Three issues Proteas must sort out for Bangladesh clash
The Proteas were laying low on Friday after the 104-run defeat to England in the World Cup opener the day before.
All-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo tweeted afterwards “We go again”, while Quinton de Kock spoke about how the team’s preparation will carry them through the tournament.
But the fact remains that the South Africans lost their way with the bat after a reasonable effort with the ball, and need to get up and running against Bangladesh, again at The Oval, on Sunday (11.30am start).
Here are three areas Faf du Plessis’ team must sort out…
Aiden Markram or David Miller?
It was a huge call by coach Ottis Gibson and Du Plessis to go with Markram ahead of the experienced Miller.
While there’s no doubt that the Titans star could be a stalwart in future, he is still scratching around in ODI cricket, as evidenced by his positive start against England.
He then, almost inevitably, gave it away by pushing outside off to Jofra Archer.
So, does that mean Miller should return against Bangladesh? The problem is that he may not even bat if he is set at No 5, as the top-order will look to cash in against the Tigers.
But I say Miller must return, as Sunday’s match is as much about preparing for the India clash next Wednesday as it is about winning on the day. He has the record to prove that he can manage pressure situations in ODIs, unlike Markram.
Who must open the bowling?
The Imran Tahir experiment worked, to an extent, due to Jonny Bairstow being dismissed second ball. But perhaps Faf du Plessis went one over too far with the leg-spinner by letting him deliver a third over.
Also, Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada were not at their best in their opening spells against England, and a few early wickets against Bangladesh may restore some much-needed confidence before facing India.
Unleash them both with the new ball to have a full go at the Bangladeshis.
Three all-rounders, or two spinners?
It was the right choice to go with Dwaine Pretorius in the England game, and he bowled quite well. His first six overs went for only 29 runs, before Ben Stokes hit him for three boundaries in his seventh.
A poor piece of cricket led to his run out for one. Should he now be left out?
Well, The Oval pitch was already playing slower than anticipated, with a bit of tennis-ball bounce.
That led to both JP Duminy and Aiden Markram bowling five overs of spin combined against England.
So, should Tabraiz Shamsi come into the reckoning on Sunday?
Perhaps not yet, as the South Africans need Pretorius’ batting at this fragile stage of their tournament, especially with Hashim Amla having to recover physically and mentally from being struck by a Jofra Archer bouncer.
But then Pretorius needs to bring his part with the bat as well.