way of making up for shortcomings.

South Africa’s approach to one-day cricket is what comes up by default in cricket strategy software. You’re meant to tweak it, twisting it to fit your strengths and weaknesses, but the Saffers haven’t bothered. Perhaps this is a sign that they have some rather good one-day players.

Opening partnerships are vital in 50-over cricket – just look at England for proof of that. South Africa have one all-time great in Hashim Amla balanced by Quinton of Kock, who is there to provide a bit of impetus at the outset. They provide a decent platform by any stretch, particularly when that platform is being built for AB de Villiers whose job it is to do whatever’s left.

Along with Virat Kohli, de Villiers is the best one-day bat in the world. He averages 50 and scores at a run a ball, as near as damn it. This year he averages 76. In 2012 he averaged 107. Last year was the first year since 2009 when he didn’t score at more than a run a ball.

Between the openers and de Villiers stands the waxed bulwark of Faf du Plessis. For the first three years of his one-day career, du Plessis failed to score a century and averaged in the twenties. Impressed by this, South Africa moved him to three and since then he’s made three hundreds and averaged 50.

Bowling-wise, South Africa have Dale Steyn. He is the reigning Lord Megachief of Gold, so we don’t feel we need to write about him. Of greater interest is Imran Tahir.

Yes, that’s right – Imran Tahir. The legspinner who concedes about four an over in Tests also concedes about four an over in one-dayers. And he takes a few wickets. We’re not sure anyone’s noticed, but he could be the trump card in what is already a hand full of jacks, queens and kings. You can assign those face cards to the players as you see fit.

King Cricket rating: The Departed

You feel like you’ve seen it before, but it’s done well and there’s a strong cast.

Other nations’ World Cup strategies.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. Am I the only one for whom Dale Steyn’s expressions look similar to Harrison Ford’s in Indiana Jones? or does anybody else also perceive the same way?

  2. Nice rating. Very accurate.

    However, the nation is currently more interested in Episode 14 of University Challenge, aka The King Cricket Special. For those who haven’t seen it yet, here is the link:

    The bits you’re interested in are at 10:35, 14:30 and 24:25. That’s not to say you aren’t interested in voiced dental fricatives or the location of Aberystwyth, but the relevant King Cricket related bits are as referenced.

    Someone here knows about this. I need to know what’s going on. It is not, NOT, coincidental. We need theories, people.

    1. We studied phonetics. We’ve never mentioned voiced dental fricatives on King Cricket though.

    2. Did you study phonetics… at Aberystwyth University?

      (I’ve got dramatic organ music to accompany that moment, or, as it’s phonetically rendered… da da daaaahhh.)

    3. But you did study near to Aberystwyth, didn’t you. Like, in Wales? Or maybe, in the UK? And at… a university!

      (da da daaahhh)

      Now, I’m getting a B. Has anyone ever met anyone ever with a B in their name, or not?

    4. I also studied phonetics. It’s not been much use in my day-to-day life. Considering I only got one of the three questions right last night, it’s not been much academic use either.

  3. It is available in the UK only. How then am I supposed to give you theories that cannot be falsified?

    1. I’ll transcribe it for you:

      [Jeremy Paxman skips lightly onto the stage and does a half pirouette to face the camera]

      JP: Hi, good evening, great to have you with us for another exciting episode of…

      Audience: UUUUUUniversity Challenge

      JP: That’s right, welcome one and all. Tonight we have with us Magdalen College, and they’re from Oxford.

      Audience: Ooooh

      JP: That’s right. Now, Magdalen. You don’t pronounce it Magdalen, do you.

      Magdalen: That’s right Jeremy, we don’t. We pronounce it Magdalen.

      JP: So it’s spelt Magdalen, but pronounced Magdalen. Have I got that right?

      Magdalen: That’s right Jeremy yes. It’s Magdalen.

      JP: Well we’d better hope there aren’t any questions on pronouncing things properly tonight, Magdalen, or should I say Magdalen, or you guys are fucked.

    2. Thanks awfully, Bert. Now I don’t want to be demanding or anything, but you left out the bit at 24:25. I cannot form an opinion unless I know everything that happens at 24:25. I have this nagging feeling that for all of this to come together and a narrative emerge, 24:25 simply cannot be neglected. In fact, I move for this blog to be renamed KC 24:25. I believe, on the basis of absolutely nothing, that it really is that important.

    3. The 24:25 bit is actually the least interesting. I’ll transcribe it for you, only for the sake of completeness.

      Magdalen: …The Pope, Liberace and George Michael?

      JP: Correct, five points. Now, another starter for ten. What disease is forever being mentioned on the King Cricket website in relation to somebody having returned, based on the apparent confusion between the word for “returned” and the word for “a part of the anatomy that isn’t the front”, and we know this because we’re all massive fans of King Cricket and his ace website which is why this entire episode is both based on and… I’ve started so I’ll finish… dedicated to him because he is also ace and actually I often stake out his house at weekends?

      I don’t think there are any clues there.

    4. Hmm, you’re right. All that is rather disappointing. But there IS a clue there somewhere, and I’ll find it. So far I have flowing gowns and pedophilia. Back. Now that’s important. Not front, but back. The article mentions Quinton of Kock. So South Africa. KC. CSK. Dhoni.

      I am going to eat more Diwali sweets to help find the connection. The sugar rush should help.

  4. Looking forward to the article on the England World Cup strategy. When written you should forward it to the ECB as they don’t have a clue at the moment.

    1. We all know what the English strategy is, though.

      Fantasy: Cooky and Belly build for the first twenty overs, negotiate the new ball, Belly eventually gets out for a decent score in the mid-twenties with eighty-odd, Cooky shortly after his century, and then the lower order comes in with the pressure off and wallops it.
      Then Jimmy and Broady bowl ’em out for pittance.

      Reality: Cooky stays in for an annoyingly long while for not many runs, Belly gets out for a really pretty twenty-odd, mini-collapse in the spin overs, the big hitters are split between the desire to stay in and hit big and do neither, and Steven Finn maybe just about lasts the overs.
      Then Jimmy and Broady bowl economically until their early overs are exhausted, the opposition realise that the rest of the England bowlers aren’t nearly as threatening, and they get walloped around the park.

      And that’s just if they don’t have to chase.

  5. It worked against New Zealand today, in NZ.. Will be interesting to see the team Oz puts out against Downtown Africa.

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