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South Africa go into the 2013 Champions Trophy as one of the oldest squads in terms of average age (only one player in their 15 man squad is less than 25 years old) yet as one of the favorites to go and win the Championship. Ranked number three in the Group Stage games and led by the capable and resourceful AB de Villiers, South Africa would definitely give themselves more than just a chance to win their first major ICC tournament since the turn of the century.
Best Champions Trophy Result : Winner (1998) at Bangladesh.
Last ODI Series : South Africa Vs Pakistan (in South Africa)
Result: South Africa won the 5-match series 3-2.
Recent ODI Form (most recent to oldest) : WLWLW
South Africa played a challenging ODI series against Pakistan at home in the last week of March which they narrowly sneaked ahead to win 3-2. Since then, five of their players have been in India, competing in the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League, where the likes of David Miller and Dale Steyn left a mark with their tremendous performances. The South African squad set up camp in Amsterdam, where they will be playing against the Netherlands. It will be the first match in over 65 days that nine members of their squad will be playing, since the end of South Africa's cricket season in March.
AB de Villiers was confident of South Africa's chances and was happy with South Africa's preparation, saying "We are just going to have to wait patiently. We are doing the small things right. The work ethic is there, the talent is there and the belief is there, so we've just got to go out there and give it our best shot".
South Africa would be fielding a relatively inexperienced batting-line up this time round with Jacques Kaills deciding to opt out of playing from the Champions Trophy while Graeme Smith's injury forced him to to skip the tournament too. Their absence gives way to JP Duminy who will be making a return to the South African squad after a period of six months since his ruptured Achilles tendon forced him to have surgery on his heel. Also returning to the squad will be the 32-year old Alviro Peterson, who will be making a comeback after playing a season of first-class cricket in England.
Hashim Amla and Alviro Peterson would be expected to take on the responsibility of getting South Africa off to good starts in the English conditions and provide a platform for South Africa's middle order, which revolves around their captain AB de Villiers with Duminy, Faf du Plessis and David Miller expected to provide the support and fire-power. Also in the squad are Colin Ingram and Farhan Behardien who could be called up depending on the balance of the squad.
South Africa's bowling line-up is their real strength in the competition with two of the best fast bowlers in the world, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel leading the way. Steyn in particular has been in great form in the recently concluded IPL and along with his partner Morne Morkel, could be expected to cause great damage to the opposition on the seaming English tracks. They would be supported by Lonwabo Tsotsobe's left arm pace. The other pacer in the side would be Rory Kleinveldt, who made his test debut last year against Australia.
Ryan McLaren, who played for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, would be expected to take on the role of a bowling all-rounder with his medium pacers. He would be competing for a spot in the squad with the experienced Robin Peterson who provides variety with his slow-left arm spin. The other spinner in the squad would be Aaron Phangiso who is an orthidox left-arm spinner who made his international debut last December against New Zealand.
Squad: AB de Villiers (c), Hashim Amla, Farhan Behardien, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Alviro Peterson, Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
Coach : Gary Kirsten (RSA)
Batsmen : Hashim Amla, Alviro Peterson, Farhan Behardien, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf u Plessis, David Miller, Colin Ingram
Bowlers : Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Aaron Phangiso, Rory Kleinveldt,
All-Rounders: Ryan McLaren, Robin Peterson
Player to Watch out for :
Dale Steyn: The South African pacer has been in red hot form in the last couple of years and seems to be effective no matter which conditions he plays in. The English conditions at this time f the year should provide him with assistance to swing the ball at pace and unsettle the opposition batsmen. He would be keen to his lift his game on this World-stage tournament.
South Africa Vs Netherlands (31 May 2013) - Amsterdam, Netherlands
South Africa Vs Pakistan (3 June 2013) - Kennington Oval, London
South Africa Vs India ( 6 June 2013) - Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
South Africa Vs Pakistan ( 10 June 2013) - Edgbaston, Birmingham
South Africa Vs West Indies (14 June 2013) - Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
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