JOHANNESBURG – Just four days after Faf du Plessis proclaimed that the five most consistent batsmen in South Africa were already playing for the Proteas, the home team’s batting collapsed in an inglorious heap after Quinton de Kock had provided a quite glorious start.
It wasn’t as they say in fashion circles a very “good look”.
From 131/1 after 20 overs, SA ended on 251 all out at the start of the 46th over in Wednesday’s second ODI against Sri Lanka at Centurion.
All of Du Plessis, who scored 57 and De Kock’s good work was undone by inexperienced or reckless play by some in the SA team who are still in the midst of staking a claim for a spot in the World Cup squad.
The usually cool and composed coach Ottis Gibson saw fit to give his team the “hairdryer” treatment at the interval, which according to De Kock, had the desired effect.
“The coach pulled us together and told us our batting wasn’t the best, but we have to make sure the bowling is up to standard,” said De Kock, who finished as the game’s top scorer with 94 off just 70 balls.
“He gave us a good talking to, and the boys wanted it even more.
“We knew we were under pressure going to field, and the bowlers came out and bowled aggressively.”
Kagiso Rabada picked up 3/43 bowling with what De Kock described as a lot of “heat”, clocking 151km/h on occasion, Lungi Ngidi hit the 140 mark while picking up 2/14, and Anrich Nortje was over 140 as he picked up 2/25.
A win by 113 runs is not to be sniffed at, but the Proteas know their batting was not up to standard.
“We spoke after the batting performance, and we were disappointed with the way we got out.
“But it’s alright, we ended up winning the game, not the way we wanted to... We understand that after good starts like that, we do need to finish off well,” De Kock said.
There were mitigating circumstances. The pitch played a few tricks, some balls kept low, and others slowed down making timing horizontal bat shots difficult, which is what accounted for the wickets of Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen.
But pitches will change over the course of a 50-over innings and bowlers will make adjustments, and the Proteas batsmen need to show due care when that occurs.
They should have scored well over 350 on Wednesday, and that will rankle.
It will also be noted by World Cup opponents already aware that SA’s batting is the team’s glaring weakness.
“We have quality players, Reeza and Rassie have shown that in the past, so has Dave Miller. There will be a time when we will need them, and they will score big runs for us,” said De Kock, by way of offering his teammates some support.
FOUR! And that's 50 up for @QuinnyDeKock69! It's his 20th in ODIs, his 2nd vs Sri Lanka and it comes off 36 balls including 12 fours. Strike Rate 147.2 😳🔥🏏🙌— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) March 6, 2019
SA 72/0 after 9 overs. #ProteaFire #SAvSL pic.twitter.com/7X8oUCWreY
Meanwhile, De Kock was visibly angry about getting out six runs shy of a hundred, with TV cameras catching him thumping his bat at some or other item in the dressing room.
“Lately I’ve not been converting these 80s and 90s into bigger scores. I am quite disappointed, especially getting out in the first quarter of the game.
“But hey, going forward, confidence is high, and hopefully soon enough I will score some big runs.”
Whether that means a change in approach, De Kock wouldn’t say.
“I don’t go out there saying I’m going to tonk every ball for a boundary, it just happens for me.
“I’d love to try and bat as long as I can every innings. Unfortunately. I haven’t been doing that in the last couple of innings, but I’m sure I’ll start doing that, making big scores and batting longer,” he said.@shockerhess