Cricket writer Ongama Gcwabe looks at the positives and negatives from the Proteas’ disappointing Cricket World Cup semi-final defeat at the hands of Australia.
Lack of intent
It is safe to say that the entire batting performance, besides. David Miller’s innings (101), was timid and very uncomfortable to watch.
It is started with Temba Bavuma looking as unsure. He only faced four deliveries before left-arm quick Mitchell Starc induced an outside edge through to Josh Inglish behind the stumps to give Australia their first wicket of the day.
Even Quinton de Kock played within himself and there were no surprises when he skied a Josh Hazlewood delivery to give Australia their second wicket. Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen followed soon afterwards.
Lack of partnerships
As a batting unit, the worst thing that could happen is to lose wickets in quick succession, and that’s precisely what happened when the Proteas set 212 all-out at the Eden Gardens.
South Africa lost their first four wickets having only put 24 runs on the board with Bavuma, De Kock, Markram and Van der Dussen the victims. Even after the 95-run stand for the fifth wicket between Heinrich Klaasen and Miller, the Proteas lost Klaasen and Marco Jansen in consecutive deliveries courtesy of Travis Head’s off-spin.
With the ball, the semi-final belonged to Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, South Africa’s skilled spin duo.
Both southpaws, with Maharaj a finger spinner and Shamsi a wrist spinner, the Garden of Eden danced to the drum of South Africa’s spinners in a crunch game.
Maharaj was impressively economical, bowling almost seven overs’ worth of dot balls in his 1-24 10-over spell, while missing his length only once, where he was dispatched for a solitary boundary.
At the other end, Shamsi was just as good, completing figures of 2-42 in his 10-over-spell.
Quinton de Kock Pep Talk
In a game of that magnitude, especially having had the worst of starts with the bat earlier in the game, a team need their senior players to stand up and set the tone.
From the start of the run defence, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller and Temba Bavuma went up to Marco Jansen as he stood at the top of his mark to deliver the first ball of the Australia innings.
They had a few words of encouragement to pass on to the youngster, and that was not the only time we saw senior players stand up on the field.
As they gathered together in celebration of David Warner’s wicket, Quinton de Kock was visibly animated in his speech to his teammates, letting them know that they had every chance to win the match in an attempt to get each player as sharp as they could be.