The South Africa cricket team, also known as Proteas, is administrated by the Cricket South Africa. South Africa is a full member of International Cricket Council (ICC), with Test, One Day International (ODI) and T20 International (T20I) -playing status. Currently, Faf du Plessis is the captain of the South African national cricket team, and Ottison Gibbs is its head coach.
South Africa entered first-class and international cricket in the 1888-89 season, when they hosted the England cricket team. Initially, South Africa were no match to the likes of Australia or England, but after gaining experience and expertise, they were able to field competitive teams in the first decade of the 20th century. These teams regularly played against Australia, England and New Zealand until the 1960s, when there began a considerable opposition to the country's apartheid policy and an international ban was imposed by the ICC, commensurate with actions taken by other global sporting bodies. When the ban was imposed, South Africa had developed to a point where their team, including Eddie Barlow, Graeme Pollock and Mike Procter, were arguably the best in the world and had just outplayed Australia.
The ban remained in force until 1991. After that, South Africa played against teams like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies for the first time. The team, since their reinstatement, have mostly been a strong side and has at times held the top position in international rankings. But they have lacked success at large tournaments like the World Cup. Some of the most successful South African players since the team’s reinstatement have been Allan Donald, Makhaya Ntini, Shaun Pollock, Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, Kagiso Rabada, AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Herschelle Gibbs, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir and Hashim Amla.
South Africa at ICC cricket World Cups
South Africa played their first cricket World Cup in 1992 after being restored as an international cricket team the previous year. South Africa had a dream start to their World Cup campaign as they reached the semi-finals that year. But they saw their campaign ending in an unlucky way as they lost to England in the semis due to rain break.
In the semi-final, rain interrupted the play before the last ball of the 43rd over. South Africa then required 22 runs off 13 balls for victory. With 2 overs lost due to rain, the target was reduced to 21 runs off only 1 ball. In the 1996 cricket World Cup, South Africa progressed to the Quarter-finals, where they faced defeat at the hands of the West Indies.
The 1999 cricket world cup saw one of the best South African ODI sides playing, but they faltered in the semis against Australia. The match is most remembered for the disastrous run out involving Allan Donald and Lance Klusener which ended the game in a tie and Proteas earned the ‘chokers’ tag. Australia progressed to the final because of their higher position on the super six table than on the basis of superior net run rate.
In the 2003 cricket world cup, South Africa were again knocked out of the World Cup in an unfortunate way as rain intervened to leave their final Group B match against Sri Lanka ending in a tie under the Duckworth-Lewis scoring method.
In the 2007 world cup, South Africa again progressed to the semis but failed to put up a big total, getting bundled out for 149. Australia achieved the target with ease. In both 2011 and 2015 cricket world cups, South Africa were knocked out after being defeated by New Zealand — in the quarterfinals in 2011 and semis in 2015.