South Africa's captain Faf du Plessis was the Proteas top scorer at the World Cup. Photo: Rui Vieira/AP Photo

LONDON – It took nine games for a South African batsman to score a 2019 Cricket World Cup century but by then their earlier struggles had already taken its toll.

Faf du Plessis’ knock against Australia allowed those around him to chip in especially Rassie van der Dussen, whose valiant attempt to reach three figures was thwarted on the boundary rope with the final ball of the innings.

The Proteas progressed past 300 for just the second time in the process. It was a match that showed this team, as a collective, are not as weak as many think but also, that in the 50-over format, you do need individual success.

Rohit Sharma for India and David Warner for Australia are proof of that.

The lack of runs combined with a weakened bowling effort saw South Africa put in their worst ever performance at the global showpiece as they limped out in seventh place.

And the numbers aren’t pretty.

Just one century, only three players who moved past 300 for the tournament and rather unbelievably, only one player (Chris Morris) who ended with his runs coming at better than a run a ball.

Du Plessis (387 runs) was the team’s top scorer with Van der Dussen (311) and Quinton de Kock (305) next although for a player inside the top 5 in the rankings ahead of the tournament just three half-centuries qualify as a major disappointment.

Morris, a late addition to the squad, ended off with 13 wickets and the South African’s most lethal bowler. His average – 26.23 – better than countrymen who took 11 wickets in England, namely: Andile Phelukwayo (30.54), Imran Tahir (34.00) and Kagiso Rabada (36.09).

With the batsmen unable to help set up a target to bowl at, selection confusion played a large role. For example, Dwaine Pretorius was sparingly used after being taken to task by the rampant English batsmen and went on to bowl just 23 overs – nearly a third of Morris’ quota – in the competition but still managed five wickets at an average of 18.8.

The quicker the players – and fans – forget about 2019’s event, the better with little to cheer about. Except for Du Plessis’ century and a win over Australia. Then again, that was far too late. 

African News Agency