By: Chinmay Vaidya
Let's face it; things don't exactly go South Africa's way in World Cups. 1992, 1999, 2007 and 2015 will forever be etched in South African fans' memories. A lot of the Proteas' struggles are preventable, but some are sheerly bad luck. For the 2019 campaign, one the team will have to embark on without superstar AB de Villiers, it'll be up to openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock to re-discover historically good form.
South Africa's openers are elite when it comes to average opening stands, with a minimum of 50 partnerships. Amla and de Kock are the best active opening pair with the innings limitation, averaging 47.78 runs per partnership. They have had 10 100-run stands and 14 50-run stands in their illustrious career as opening partners. However, the duo's recent form has been lackluster.
In their last 10 opening stands, Amla and de Kock have put together zero 100-run stands. They've got 2 50-run stands and clock in at an average of 36.2 runs per partnership. That is simply not going to cut it for South Africa in the World Cup, especially without de Villiers to provide consistent runs. de Kock had a stellar IPL season and should be able to carry that form into England. Amla has experience, but will he able to handle the top-end pace bowlers in English conditions?
The rest of South Africa's roster features a mix between foundational batsmen and aggressive hitters, meaning the Amla-de Kock duo must routinely provide a good platform for the Proteas to hunt down big totals.
Amla is the key. If he can re-discover his 2015 World Cup form, where he scored 333 runs at 41.62 runs on average, South Africa will in good shape. de Kock's aggression and Amla's stability have always been a strong opening combination. If there's ever a good time for them to get back to their historic ways, the 2019 World Cup would be it.
Note: All statistics as of May 25, 2019