Proteas captain Faf du Plessis feels that the unexpected early departure of Hashim Amla affected the batting unit’s approach against England on Thursday.
The South Africans lost by 104 runs in the World Cup opener at The Oval in London, having lost four wickets for 38 runs at one stage in chasing 312 for victory.
They were bowled out for 207 in 39.5 overs.
Having done reasonably well to hold England to 311/8 in 50 overs, the Proteas lost Amla in the fourth over when he was struck by a vicious bouncer from new England speedster Jofra Archer.
Amla was just unable to get anything on it or sway out of the way of the delivery, and appeared to sport a knock to his right eye as he walked off on five.
Du Plessis said in the post-match TV interview that the bearded opener “was a little bit all over the place” at the time.
When he eventually made it back to the pitch, the game had already been lost, and he was the eighth wicket to fall for 13.
“Oh, definitely, the flow (of the innings was affected). You need a bit of a momentum-breaker there with your first two getting off to a good start. Just getting through their two best, or opening bowlers,” Du Plessis said.
“He’s okay now. When he came off the field, he was a little bit all over the place. We were a bit worried about him, but they did the test and it looked like he did everything right.
“So, hopefully that’s good signs for him for the next game (against Bangladesh on Sunday).”
INJURY UPDATE| #ENGvsSA @amlahash has been assessed and is doing fine. Due to the sensitive nature of head injuries, he will undergo another re-assessment during the course of the innings which will give an indication of his further participation in the match. #ProteaFire pic.twitter.com/L6gqtJWPeO— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) May 30, 2019
But the fact remains that the South Africans were still in the game after Amla left the field, with Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen combining for an 85-run third-wicket partnership.
De Kock played a loose shot to be out for 68, and the wickets kept tumbling after that.
“I think we were outplayed in all three departments today. They had some really good partnerships with the bat,” said Du Plessis, who also gave his wicket away by going after an Archer bouncer and holding out to square leg for five.
England are off to a winning start!— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) May 30, 2019
Archer takes three wickets, while Plunkett and Stokes get two each as the hosts beat South Africa by 104 runs! #ENGvSA SCORECARD ⬇️ https://t.co/nH52002J64 pic.twitter.com/dT8xVHtmOs
“We brought it back really well at the end there, and then upfront, Jofra got two wickets. And obviously Hash as well (retiring hurt), it was basically being three down in the first 12 overs.
“I thought 300 was a par score. I thought it was a little bit slower than it normally plays here. Towards the end there, we were just bowling cutters basically.
“First we were looking at 330 or 340, but when we saw (taking) the pace off was working, we thought 300 was par. But, some really good batting performances by England.”@ashfakmohamed