JOHANNESBURG – Just how much concern should there be about losing a “warm-up” match? In the case of the Proteas men's side, not so much, apparently, for they followed up a defeat to a Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra last Wednesday with a win when it really mattered in the opening ODI against Australia four days later.
The Proteas women’s team have, however, suffered not one, not two, not even three, but four straight defeats in the warm-up games they’ve played ahead of their start in the Women’s World T20 tournament next Tuesday (2am SA time).
And look, warm-up games ultimately are meaningless. Teams experiment, as South Africa did against Australia on Wednesday, with skipper Dane van Niekerk not even giving herself a bat and rather allowing some of the lower order some important time in the middle.
But four defeats can’t be good, especially when those defeats highlighted the major flaw with the South African team - the alarming inconsistency with the bat and the over-reliance on opener Lizelle Lee.
South Africa’s highest total in the four warm-up matches was 143, in a three-run defeat to India. In two other matches, they made 72 against Pakistan and 84 against tournament favourites Australia.