Time for talking is done, action is needed, says frustrated Proteas captain Temba Bavuma
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CAPE TOWN - A visibly frustrated Proteas captain Temba Bavuma has made strong claims that the guillotine will fall on his disgraced team ahead of the series-deciding final ODI against Ireland on Friday.
The Proteas find themselves in a do-or-die scenario now, and at best can only level the series after their horrendous performance in the second ODI.
Ireland had never beaten their higher-ranked opponents in six previous attempts, but took full advantage of an abject Proteas fielding performance to claim a historic 43-run victory that has now put them in pole position to claim a maiden series win over South Africa.
"We were totally outplayed in all facets of the game. With the decision to bowl first, you're always looking to strike up front and unfortunately we weren't able to do that," Bavuma said.
"We didn't create enough chances throughout the innings and we weren't able to exploit the conditions. From a fielding point of view, we didn't rock up. If you compare our fielding to theirs, it was chalk and cheese."
It was not just South Africa’s fielding that was not up to the desired standards. The bowling unit, particularly the pace men, are once again under heavy scrutiny after conceding 95 runs in the last 10, with 65 in fact coming off the last 30 balls.
It was complete mayhem with the South African bowlers missing both their line and lengths, while the planning also left a lot to be desired.
Bavuma is certainly on a hiding to nothing when this occurs, with the captain needing his bowlers to at least give him one side of the field to protect. It seems the Proteas white-ball captain is losing patience, especially having endured similar troubles during the preceding T20I series against the West Indies earlier this month.
"Short and wide is never a plan," Bavuma said. "We had the run-rate in check but going through that last phase, I think they had about 100 in the last 10. It was criminal for us.
“I'd like to give the bowlers the benefit of the doubt, and put it down to [poor] execution. In saying that, it's been happening all too often. We find ourselves out there in the field trying to defend both sides of the field.
"When it comes to death bowling, we've had conversations. I think we've exhausted them. Those conversations need to be translated into action. There are guys on the sidelines who have shown the skill. There's a strong case for those guys to get that opportunity."
The options available to South Africa to shake up the bowling unit could see Lungi Ngidi be recalled to the starting XI. Ngidi was rotated with Anrich Nortje for the second ODI, but it could be equally risky to bring back Ngidi for the big fast bowler was equally culpable in the Caribbean – actually the most expensive bowler at the death.
Uncapped Titans seamer Lizaad Williams is also part of the squad and could be in line for an ODI debut, particularly as the 27-year-old has shown domestically and briefly during the T20I series against Pakistan that he is at least willing to put his hand to deliver the pressure overs.