Ottis Gibson's initial task was to win the World Cup. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG – Solo Nqweni is a young all-rounder from the Eastern Cape who is yet to crack a spot in the Warriors franchise team. That’s not the relevant bit. What is, is something Nqweni tweeted this week about his shock at the lack of attention the Proteas are getting in England ahead of the World Cup.

Nqweni has been tuning in to different radio and TV shows about the World Cup and according to him, in England they’re obviously mentioning the host nation (a lot), India (because it’s India), and Australia (because the sandpaper duo are back), and even the West Indies, New Zealand and Pakistan are getting a lot of airtime.

I’ve been following various media outlets from around the cricket world closely and Nqweni is right, not many are talking about the Proteas' World Cup chances. That may escalate next week as the tournament opener nears but in the early forecasts, no one besides South Africans is talking about the Proteas.

Heck, on one show on a popular cricket website, one analyst went so far as to say that South Africa would not make the semi-finals (which is not such a bold prediction) and that they would finish below Bangladesh on the round-robin log.

I don’t think it’s going to be that bad but I don’t think it’s going to be good either.

Coach Ottis Gibson won’t tell anyone outside the squad how many wins he reckons South Africa will need from their nine round-robin matches to qualify for the semis.

The last time this format - where every team faces each other once with the top four qualifying for the semis - was used was in 1992 when there were nine teams. New Zealand topped the log with seven wins from eight matches. England and South Africa won five each - the English finishing second because of an extra point earned from a rained out match - while three teams, including eventual champions Pakistan, finished with four wins each.

Going by that, the Proteas will need five wins to get them into the semis in England. 

So how do you get those five? You have to bank three - Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and yes, Bangladesh have to be beaten. Beating England and/or India would be a bonus; there's a chance of catching the latter cold in the June 5 encounter given it's India’s first match of the tournament, and it will be South Africa’s third.


The Star

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