7 factors that will determine whether the Proteas will win the T20 World Cup

Anrich Nortje cricketAnrich Nortje.

South Africa’s 2024 T20 World Cup campaign in the United States of America and the West Indies has enjoyed a solid start. They beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in New York and will now go into other key group D fixtures against the Netherlands, Bangladesh and beyond.

The Proteas have never won this tournament. They have exited the competition at the semi-final stage twice. Perhaps they can break the bogey this year? Here are seven factors that will determine whether South Africa will win this T20 World Cup.

  1. Quinton de Kock at the top of the order

De Kock has been in indifferent form lately. He was off colour for the Lucknow Super Giants in the Indian Premier League and has not been at his best for South Africa. De Kock has retired from Test cricket and, more recently ODI competition. Whether he is still invested in playing T20I cricket remains in the balance. South Africa really need de Kock at the top of his game if they are to ultimately justify their strong online betting odds among the title favourites.

  1. Heinrich Klaasen’s power hitting

Klaasen has become a household name in T20 cricket around the world. He almost won the IPL title with the Sunrisers Hyderabad earlier this year. They lost the final to the Kolkata Knight Riders. Klaasen is renowned for his range hitting. He is, indeed, a prolific six hitter. Conditions in the USA and Caribbean are not as good for batting as they are in say, Mumbai or Delhi, but Klaasen has the ability and prowess to overcome this. South Africa certainly need this from their middle-order kingpin. You can see him in Major League Cricket in the USA later this year as well.

  1. Tristan Stubbs’ supportive role

Stubbs is another cricketer who has gone into the T20 World Cup on the back of some solid form in the IPL. He was with the Delhi Capitals – and really held his own among other big names such as Rishabh Pant. Stubbs is the least experienced among South Africa’s first-choice batting order in T20I cricket, but perhaps the most exciting prospect. He finds interesting areas in the field to score boundaries. This sort of invention and ingenuity will be required by the Proteas.

  1. We need to talk about Anrich Nortje

Plenty was said about Nortje prior to the 2024 T20 World Cup. He was returning from a long-term injury, had not played competitive cricket for an extended period and was out of sorts during the IPL. He has quietened critics and helped fans by putting in a player of the match performance against Sri Lanka. His four wickets against a threatening opposition order, in difficult circumstances, spoke volumes of Nortje’s ability to succeed under pressure. With the new and old ball, he is going to be key for the Proteas across the rest of this tournament.

  1. Captain Aiden Markram

This is Markram’s first time captaining South Africa at a major International Cricket Council tournament. His leadership ability will be in focus. Markram has captained the Sunrisers Eastern Cape to back-to-back SA20 titles. He has also captained South Africa to an Under-19 World Cup title. He has the pedigree to go all the way with and for the Proteas, too. But Markram must not let the additional responsibility negatively affect his primary role with the bat. He might even have a role to play with the ball on tiring pitches in the Caribbean and surrounds. Markram can be a handy spin bowler.

  1. Calling on Kagiso Rabada

There are not a lot of consistent fast bowlers on the T20I circuit. While Rabada has clever variations and mixes his pace now and then, he does rely on outright speed a lot of the time. Rabada was nursing an infection prior to this tournament, but is now fit and raring to go. Rabada will continue to be the attack spearhead – and lead Nortje and others by example. He will have a mentoring role to play to Gerald Coetzee, no doubt.

  1. Avoiding the so-called choke

Rob Walter is relatively new to the South African set-up after being hired as limited-overs coach. He has worked closely with Test coach Shukri Conrad, but this is the first time most eyes will be almost entirely on Walter alone. He has a lot to prove. Many have failed before him. But Walter is an astute leader and tactician with global and domestic experience. He has waxed lyrical about how South Africa are not so-called chokers at big tournaments. He has also spoken through plenty of substance, detailing how he and the team will go about winning the title in the USA and Caribbean. The proof will be in the pudding, which might get increasingly sticky with each win or defeat. When the play-off stage of the tournament nears, Walter will have to navigate even more pressure and field several additional questions about whether South Africa can actually get it right this time. We’ll see if they can.