South Africa

  • Last Updated: September 19 2012, 11:49 BST

We take a look at South Africa's squad, key players and hopes at the ICC World Twenty20.

Steyn: Constant threat

Group C Fixtures: September 20: Zimbabwe at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota, 1500 BST
September 23: Sri Lanka at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota, 1100 BST

Overview: Over the past 12 months, Gary Kirsten has put the structures in place for South Africa to achieve their full potential. At times the results have been scarily good, such as The Oval Test against England recently, and in general the Proteas appear to have their heads screwed on better than they have in the past.

The World Twenty20 will provide a new challenge though, and it remains to be seen whether Kirsten has worked out his best XI in the shortest format. He certainly has options at his disposal in all departments and he's placed a big emphasis on flexibility in his players, but it remains to be seen whether his methods are the way to go. Kirsten has now taken two sides to the top of the Test rankings and has also won a World Cup, but his success with India never extended to the Twenty20 format.

South Africa have not gone into an ICC event without Graeme Smith since the 2002 Champions Trophy - a run of nine tournaments. With AB de Villiers injecting some fresh ideas and a new energy into the squad, there will be renewed hopes that the Proteas can finally break their hoodoo and win their first ICC competition since 1998.

A largely experimental unit was humbled in Zimbabwe a few months back in an unofficial tri-series, but a full-strength squad did rather better in England, and would surely have won the series were it not for rain ending the second match five balls short of the five overs needed to constitute a game.

Strengths: Few sides - perhaps only India - boast so many options with bat and ball in their line-up. Their batting line-up is nicely balanced in terms of strokeplayers and bludgeoners, and there is a good depth of experience. With JP Duminy and Justin Ontong (or alternatively Faf du Plessis) in the line-up they have four spinning options, and their pace attack has the variety of Steyn's outright pace, Morne Morkel's height, Lonwabo Tsotsobe's left-armers and T20 stalwart Albie Morkel's extensive subcontinental experience.

Weaknesses: Kirsten has spent the last 10 T20Is trying to coach the middle order to be flexible, the success or otherwise of which will determine their tournament. They like to keep a left-hand/right-hand combination in the middle, which makes some sense but has led to some bizarre wasting of resources. As is always the case when major tournaments come round, South Africa's past failures have to be taken into account. They have a team to win this on the field, but does this new South Africa side still have the mental fragility of old?

Six-hitter: Albie Morkel. He's a long way from being the best batsman in a side featuring the superb all-round batsmanship of Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, but he's the man who will be charged with clearing the boundary should South Africa need to go big. He has hit more sixes than fours in T20I cricket and with such classical strokemakers around him in the order should have licence here to go for broke, especially with fellow big hitter Richard Levi looking short of quality against the best opposition.

Strike bowler: Dale Steyn. The world's best bowler and a glorious sight. A fast bowler of real menace with a fantastic attitude to go with his talent, few will enjoy the prospect of trying to take on the Steyn Remover. Of course, speed on the ball can often equal speed off the bat, and Steyn can be a touch expensive at times. But his fearsome pace coupled with deadly accuracy and control of swing mean he is international cricket's most accomplished wicket-taker, and there are few better ways to slow a T20 innings than some well-timed stump rearranging.

One to watch: JP Duminy. Not the biggest name in the South African line-up but, in the absence of Graeme Smith, is the highest T20I run-scorer in the Proteas squad. His stylish and much-improved middle-order batting - he is capable of both measured accumulation and rapid acceleration depending on the situation - is complemented by superb fielding and handy off-spin bowling which makes him a key cog in South Africa's limited-overs machine.

Squad: AB de Villiers (capt, wk), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Johan Botha, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Jacques Kallis, Richard Levi, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.