South Africa end their three-match ODI series against Bangladesh with a bloody nose, a black eye and a cricketing lesson. On Wednesday, in the third and final ODI, South Africa were schooled by Bangladesh, losing by nine wickets.
It was much the same in the second ODI, where South Africa also lost by a big margin (seven wickets). Yet it hardly comes as a surprise. South Africa might have been semi-finalists in the World Cup earlier this year, but they were woefully inconsistent during that campaign. After winning the T20 series and the first ODI of the series convincingly, South Africa let their dominance slip and Bangladesh, a team on the up, cashed in.
Here are five talking points from the series loss.
South Africa’s struggle for momentum, despite having it
An emphatic series victory in the T20s and a convincing win in the first ODI wasn’t enough to keep South Africa ticking over. Batting first in both the second and the third ODI should have put South Africa in a good position, but lack of partnerships, awful shot selection and some crafty bowling from Bangladesh all conspired to see them lose by a massive margin. Sometimes you just have a bad day in an office, but South Africa’s top order lacked intent and looked lacklustre in the last two ODIs. Take nothing away from Bangladesh, they are a team on the rise, but South Africa have themselves to blame for quite a lot of this loss.
Paging AB de Villiers
Never has the enormous impact AB de Villiers has on the South African team been more evident. When De Villiers is there, South Africa will almost always give themselves a chance. South Africa will be without De Villiers in the upcoming Test series, too, and while there are plenty of batsmen who can plug the gap in the longer format, he will be very much missed. This performance (or lack thereof) also raises the question of whether South Africa have, perhaps, become a little over-reliant on one or two players in the one-day format.
At least the bowling wasn’t completely awful
You wouldn’t say it looking at the bowling averages: Imran Tahir had an average of 57.50, JP Duminy 72.00, Kyle Abbott 90.00 and Chris Morris 30.50. And Bangladesh lost just one wicket in their victory on Wednesday, but the bowling was the last of South Africa’s worries. Sure, Abbott and even Kagiso Rabada (who had an average of 12.75, by the way) were a bit wayward at times, but in both losses, they hardly had a target to bowl at. Bangladesh played Tahir impeccably and overall, South Africa’s bowling was decent enough. They showed just how fierce they can be in the first ODI. If the batsmen did their bit, the equation might have been a bit different.
We need to talk about Quinton de Kock
Okay, so we’ve been doing a lot of talking about Quinton de Kock this series, but with the Test series coming up, it’s time to take stock. De Kock has been in woeful form since returning from his ankle injury. He’s not had any time to get back into the groove on the domestic circuit. He might have developed some bad habits during rehab, but technically, he is looking dubious. With the Test series coming up, South Africa have to decide whether playing De Kock is the best thing to do. Dropping him will serve little purpose as there is no domestic cricket for him to go back to. Playing him in the longest format of the game does mean that De Kock will have some time to ease into things. He bats lower down in Tests so there is not the pressure to immediately attack and he has some more time to rest after keeping wicket for an entire innings. If he fails consistently in the Tests, South Africa will have some serious thinking to do. With tough series against New Zealand, India and England coming up, they cannot afford any weak links.
The rain never loved SA, but they batted themselves into a hole
South Africa’s relationship with rain and Duckworth-Lewis goes back years. In the third and final ODI on Wednesday, it struck once again. South Africa’s total at the end of their 40 overs was 168-9 with the target adjusted to an almighty 170. Yes, that’s right, a whole two runs added to a target when rain took ten overs away. There is, of course, a mathematical explanation for Duckworth-Lewis, one that no mere mortal can really understand, but it still seemed quite harsh. Important to remember, though, that prior to the break, South Africa had crawled their way to 76-4 after 22 overs.
Third ODI scorecard summary:
South Africa 168-9: David Miller 44 (51), JP Duminy 51 (70); Shakib Al Hasan 8-0-33-3, Mustafizur Rahman 8-0-24-2
Photo: Bangladesh players celebrate the dismissal of England opening batsman Alex Hales during ICC World Cup Match between England and Bangladesh at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Monday, March. 9, 2015 EPA/DAVID MARIUZ
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