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In-form SA in selection quandary

Associated Press
Mar 20, 2011 at 06:48pm IST

Dhaka: Through to the quarterfinals as convincing Group B winners, one of South Africa's only problems going forward might be deciding who to leave out of the team.

Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and AB de Villiers all sat out Saturday's game against Bangladesh, and they were hardly missed in a crushing 206-run win.

Paceman Lonwabo Tsotsobe claimed the man-of-the-match award after ripping through the top order and finishing with figures of 3-14 as Bangladesh was dismissed for 78.

In-form South Africa in selection quandary

The Proteas' only problems going forward might be deciding who to leave out of the team.

"From the start, we've always said we are a squad and this tournament was always going to take a big squad effort," captain Graeme Smith said. "Selection and tactical decisions are always tough and the pressure is on the leadership to get those right.

"There are a few niggles floating around, so it's nice to know there's quality waiting in the wings."

Tsotsobe, the 26-year-old nicknamed Lopsy, was South Africa's leading wicket-taker in the limited-overs series win over South Africa in January, but at the World Cup he has paid the price for his team's policy of using an extra spinner.

"Lopsy's been terrific for us for a period of time," Smith said. "The first game against the West Indies, it was difficult to leave him out. We obviously base our selection on what we feel is best for the teams we're playing against, and going into the quarterfinal, we'll do the same."

Morkel and Steyn are certain to return for the next match against New Zealand, meaning Tsotsobe will be back in the reserves unless there is a change in strategy, but he's not complaining.

"I feel very chuffed and even if I don't play the next game, it doesn't matter because I'm still part of the tournament," he said.

Wayne Parnell didn't take a wicket against Bangladesh but Smith said the introduction of the new faces ensured South Africa's intensity remained high despite having already qualified for the quarterfinals.

"It would have been easy to go through the motions, but the intensity which the new guys brought was great to see," he said. "They were throwing their bodies around, chasing balls on the boundary, it just shows the mindset of the squad."

Colin Ingram hit a 46 against Ireland after replacing the injured De Villiers, meaning every member of the squad has contributed to South Africa's progress.

The Proteas lost one group match, against England, but went some way to shedding their 'chokers' tag with a narrow victory over co-host India.

Smith said he is "very hopeful" that South Africa might finally lift the trophy for the first time.

"We're here to win our next three games and win the World Cup, but it's about not looking too far ahead," he said. "We've met each challenge as they've come and each round-robin game had its own degree of pressure.

"We will prepare the same way for our quarterfinal as we have for every other game so far."

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