One has to doff one’s cap to former Proteas captain Shaun Pollock, especially after his own World Cup heartbreak, because he is still very positive about South Africa’s chances of still making the semi-finals despite their dismal start to the tournament.
Pollock was captain in 2003 when South Africa last failed to get out of the group stages, in a tournament they hosted, their hopes being dashed in a tied match with Sri Lanka at his home ground of Kingsmead when the team leadership failed to realise they had to add one run to the Duckworth/Lewis score on their printout.
The current Proteas team have to win all four of their remaining matches – starting with their daunting match-up against New Zealand, the team that knocked them out of the last two World Cups, at Edgbaston on Wednesday – and hope some other results go their way in order to reach the final four.
But Pollock says all is not doom and gloom.
“If you think about it, South Africa’s situation is not that bad. They’ve played the two top teams and, before the tournament, not many people would have realistically expected us to beat England or India. Of course losing to Bangladesh was a blow, but you have to give them credit because they played the perfect game.
“The weather against the West Indies is something you can’t control, but they played well against Bangladesh and that will have lifted their confidence. Although New Zealand and Australia will be tough opponents, we have beaten both of them in the last series we played against them, both away from home, and the Proteas have shown they are a better side than both Pakistan and Sri Lanka in recent outings,” Pollock told The Citizen.
“So South Africa are not out of the reckoning just yet, and they do have some outstanding cricketers that the other teams will be worried about. They’ve got a bit of momentum now from the Afghanistan game, they’ll be feeling more confident with a win to their name. And some of the teams they still have to play still have to play each other so they will be taking points off each other,” Pollock added.