Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

In-form trio: Three players who will be key for Proteas against Australia

Quinton de Kock, Marco Jansen and Keshav Maharaj have been among the SA team's best players of the tournament.

Aiming to make history on Thursday by qualifying for the Cricket World Cup final for the first time, the Proteas will need to be ready for battle in their semi-final against Australia in Kolkata.

And while they will be relying on an all-round effort from the team, the SA squad will hope some key players stand up and deliver again.

Quinton de Kock

Playing in his last 50-over World Cup, De Kock has been phenomenal at the top of the order.

The second-highest run-scorer in the group stage (behind Indian legend Virat Kohli), De Kock compiled 591 runs in nine innings at an average of 65.66.

Though the majority of the batters in the top order have delivered during the tournament, they will nonetheless be banking on the experienced opener to get them off to a good start.

One of the key reasons the side has done well setting targets, with his explosive performances, De Kock will set the pace with the bat.

Marco Jansen

After losing fierce fast bowler Anrich Nortje ahead of the tournament due to injury, there were questions raised about the team’s frontline attack. Enter Jansen.

Despite his relative inexperience, having played only 14 ODI matches before the start of the showpiece, the 23-year-old all-rounder has really come to the party.

Proteas all-rounder Marco Jansen
Marco Jansen celebrates a wicket with Proteas teammates during a World Cup match. Picture: Pankaj Nangia/Gallo Images

Though he is not the team’s top wicket-taker (that honour belongs to paceman Gerald Coetzee with 18 scalps), Jansen has been very consistent, taking 17 wickets and leading the attack with the new ball.

He got knocked out the park in their penultimate group stage match against India, but the Proteas coaching staff are confident he could bounce back in the playoffs.

Keshav Maharaj

Another key bowler, Maharaj was locked in a race against time to recover sufficiently from Achilles surgery ahead of the tournament.

Having cracked the nod in terms of his fitness, he has been superb as the squad’s first-choice spinner.

Proteas spin bowler Keshav Maharaj
Spin bowler Keshav Maharaj in action at the World Cup. Picture: Pankaj Nangia/Gallo Images

Aside from taking 14 wickets in nine matches, the left-armer has been especially critical in keeping the opposition’s run-rate down.

Strangling the top order and playing a lead role as a strike bowler against some persistent tails, he (like De Kock and Jansen) has been consistent throughout the tournament.

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