It would be a stretch to suggest that the Proteas are well-placed for a run at the ICC T20 World Cup title, but a young team goes to the UAE with every chance of making life difficult for the top contenders.
Every South African cricket fan wants this team to get the monkey off their back and finally win an ICC trophy, after the last two major trophies landed in England and New Zealand, teams who had their own struggles hunting down major silverware.
While you can’t rule out the Proteas winning the whole thing, it will be tough for them to get out of their Super 12s group, which also includes India, England and defending world champions, the West Indies.
Batting remains the Proteas Achilles Heel and the principal obstacle to claiming any of the ICC’s now impressive array of global championships.
However, there is progress being made in that field, with Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock and Janneman Malan in great form at the moment.
The Proteas must, first of all, nail down who should be in their middle-order and then find a way to ensure that they maintain or increase the scoring rate in the ten overs between the powerplay and what is widely considered the death, or the last four overs of the innings.
David Miller is the Proteas preferred finisher but they would like to eke just a little bit more out of the likes of Rassie van der Dussen and big-hitting Heinrich Klaasen. Finding a slot for skipper Temba Bavuma is also proving troublesome.
Bavuma has opened and batted at three or four in T20Is but that also happens to be where the Proteas form batsmen are concentrated.
When it comes to bowling, South Africa are spoiled for choice, opting to gamble with Keshav Maharaj coming into the group quite late, albeit with bags of international experience in the longer formats.
It was a surprise to see George Linde left out in favour of Bjorn Fortuin but as bowlers, the two pretty much bring the same thing to the party.
Tabraiz Shamsi, meanwhile possesses the quality that could lift the Proteas out of their group and in contention for the trophy, especially when backed up by Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi.
Only two pacemen would be expected to play in any given match, with the Proteas likely to field two or three spinners every game and make liberal use of the improving off-spin of Markram.
The Proteas bowling will make them a tough team to beat and if the tournament isn’t a high-scoring one they could be in with a big shout.