Proteas ODI captain Temba Bavuma during the Pink ODI against Pakistan at the Wanderers. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Proteas ODI captain Temba Bavuma during the Pink ODI against Pakistan at the Wanderers. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Temba Bavuma is taking lessons from dramatic start to captaincy

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Apr 5, 2021

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Temba Bavuma has seen his Proteas team go to the last ball in one match, the last over in the next, witnessed a top order collapse, two brilliant knocks from the opposition, lousy fielding from his own side and been fined for his side maintaining a slow over-rate.

All in just two matches. It’s been eventful - and there’s one more ODI to go.

ALSO READ: Temba Bavuma and Babar Azam hail Fakhar Zaman after dramatic ODI at the Wanderers

His first series as captain, will go down to a decider on Wednesday in Centurion, following the dramatic conclusion to the ‘Pink ODI’ on Sunday, but Bavuma, is taking it all in his stride for now, trying to stay composed, while noting all the experiences and filing them away to be utilised again in the future.

“I try to be as calm and clear as I can be,” Bavuma remarked about his first two matches in charge. Last Friday at SuperSport Park, his bowlers brought South Africa back into the match, pushing Pakistan to score a single off the last ball to win the match, while on Sunday, the tourists opener Fakhar Zaman played an extraordinary innings, that took Pakistan from a position of despair midway through their run-chase to within 17 runs of an unlikely win.

“Obviously when things are happening the way they were with a guy batting like (Fakhar) was, things can get away from you. But it is important that you try and take a step back, and get a grip with what is happening in the moment.”

“The two games have gone down to the wire, it's been an incredible experience. It would have been nice to finish the (second) game a lot more clinically, but I think it gives us an opportunity, and is a learning curve for us, to always believe that the game is never over. It can always turn around.”

ALSO READ: Did he or didn’t he? Quinton de Kock’s gamesmanship questioned

That Bavuma contributed so significantly with the bat in Sunday’s victory will be important for his own self-belief. As the team’s leader, Bavuma will be the focal point for the opposition team, who will view keeping him quiet as crucial to beating South Africa. Bavuma’s 92 was an intelligent innings, mixing patience, creativity and athleticism to forge two century partnerships with Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen respectively.

It wasn’t an easy pitch, but he helped provide enough of a foundation, that Van der Dussen and later David Miller, could propel South Africa to a total that proved sufficient.

It’s worth remembering that Bavuma is still very new to the international limited overs game. Sunday was only his eighth ODI and he is leading a side in transition, that is trying to build up to and qualify for the 2023 World Cup. In addition, five of his most experienced players won’t be available on Wednesday as they head to the Indian Premier League. Wednesday will provide another interesting test of his captaincy, and given the fine in the first match, how long SA also took to bowl the 50 overs at the Wanderers, his management in the field will have to improve too.

Among the quintet heading to India are Anrich Nortje, whose taken seven wickets in the first two matches, turning the momentum of Pakistan’s innings on both occasions, Miller who’s made two crucial half-centuries and De Kock who’s innings of 80 on Sunday was his best of the season so far, while his involvement in Fakhar’s run out was a piece of heads up skill that demonstrated his oft-mentioned match awareness.

Bavuma preferred to look at the positive for his side and the players coming in as replacements.

“It’s an opportunity for the guys who are on the fringes to stand up and really make a play for the team.”


Quinton de Kock - Mumbai Indians

Kagiso Rabada - Delhi Capitals

Lungi Ngidi - Chennai Super Kings

David Miller - Rajasthan Royals

Anrich Nortje - Delhi Capitals

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