JP Duminy on Proteas batting collapse - We didn’t have the firepower

South Africa's David Miller (L) and JP Duminy stretch during a training session ahead of the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup cricket match between Australia and South Africa at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi

Proteas batting coach JP Duminy said his side did not possess the firepower to counter a rampant Indian bowling attack, following South Africa’s thumping by the visitors at the Wanderers on Sunday. Picture: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP

Published Dec 18, 2023


The Proteas certainly are doing their level best to get scratched off their fans’ Christmas list.

A sold out Wanderers crowd, all dressed up in pretty pink, had seemingly forgiven them for their Cricket World Cup semi-final blowout.

All they wanted to do was spend a lovely Joburg afternoon in the sun, drink cold beverages and be merry.

Instead, just after navigating the long lunch queues behind the Unity Stand and had made their way back to their seats, they were forced to pack up at exactly 2:13pm with the Proteas on the receiving end of an eight-wicket thrashing in this first One-Day International.

Awful performance

It was awful. And the Proteas’ fans certainly vented their anger as they made their way through the turnstiles.

It was justified too. Only three days earlier here at the same venue the Proteas were skittled for just 96 in the final T20I. And on both occasions they didn’t even have Temba Bavuma to blame with the white-ball skipper resting ahead of the upcoming Test series.

If you are into small mercies, they at least managed 116 on Sunday.

But the malaise goes deeper than just Sunday. The Proteas’ batting unit has now folded quicker than a poker player on the back foot in the last three of their four ODI innings.

Two of those occasions it has been India’s seam attack that has inflicted the damage. But unlike at Eden Gardens in the World Cup when the likes of Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah ran riot, here it was a bunch of IPL upstarts in Arshdeep Singh (5/37) and Avesh Khan (4/27) that took a liking to a Wanderers surface that was still fresh after a weekend of showers.

“The thing that stands out for me is the understanding of the conditions and where the threat is. Then you have to land the ball there consistently. And if you think of today, that is what they did,” said Proteas batting coach JP Duminy.

“I think of Arshdeep and his ability to swing the ball upfront as well as nibble it around, so he is asking those questions consistently, so you are always under pressure. And when you don’t have those answers , then that’s what happens.

“I don’t think it is surprising. I think we always knew the skill-set is there. Not only from Arshdeep, but from the rest of them as well.

“The question was always going to be: Do we have the firepower to come up against it. Unfortunately today we didn’t.”

Not the first time

To compound matters, the Proteas’ last two batting collapses have been after they have opted to bat first despite the overhead conditions both in Kolkata for the World Cup semi-final against Australia and here against India at the Bullring suggesting that electing to bowl would be the more sensible decision.

Duminy, though, defended stand-in captain Aiden Markram’s decision on Sunday.

“You make decisions based on the information that you have,” Duminy said.

“Historically, you think that if you get through the new ball period, it’s a good place to bat and you put up a good score, from where there’s a tendency for turn and the pitch becoming slower.

“That means the chase becomes harder, but they ended up batting in the best part of the day, which was the back end of the first innings.

“I don’t think we made the wrong call, but that was the information we had and made the decision.

“With regards to the previous game, it was again down to information and making decisions based on stats and information from previous games here.

“When we’re not executing, these questions are going to be asked. For us, it’s about understanding the intent option, where do we reflect around that and where we could be better.

“Those are the questions we need to answer.”

No time to sulk

The Proteas will certainly need to find a quick fix as they are back on the park on Tuesday in the second ODI at St George’s Park in Gqeberha.

Duminy felt that that performance of young opener Tony de Zorzi (28 off 22 balls) is at least one positive to take from the eight-wicket mauling.

“I have no doubt come Tuesday, we will be putting in a big performance no matter what the conditions. There are some great lessons for us as a batting unit. That’s something we want to reflect on and then hopefully put in a big performance,” he said.

“When you think about Tony, he certainly has all the attributes to be consistent at this level. What I really enjoyed was that he was still able to find a way of scoring a strike rate of above 100 even in those difficult circumstances.

“I really enjoyed his conviction in his options, the clarity of his movement and commitment to his actions.”


IOL Sport