Johannesburg - Here’s a stat: South Africa has lost just one of its last 12 T20 Internationals. In that sequence there are two wins against the West Indies, a series sweep of Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and a victory over a very powerful England side in a high pressure World Cup match.
Aiden Markram is now, according to the ICC rankings, one of the top 10 batters in the game and Tabraiz Shamsi is undoubtedly one of the best bowlers. In this World Cup, Temba Bavuma has enhanced his reputation as a captain. He’s played some vital knocks. He’d like to improve his strike rate and he will put in the work to do so, however what he has done off the field, has been remarkable.
He has displayed a level of intelligence, authority and toughness that should be the benchmark for leadership throughout Cricket SA.
The Proteas men’s side and the management may feel that their recent success in the T20 format, hasn’t been appreciated. That is not the case. At international level, and in that particular format, as is the case in the 50-over game, success is measured by how you perform in the World Cup tournaments.
South Africa is not in the semifinals of the 2021 T20 World Cup. It is a bitter pill to swallow, for they, like England and Australia, lost just one group game, but the Proteas’ loss was fatal.
It was the result of a poor performance with the bat in the opening game. South Africa’s batting has been a work in progress – but that has been the case for a very long time. It’s not a new problem. Going into this tournament they were too ‘top heavy,’ i.e. – there were too many players, better suited to playing in the top 3.
The coaching staff and selectors must be grateful for Markram’s adaptability but even with that, the batting felt unbalanced.
And yet, when care was demanded against Australia, too many of South Africa’s batters made silly errors. And it cost them, dearly. In that match, but also ultimately in the tournament. There are those who say the side should have played more aggressively against Bangladesh when chasing 80-odd. It is not an excuse to say that that match was played on a tricky, very seamer friendly surface and that Bangladesh’s Taskin Ahmed bowled a superb spell. South Africa did what they had to do.
The #Proteas bowed out of the #T20WorldCup in style as they handed #England their first defeat of the competition, thus ending the tournament having won 4 out of their 5 matches 🇿![CDATA]>🇦 #BePartOfIt pic.twitter.com/kBSNAxBs2F— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) November 7, 2021
The batting unit delivered one of its finest performances of the year against England but it was always going to be a tough ask to limit Eoin Morgan’s power packed side to 131 or less as needed to be the case to secure semifinal qualification.
But South Africa was made to pay for its batting errors against Australia. That’s where this tournament was lost.
There are green shoots; Bavuma’s leadership, Markram’s role and Shamsi’s bowling being the main ones.
There are also two more T20 World Cup tournaments in the next three years. So there is hope, but once again, another ICC tournament has passed and South Africa won’t feature in its conclusion.