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In World Cup 2019, South Africa want to do a Pakistan of Champions Trophy in 2017

"It really really comes down to the form that you are in as a team,"- Faf du Plessis.

Faf du Plessis of South Africa
Faf du Plessis of South Africa. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The ICC World Cup 2019 will kick off in England and Wales in May and the pre-season predictions about probable winners are mostly seen in favour of hosts England and India – currently the top two teams in the ICC’s ODI rankings. Defending champions Australia have also crawled back into the reckoning after their brilliant victory in the recent T20I and ODI series in India. However, not many people are talking about South Africa in the same breath even though the Proteas have just registered their fifth successive series win in the 50-over format.

The four-time semi-finalists haven’t been able to reach the final even once, falling in the second-last hurdle which has earned them the tag of ‘chokers’. However, the fourth-ranked team which thrashed Sri Lanka 5-0 in their latest ODI series at home could be a force at the showpiece event no matter what the pundits are thinking. South Africa will play the first game of the upcoming WC against England at the Oval on May 30 while India will play their first match of the tournament against the Proteas on June 5.

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For du Plessis, it’s about form

Proteas captain Faf du Plessis recently revealed that his side wanted to follow Pakistan’s model from ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 for the upcoming WC. “Obviously, with it being in England they are favourites and they have been getting good results there. But for me, it’s about form. It really really comes down to the form that you are in as a team and as individuals. If you have three or four in your batting line-up hitting purple patches it literally changes the whole tournament. If you have bowlers on top of their game [too],” du Plessis was quoted as saying by Timesnownews.com.

He said nobody thought Pakistan were favourites for the Champions Trophy which was also played in England two years ago but the Asian side played as a unit and kept surprising teams. “We going there with that exact same mindset,” du Plessis said ahead of SA’s three-match T20I series against the Lankans starting March 19.

Even in the 1992 WC held in Australia and Pakistan, nobody had given many chances to Imran Khan-led Pakistan but the side remained focused on the job and eventually lifted the trophy. SA though no longer have AB de Villiers in their ranks but yet they have enough names in their ranks that can help the side go the distance to script history.

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