About the Match
The South Africans start their World Cup campaign with the match against Zimbabwe on 15th Feb at Hamilton and will be eager to kick-start on a winning note; Zimbabwe received a morale boost when they defeated Sri Lanka in the warm-up game on Wednesday and will try to give a better performance here on Sunday. Although the contest could prove to be one-sided in favour of South Africa, the fans will surely see the best efforts coming from both teams; we could witness a stiff challenge from Zimbabwe, a team that’s ready to deliver with a mix of young talent and experience.
The team composition looks steady and they have their preparations in order as AB de Villiers is all set to captain the side; they are hopeful to turn things around this time and keep up the tempo throughout the series. With batsmen like Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy, batting shouldn’t be a worry; however, they need to be careful in keeping a cool head above their shoulders in crunch situations. Although the first match is against a weaker Zimbabwean side, South Africa will come up with a strong performance from the word go; Dale Steyn with his pace attack and Imran Tahir with the spin magic look to be in top shape while Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel, Kyle Abbott, Aaron Phangiso and Wayne Parnell have been performing consistently in recent tournaments. All-rounders Ferhaan Behardien, Duminy and Plessis will definitely step up and come out all guns blazing; they have the experience and talent but must learn to reign in the nerves when it matters the most. Overall, the team must take the challenge one game at a time and focus on the final goal, which they have been working so hard to achieve.
Elton Chigumbura is a positive leader and with the victory against Sri Lanka in the warm-up match, he will surely set his expectations from the team very high. He leads a team that has a good mix of batsmen and bowlers; Masakadza, Brendon Taylor, Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza will feature in the top order and are expected to bring in most of the runs. There are several all-rounders like Panyangara, Kamungozi and Chibhabha, who have been doing well, but they need to gel as a unit to come out all guns blazing against the topmost bowlers here. Middle order batsmen like Craig Ervine and Chatara need to step up and provide stability while the bowling squad comprising of players like Prosper Utseya, Solomon Mire, Matsikenyeri, Chigumbura, Williams and Kamungozi will need to deliver with the ball. Although they have tough challenges ahead, they need to overcome their weaknesses and focus on executing the strategies to perfection.
While South Africa clearly goes in as favourites for the first match on Sunday, Zimbabwe cannot be taken lightly; both sides have their strong points and the contest will see them using the resources well. Zimbabwe needs some time to settle down and may find it difficult to outsmart South Africa, which is better equipped to handle the pressure and score an easy win here.
Australia, 1.03 @ Bet365