South Africa on Monday named a full-strength squad for two must-win One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against the Netherlands on Friday and Sunday, meaning a delayed start for some of them in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The matches in Benoni and Johannesburg are South Africa’s last games in the World Cup Super League - and they must win both if they are realistically to stay in contention for automatic to qualification for the Cricket World Cup in India in October and November.
“We have named our strongest possible squad given the importance of these matches in the context of qualifying for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup,” said coach Rob Walter.
“We have a job to do and I am confident that with this group of players we can get the job done.”
Netherlands would not normally be expected to provide stiff competition for South Africa - but they beat the Proteas in the T20 World Cup in Australia last November, ending South Africa’s hopes of playing in the semi-finals.
Only eight teams qualify automatically. South Africa are currently in ninth place.
Two wins would put them in a strong position, ahead of West Indies and with Sri Lanka unable to catch them unless they win both their remaining matches in a current series against New Zealand - and South Africa suffer a penalty for slow over rates.
If Ireland win all three matches in a series against Bangladesh in May they could finish level on points with South Africa if the Proteas win both matches against the Netherlands.
In that case net run rate, which currently favours the South Africans, will come into play.
Failure to finish in the top eight would consign South Africa to play in a 10-team qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe in June and July for one of the last two places in the tournament.
Cricket South Africa insisted that players contracted to the Indian Premier League, including fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, must put their country first.
This will mean them missing the start of the IPL on Friday.
The two fast bowlers and their IPL colleagues Quinton de Kock, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Sisanda Magala, Aiden Markram, David Miller and Lungi Ngidi will only be able to join their franchises from 3 April.
Squad: Temba Bavuma (capt), Quinton de Kock (wk), Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Sisanda Magala, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen.