Rassie van der Dussen says they will use their underdog tag to their advantage. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

CARDIFF – South Africa batsman Rassie van der Dussen thinks his side have "a really strong chance" of taking home the title at this summer's ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.

It will be the 30-year-old's maiden Cricket World Cup campaign, and he spoke of the excitement surrounding his and his teammates' arrival in Cardiff for the pre-tournament fixtures.

"I’m really excited," he said in an interview with the ICC. "It’s been a long build-up and a long month of preparation, and we arrived in Cardiff to beautiful weather so we couldn’t ask for much more. I’ve heard the weather here is usually worse than this!"

Van der Dussen has been a key performer for his country since making his international debut in October 2018. From nine ODIs, he has four half-centuries at an average of 88.25, and his excellent performances since joining the fold might just have seen him cement his place in South Africa's top order come tournament time.

He was quick to commend his more celebrated team-mates, however, citing the plethora of seasoned campaigners in the Proteas' ranks as the cause not to rule them out of going all the way. "In terms of our chances as a team, we have match-winners right up and down the line-up," he said.

"We’ve got world-class players in Faf (du Plessis), Dale (Steyn), JP (Duminy), Imran (Tahir). There are so many.

"We’re not favourites in this tournament, which is probably the first time in a while that we don’t enter as out-and-out favourites, but we are going to look to use that to our advantage and I think we have a really strong chance."

Van der Dussen might have gotten off to a fast start to his international career, but he had to take his time waiting for the opportunity to present itself. Even 12 months ago, playing in a World Cup was something that seemed a long way off.

"I’ve been playing a while now, and if a year or two ago you had said to me I’d be here, then I would have expected a lot to happen in that time," he said.

"You see it as a possibility, it’s always been a dream and goal to represent my country, let alone in a World Cup. I’m really honoured to be here and looking forward to it to start. This is the biggest stage in the world and that’s where you want to perform. I’ve played a few games for South Africa now, and the last two years have been good for me form-wise.

"My basic concept was to take it a game at a time and be at your best every moment and every ball. I’m going to try and keep that going, and whether the stage is big or not, the fundamentals of the game stay the same."  

African News Agency (ANA)