JOHANNESBURG – After South Africa’s ICC Champions Trophy campaign came to an end against a superior Indian side in London on Sunday, the contribution of Proteas captain AB de Villiers has been placed under the spotlight.
Apart from the tentative approach of the Proteas in their match against India which was effectively a quarterfinal, it was the (or lack thereof) runs scored by De Villiers in the three matches in the tournament numbering just 20 which was most notable.
In the knockout encounter, De Villiers was senselessly run out for 16 after facing just 12 balls. Ironically, it was the call from batting partner Faf du Plessis that called his captain for the run.
At that point, South Africa were cruising at 140/2. That dismissal triggered a collapse of epic proportions as they were bowled out for 191 inside 45 overs. In the wake of the defeat which simply adds to another abject failure at an ICC World Cup, De Villiers pointed out that the preparation of his team had been good.
"We've covered all the bases. There's no doubt about that," he said. "We've had camp after camp. And we've worked really, really hard on the nets, and we back each other, we trust each other, and for some reason, things like that just keep happening.”
Proteas opening bowler Kagiso Rabada, in fact, scored more runs than De Villiers during the tournament with his 31-run tally batting at number nine. Five of the Proteas top six batsmen did a reasonable job, scoring three fifties and a century between them in the three matches played.
Hashim Amla was the highest run-scorer for the Proteas, with 154 and a top score of 103 he notched up against Sri Lanka in their first match of the competition.
On the bowling front, quick Morne Morkel and spinner Imran Tahir each took 5 wickets. Tahir returned an average of 16 with a best haul of 4/27 against Sri Lanka. Morkel, meanwhile, took 3/18 in a losing cause against Pakistan in South Africa’s second match.