Image courtesy of: Pakistan Super League
Legendary South Africa batsman AB de Villiers believes that Pakistan are one of the favourites to win the World Cup in England and Wales later this year.
De Villiers, who scored 218 runs in seven games for the Lahore Qalandars at an average of 54.50 in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), feels this way since Pakistan won the Champions Trophy in 2017, which was also held in England.
However, in addition to Pakistan, De Villiers also conceded that India, England and Australia are among the frontrunners to win the tournament.
As for South Africa, De Villiers believes they have a chance, but are not among the favourites to taste World Cup glory.
“I do believe South Africa have a chance, like we did at any other World Cup, because we are a world-class team with plenty of match-winners,” De Villiers told Sport24. “The Proteas are certainly in the running, but I won’t say they are the favourites to be honest with you.
“India and England are looking strong, Australia have won five World Cups in the past and Pakistan claimed the Champions Trophy in the UK two years ago. Those four teams are probably the favourites, but the way the Proteas have been playing in the 50-over format of late has been encouraging.”
South Africa made it to the semi-finals in the 2015 World Cup, but were eliminated by New Zealand off the penultimate ball of the match.
While De Villiers, who was captaining the Proteas during that time, doesn’t see South Africa as one of the favourites to win, he insisted that there is still a chance they can pull it off and win the World Cup for the first time ever.
“Some of South Africa’s batsmen and bowlers are ranked within the top 10 in the world, so of course we have a chance,” he said. “However, to say that the Proteas are favourites would be difficult… If South Africa win the Cricket World Cup, I don’t think we will be able to compare it to the 1995 Rugby World Cup triumph, which united the nation.
“However, it will definitely have a huge impact on our country. Things aren’t easy in South Africa and haven’t been for a while now, but winning a major sporting event could definitely help in getting things back on track.”