To qualify 2023 World Cup, South Africa needs more than victories

It would be great if you purchased your tickets as soon as possible if you need to go from South Africa to Zimbabwe in June. Due to the likelihood that a sizable part of them will be reserved in the names of individuals like Temba Bavuma, Kagiso Rabada, and Quinton de Kock, they will be in more demand than normal.

The country directly to their north, where the tournament’s qualification will be held, appears more and more likely to be the South Africans’ road to the 2023 World Cup.

That was true before Bavuma’s squad defeated India on Thursday in Lucknow, and it is still true in light of that significant victory. It is sobering that South Africa’s attempt to qualify for the World Cup failed despite an unbroken century stand between Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller in difficult conditions against an India attack that was at the top of their game, followed by Rabada,

Wayne Parnell, and Keshav Maharaj limiting the damage to less than a run-a-ball and adding up to a hard-fought victory by nine runs. That fact won’t be changed for sure, not even by a 3-0 whitewash of the series, which resumes on Sunday in Ranchi and concludes on Tuesday in Delhi.

It must be acknowledged that no matter what South Africa does or how many games they win in the World Cup Super League (WCSL) they still have remaining, they will most likely be travelling to Zimbabwe to compete against the underdogs.

Since 1992, when they emerged from the shadow of apartheid, South Africa has participated in all eight iterations of the competition. For their first seven matches, however, they did not need to qualify since the discriminatory old-boy culture of cricket guaranteed spots to full members, of whom South Africa has belonged since 1909. The top eight teams in the WCSL rankings in May, together with the hosts India, who are presently ranked sixth, will make up the 10 teams playing in the qualification in 2020. This changed in 2019.

The South Africans are now ranked 11th out of the other 12 teams in the WCSL. The 24 matches on the schedules of the 10 teams above them are all further along. West Indies has finished its slate and is currently sixth with 88 points. South Africa would climb up to ninth place with three victories in India. or yet outside of the area for immediate qualifying. The rankings will remain unchanged till India visits New Zealand in November.

The following WCSL series was scheduled to take place during South Africa’s visit to Australia, which begins on December 17 with a Test series. However, CSA made the decision to give up that match in order to guarantee that its star players would be available for the first SA20 in January and February.

Things may have turned out differently if South Africa had defeated Ireland in Dublin in July of last year and had their home series against the Netherlands in November not been plagued by the epidemic (the other two matches were postponed) and bad weather (the first match washed out). The ifs and buts, however, are irrelevant.

What this means is that after the India tour, South Africa’s only remaining home games against England in January and February and the Netherlands in March will be their greatest chances of avoiding a trip to Zimbabwe. South Africa’s victory against the Netherlands can undoubtedly only be prevented by the weather. Even though they have only won two of their past five full ODIs, the English will still present a far stiffer test.