It took 12 years for South Africa cricket team to become the third county, after England and Australia, to play the Test cricket back in late 19th Century. They played their first Test at home in Port Elizabeth in 1889 against England – almost exactly 12 years from the first Test match in 1877 in Australia. South Africa lost the Test by 8 wickets but a new era of Test cricket began that produced some of the finest cricketers like Aubrey Faulkner, Graeme Pollock to name a few.
Since then, South Africa have played 439 Tests – 6th overall among the Test-playing nations – and have won 165 Tests losing 150 and drawing 124 Tests. Their win-loss ratio of 1.1 is third-best after Australia and England. South Africa are among only 4 teams in Test history to have won more Tests than they have lost.
South Africa’s one day record is even better. It’s a surprise that a team with such a consistent performance in the ODIs has never won an ODI World Cup. The 22-year ban since the year 1970 due to the apartheid policies meant they could not participate in the first 4 ODI World Cups. On return to International cricket, they played amazingly well in the 1992 ODI World Cup until the unfortunate exit in a rain-curtailed match against England. Overall, South Africa have played 625 ODIs winning 385 of them and losing just 216 with 18 matches ending in no-result. They have the highest winning percentage of 61% among all the teams who have played more than 11 ODIs. South Africa have been consistent in ODIs ever since they returned to cricket back in 1992 but somehow, they chocked at crucial stages of the World event and thus could not win a World Cup so far.
South Africa have been playing T20 cricket since 2005. Since then, they played 124 matches winning 70 of those – 56% winning percentage. They have lost 52 T20 international matches so far and tied 1 with 1 match resulting in no-result. The inaugural T20I World Cup happened in South Africa in 2007. However, they are yet to win a T20I World Cup.
The home season for South Africa cricket team generally commences from late September or early October and goes on to next year till February or March. South Africa also have a tradition of hosting boxing day Test on 26th December. Unlike Australia, their venue for the boxing day Test is not fixed. The last two boxing day Tests happened at Centurion and a couple before that happened in Port Elizabeth. This year, they will be playing Sri Lanka for the boxing day Test at the Centurion.
Apart from the world events at home, for the rest of the year, South Africa travels to England, Australia and India primarily. When on tours they generally play 2-3 Tests series. At times they play 4-match Test series against England and India. South Africa last played 5 match Test series against England in 2003. On away tours, South Africa generally play 3-5 ODIs and 2-4 T20Is in the limited-overs series. The 4-match T20I series against India in 2016 is the longest bilateral series South Africa have played in the recent past. Most of their T20I appearances have been in the T20I World Cups.
Currently, South Africa are hosting Sri Lanka for a couple of Test matches first of which will start on boxing day at Centurion. The second Test will be played at Johannesburg from 3rd to 7th January 2021. After this, they will be travelling to Pakistan for 2 Test and 3 T20I series. Then they will host Australia for a 3-match Test series as a part of World Test Championship. In late March 2021, South Africa will host England for 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is.
South Africa play nothing until the World Test Championship final scheduled to be played in June-2021. In July, South will tour Ireland for 3 ODIs and 3 T20I series followed by hosting Netherlands for a 3 match ODI series. After this, they will travel to India to participate in the T20I World Cup. They will play 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is against India before the World T20I event.
Post World T20, South Africa will host India for the home season to play 3 Tests and 3 T20Is and will travel to Australia immediately after that to play 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is. For the rest of the 2022-2023 season, they will play 12 Tests, 15 ODIs and 12 T20Is against New Zealand, England, Ireland, West Indies, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Australia.
Some of these fixtures might change as a result of Covid-19 Pandemic.
Currently, South Africa cricket live matches involve Sri Lanka who are touring South Africa for a very short tour. These two teams are scheduled to play two Tests in this series which is under the clouds of Covid-19 pandemic right now. The tour match between Cricket South Africa Invitation XI and the Sri Lankans has already been postponed. If all goes well, SuperSport Park in Centurion will host the first Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka on the Boxing day. The second Test match will be played at the iconic Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg starting 3rd January 2021.
After this short home series, South Africa will travel to Pakistan for 2 Test and 3 T20I series. The Tests will be played at Karachi and Rawalpindi starting 26th January and 4th February, respectively. The T20I series will begin on 11th February with the first T20I to be played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. The remaining two T20Is will be played at the same venue. The tour will end with the third and last T20I on 14th February 2021.
South Africa have a produced many great players over the history of 130 plus years in the various formats of the game. The most famous cricketer whose career was cut short by the apartheid sanctions was Graeme Pollock. Until very recently his average of 61 in Test cricket was second only the indomitable Sir Donald Bradman. Another lesser-known, but hailed as one of the finest all-rounders in the world in the early 20th century was Aubrey Faulkner. He is also regarded as the first leg-spin bowler to bowl googly.
The world has seen many great South African cricket players since their readmission to international cricket in 1992. The batsmen such as Gary Kirsten, Kepler Wessels, and lethal bowers such as Alan Donald. And then there was Jonty Rhodes who redefined fielding in Cricket. All the acrobatic skills on display on the field in the current era have its root in the South African fielding standards of 1992 specifically Jonty Rhodes.
In the late 20th century new players emerged such as Hansie Cronje, Jacques Kallis, and one of their most accurate bowlers ever – Shaun Pollock. There was never a weak South Africa side and the only side that was fighting it out against the greatest Australian team of the last 20th century was South Africa.
The 21st-century additions to the long list of great South African cricket players are Dale Steyn – arguably the greatest Test fast bowler, AB de Villiers – the Mr. 360 Degree and Hashim Alma the run machine lead by Graeme Smith – one of the youngest South African captains ever. All these players made South Africa one of the greatest teams in the 21st century. Kagiso Rabada, the pacer, is dominating in all formats of the game. However, after the retirement of the greats and consistently losing players to English county through Kolpak deal, South Africa are currently in a rebuilding phase right now and are not at their best in any format for the game.
South Africa last played a Test match in January 2020. They will bid adieu to this strange year with a Test against Sri Lanka at home. Faf du Plessis is the captain of South Africa Test team and he bats and provides solidity to the middle order at number 4. Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram open the batting for South Africa followed by Rassie van der Dussen at a crucial position at number 3. Then Du Plessis follows. Quinton de Dock- the wicketkeeper – and Temba Bavuma provide solidity at number 5 and 6. Philander at 7 is also a handy bat and effective bowler, especially in the home conditions. Kagiso Rabada and Dwyane Pretorius form the core of pace bowling and Keshav Maharaj is the preferred spinner in the Test team.
Current South African ODI team is ranked 5th in the ICC ODI rankings. Quinton de Kock is their captain. He bats at the top of the order and keeps the wickets as well. He, along with Janneman Malan, open the innings for SA. Then the new players such as JJ Smuts and Kyle Verreynne bats at number 3 and 4 followed by a middle-order strengthen by the presence of Faf du Plessis, Henrich Klassen and David Miller. Allrounder Andile Phehlukwayo and Keshav Maharaj give solidity to the lower middle order before the bowlers like Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Lutho Sipamla make an appearance. There’s a lot of inexperience in the current South African ODI setup and it shows in their recent performance and results as well.
Of the 10 T20I matches played in the year 2020, South Africa T20I team has won only 2 of them. South Africa’s T20I team is captained by Quinton de Kock. He along with Temba Bavuma at the top of the order opens the innings for South Africa in T20Is. Reeza Hendricks and Faf du Plessis provide solidity at the top after the openers. Rassie van der Dussen and van Biljon and allrounder George Linde provide depth to South Africa’s T20 batting. Tabraiz Shamsi is their wicket-taking spinner in T20 while others in the bowling squad are Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Lutho Sipamla and most importantly Kagiso Rabada when he is fit to play.
Despite South Africa playing Test cricket since 1889 and India playing it since 1932, these two teams met each other first time after South Africa readmission in international cricket in 1992 at Durban. The match ended in a draw. Overall, these two teams have played 39 Tests so far with South Africa winning 15 and losing 14 Tests while 10 Tests were drawn. In ODIs, South Africa have a better record against India with 46 wins in 84 ODIs so far. In T20Is though, South Africa have lost 9 compared to 6 wins they have against India in 15 T20I matches.
Though South Africa have a good record overall against India in Tests, out of the last 10 Tests against India, South Africa managed to win 2 losing 7 in process and drawing 1 Test at Bengaluru. This is due to the retirement of some key players in the recent past and lack of quality players for the overseas conditions.
One of their greatest Test wins came away from home in Nagpur, India when South Africa beat India by an innings and 6 runs. This win was the result of fiery pace bowling in not so helping conditions by Dale Steyn. He took 10 wickets in the match.
South Africa faced New Zealand faced each other back in 1932 away from home in Christchurch. South Africa prevailed in the first two Tests between the two sides. Overall, these two teams have played in 45 Tests against each other with South Africa winning a major chunk of 25 Tests while losing just 4 and 16 matches resulting in draws. In the ODIs the picture is kind of similar with 41 wins in 71 matches so far with 5 matches finishing in no-result. Same is the case, with T20Is. In the 15 T20Is so far between South Africa and New Zealand, the former has won 11 losing just the 4 matches. South Africa have been all over New Zealand irrespective of the format of the game.
Despite all the success against the New Zealand cricket team, South Africa have found Kiwis difficult to get past in the crucial world event encounters. The 2015 semi-final loss was the most heart-breaking one especially because the South Africa-born Grant Elliot playing for New Zealand helped defeat South Africa and crushed their hopes of getting into the ODI World Cup finals for the first time. Other instances were the 2019 World Cup and 2011 World Cup quarter-final, where New Zealand ended South Africa’s journey in the World Cups.
South Africa played the first Test against Australia back in the year 1902 at Johannesburg which ended in a draw. Historically Australia have been quite a dominant side against South Africa in Tests. In the 98 Tests so far between the two teams, South Africa lost twice the matches they have won – 52 and 26, respectively with 20 draws. South Africa have fared much better in ODIs with 51 wins compared to 48 losses in 103 matches. And, in the 21 T20Is so far, South Africa have won just 8 losing 13 matches against Australia.
There are two ODIs that these two teams will be forever remembered for. First one is the 1999 ODI World Cup semi-final where South Africa failed to get over the line despite Lance Klusener’s heroics. And second, the highest scoring ODI ever, in which South Africa chased down 434 at Wanderers to register a phenomenal win over the mighty Aussies. South Africa’s 414 run-chase in the 4th innings of the Perth Test against Australia in 2008 is one for the ages.
South Africa have never lost a Test match against Bangladesh. Of the 12 Tests played so far between the two teams, South Africa have managed to win 10 matches with 2 draws. The story is similar in ODIs, with 17 wins and 4 losses for South Africa in 21 ODIs between the two teams. In T20Is, Bangladesh are yet to defeat South Africa as they lost all the 6 T20Is against the proteas.
The two of the 4 losses in ODIs have come in the World Cups for South Africa. This kind of explains why they have a poor record in World events. In 2007 World Cup, South Africa lost to Bangladesh by 67 runs chasing 251. Whereas in the 2019 World Cup, they lost by 21 runs chasing Bangladesh’s 330.
Despite begin a Test-playing nation for more than 90 years, West Indies finally played a Test with South Africa in 1992. In the 28 Tests between the two teams since 1992, South Africa have won 18 Tests while losing just 3 Tests and drawing 7. In the ODIs, South Africa have been equally better. In the 62 ODIs played between the two teams, South Africa won 44 matches while losing just 15 of them. There was one tied ODI and 2 ODIs ended in no-result.
In the T20Is, on the other hand, West Indies have given a good fight to South Africa. In the 10 T20I matches so far between the two teams, South Africa have won 6 while West Indies have won 4 matches.
South Africa played the first Test against Sri Lanka in 1993 away from home. The Test ended in a draw. Overall, South Africa have played 29 Tests against Sri Lanka and have won 14 Tests, losing 9 and drawing 6 in the process. In ODls, out of a total of 77 matches, South Africa won 44 losing 31 to Sri Lanka with 1 tie and 1 no-result. In 13 T20Is between two teams, South Africa won 7 while Sri Lanka managed to win 5. One match ended in a tie.
Though South Africa have been brilliant in all formats against Sri Lanka, a couple of thrilling upsets are worth a mention. In both the matches Sri Lanka held their nerve to pull off upsets against mighty South Africa. At Colombo in 2006 and Durban in 2019. In both Tests, chasing a target of over 300, Sri Lanka managed to defeat South Africa by just one wicket. Apart from such rare occurrences, South Africa have always had the upper hand against Sri Lanka.
South Africa played the first Test against Pakistan at Wanderers and won by a whopping 324 runs. Overall, South Africa played 26 Tests against Pakistan so far, and have won 15 Tests, losing 4 and drawing 7 in the process. In ODIs, South Africa won 50 matches out of a total of 79 matches against Pakistan, losing just 28 with 1 finishing in no-result. In T20 format, in the 14 matches so between the two teams, South Africa won 8 matches losing 6 to Pakistan who are a strong outfit in T20s.
South Africa have always been a superior outfit compared to Pakistan in Tests. In ODIs as well South Africa have had an upper hand, though, there are certain nail-biters worth mentioning. In 2010 ODI series in UAE, Pakistan twice – in 2nd and 4th ODI – won by 1 wicket and 1 ball remaining while chasing targets over 270. Also, in 2013 ODI at Port Elizabeth, Pakistan won by 1 run as South Africa fell short in the chase.
South Africa have been playing Test cricket against England since 1889. These two have played 153 Tests since then with South Africa winning 34 Tests and losing 64 of them with 55 draws. Since readmission to international cricket in 1992, the numbers look much better for South Africa with 16 wins and 18 losses in 51 Tests. In the ODIs, South Africa have been better with 30 wins and 28 losses in 63 matches with 1 tie and 4 finishing in without a result. Surprisingly, in T20Is, where England have traditionally struggled, South Africa won just 9 out of 21 matches losing 11 with 1 match ending in no-result.
Not a win or a loss, but a thrilling draw between these two teams is one of their most remembered Tests. The match happened in 1998 at Old Trafford, Manchester. South Africa piled on 552 batting first. England followed on after being skittled out for just 183 in the first innings. It seemed an easy win for South Africa, but England held their nerve as the last wicket played till the end of days play against Allan Donald and Co. Another agony in the long history of South Africa’s near wins.
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