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Cricket World Cup Day 12: Proteas need win to avoid choke chatter

| 26.02.2015

Is a familiar pattern forming for South African cricket at a major tournament? Is the tag of pre-tournament favouritism weighing heavily around Protea necks again? Speak to anyone in AB de Villiers’ squad and they’ll tell you no, but then they are supposed to say that.

After a nasty 130-run defeat to India in their second Pool B outing at the World Cup, the South African squad move from Melbourne to Sydney to face the West Indies and realign their juddering campaign.

That will be no easy task, as Jason Holder’s side are fresh from watching their two biggest batting stars pummel Zimbabwe, while injury concerns add another unwanted speed-bump in their preparations.

Vernon Philander is definitely ruled out of the match with a hamstring injury, while JP Duminy must pass a fitness test on the morning of the match to be included in the XI.

However South Africa choose to solve their selection quandary, they need a far more assured performance from their revered top order if worries over their tournament hopes are to be quashed.

Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and De Villiers were all back in the sheds for just 83 runs against Zimbabwe in the first outing, then 133 against India. Considering their World Cup favouritism is built largely on that quartet’s form, the side need far more from them.

If any opponents will help them relocate their groove it’s the West Indies. Both Amla and De Villiers have four hundreds each against the Caribbean collective in their ODI careers, with the bearded opener managing his in just 11 games.

He’s 8/1 to be named man of the match at the SCG, is 5/6 to score over 35.5 runs and 5/4 to register a 50, with the book-ended two prices looking most appealing considering the stylish opener is due a big score.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.