Tough matches on the cards for Proteas as World Cup fixtures are announced

South Africa will need to be at their best throughout the Cricket World Cup if they hope to lift the trophy for the first time. PHOTO: Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images

Consistency will be key for the Proteas when they go in search of their maiden Cricket World Cup title in India later this year, with organisers unveiling a tough fixtures list on Tuesday which will see them facing every other side in the opening round.

A total of 10 teams will participate at the 46-day showpiece, with eight having already qualified through the Cricket World Cup Super League (including South Africa). The final two spots will be determined at the end of the qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe, which concludes on 9 July.

With the International Cricket Council sticking to the same structure used at the previous edition of the 50-over showpiece in England in 2019, each team will play the other nine in a round-robin format. The top four at the end of the opening round will progress to the semi-finals.

First-round fixtures
The Proteas will open their campaign on 7 October against one of the two teams from the qualifying tournament.

Following a crunch clash with five-time world champions Australia in Lucknow, they will then face another qualifying team on 17 October before they turn out against the rest of the big guns, with a run of successive matches against title holders England, Bangladesh, Pakistan, New Zealand and hosts India.

They will play their last match of the first round against Afghanistan in Ahmedabad on 10 November.

South Africa, eliminated in the opening round at the 2019 World Cup, have reached the semi-finals of the quadrennial tournament on four occasions since 1992 but they have never reached the final.

Though they picked up some big wins at the 2019 spectacle, against the likes of Australia and Sri Lanka, they lost five of their nine matches, including a shock defeat to Bangladesh.

With only four of 10 teams again progressing beyond the round robin stage in India, they will need to be more consistent if they hope to put up a bigger fight.

The 2023 World Cup – the 13th edition of the global tournament – starts on 5 October with a repeat of the 2019 final as England take on New Zealand in the opening game in Ahmedabad.

Proteas fixtures, Cricket World Cup (first round)
7 October – South Africa v Qualifier, Delhi

13 October – South Africa v Australia

17 October – South Africa v Qualifier, Dharamsala

21 October – South Africa v England, Mumbai

24 October – South Africa v Bangladesh, Mumbai

27 October – South Africa v Pakistan, Chennai

1 November – South Africa v New Zealand, Pune

5 November – South Africa v India, Kolkata

10 November – South Africa v Afghanistan, Ahmedabad

The Citizen/ Wesley Botton