Independent Media’s Zaahier Adams, who was in India covering the World Cup, provides his report card.
Quinton de Kock – 9
10 matches, 594 runs at 59.40, SR: 107.02, HS: 174, x4 100s
De Kock was determined to depart ODI cricket in the grandest manner, and although there was no fairytale ending with a championship-winning medal, the 30-year-old kept arguably his best cricket for his very last tournament. His four centuries during the group stages had plenty to do with the Proteas reaching the semi-finals for the first time in eight years. The feature of his play during the World Cup was the way he played within himself before exploding later, like he did particularly well during his 174 against Bangladesh.
Temba Bavuma – 2
8 matches, 145 runs at 18.12, SR: 73.60, HS: 35
The Proteas skipper will reflect upon the 2023 World Cup as an opportunity missed. Bavuma arrived in India in imperious form over the past 12 months in ODI cricket, but stuttered from the moment he needed to return home during the warm-ups for the birth of his first child. Injuries did not help build any momentum either as he missed out on playing both matches on the best batting surface of the tournament at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. A hamstring strain ahead of the semi-final against Australia was a further disruption, which preceded a four-ball duck that had the trolls on social media salivating. Bavuma’s overall leadership of the team was exemplary and played a big role in driving the Proteas’ attacking strategy.
Rassie van der Dussen – 8
10 matches, 448 runs at 49.77, SR: 84.52, HS: 133, x2 100s, x2 50s
South Africa’s Mr Consistency. Van der Dussen might have been viewed as only keeping AB de Villiers’ place warm during the last World Cup in England, but since then he’s established himself as one of the premier ODI batters in the world. He is the glue that holds the Proteas innings together and allows the likes of Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller to wreak havoc later.
Aiden Markram – 7
10 matches, 406 runs at 45.11, SR: 110.92, HS: 106, x1 100, x3 50s
1 wicket at 85.00, ER: 4.59, BBI: 1-23
Finally showcased his immense talent on the global stage since leading South Africa Under-19 to the ICC Under-19 World Cup championship back in 2014. Started the tournament in scintillating fashion by breaking the tournament record for the fastest century, and also struck a couple of important half-centuries against both Bangladesh and Pakistan. Unfortunately, was part of the malaise in the semi-final when South Africa slumped to 24/4 against Australia in Kolkata.
David Miller – 8
10 matches, 356 runs at 44.5, SR: 107.87, HS: 101, x1 100, x1 50
Miller kept the best performance of his career for South Africa’s semi-final with the southpaw delivering a fine 101 in Kolkata. It was a monumental innings considering the position South Africa were in when he walked to the crease. Unfortunately it was not enough on the day, but he also contributed a half-century off just 30 balls against New Zealand. Along with Klaasen, provided plenty of firepower at the backend that saw South Africa break numerous records at this World Cup.
Heinrich Klaasen – 8
10 matches, 373 runs at 41.44, SR: 133.21, HS: 109
One of the fiercest white-ball hitters in the global game, Klassen provided the “X-factor” in the South African batting line-up. He played a couple of brutal innings, none more so than his 109 off only 67 balls in the searing Mumbai heat when he battled severe cramp throughout. There was a 90 against Bangladesh too, but he would have liked to take his 47 a lot deeper in the Kolkata semi-final as he was dismissed just when South Africa were beginning to build a bit of momentum.
Marco Jansen – 7.5
9 matches, 17 wickets at 26.47, ER: 6.52, BBI: 3-31
157 runs at 31.40, SR: 110.56, HS: 75*, x1 50
It is easy to forget that Jansen is only 23-years-old due the amount of pressure placed on those shoulders. He not only has to strike with the new ball, but also has to contribute vital runs in the crucial No 7 role. He performed the role beyond expectations by claiming 17 wickets, with the majority coming in the PowerPlay, and also slammed 75 not out against England. Unfortunately, his inexperience showed towards the backend of the tournament as he fell away in both big matches against India and Australia in Kolkata.
Gerald Coetzee – 8
8 matches, 20 wickets at 19.80, ER: 6.23, BBI: 4-44
The fellow 23-year-old paceman fulfilled his role to perfection. Called up to replace Anrich Nortje’s replacement as “The Enforcer”, Coetzee ran in with plenty of gusto throughout. No more than the semi-final when he drew every last bit of energy to keep South Africa in the game with an unbroken eight-over spell. His reward for his efforts were 20 wickets to finish as South Africa’s highest wicket-taker in the tournament.
Kagiso Rabada – 8
9 matches, 13 wickets at 28.00, ER: 4.99, BBI: 3-33
In a tournament where batting records were smashed almost on a daily basis, Rabada’s tournament economy of 4.99 is remarkable. South Africa’s premier fast bowler performed a different first-change role at this World Cup instead of customarily opening the bowling. It worked to perfection for South Africa as he routinely claimed the opposition’s main batter while keeping the run-rate in check. It was hugely unfortunate that he suffered a heel injury in the semi-final which denied Bavuma the opportunity to throw the ball to Rabada when the Proteas were seeking just three wickets at the death.
Keshav Maharaj – 9
10 matches, 15 wickets at 24.66, ER: 4.15, BBI: 5-46 x1 5 wickets
59 runs at 19.66, SR: 73.75, HS: 40
After almost being ruled out of this World Cup due to a ruptured Achilles, Maharaj finished the tournament as the No 1 ODI bowler in the world due to his consistency. He almost bowled South Africa to an improbable victory in the semi-final through his accuracy, while he also took South Africa over the line with the bat in a rare successful run chase against Pakistan.
Tabraiz Shamsi – 7.5
4 matches, 9 wickets at 23.55, ER: 5.60, BBI: 4-60
Although used sparingly with South Africa opting to play Maharaj as the lone spinner in the majority of the matches, Shamsi was brilliant whenever he was called upon. He claimed four wickets to take the Player of the Match award against Pakistan, and fully believed that he could bowl Australia out all on his own in the Kolkata semi. The only disappointment was that he once again got spooked against India.
Lungi Ngidi – 4
8 matches, 10 wickets at 35.50, ER: 5.86, BBI: 2-26
Ngidi eventually missed out the semi-final with South Africa seeking extra strike power in Coetzee, but he was primarily tidy with the new ball in the matches he played. He maintained a good economy rate, but was found wanting against India and Afghanistan during the latter round-robin stages that eventually saw him lose his place in the starting XI.
Reeza Hendricks – 7
2 matches, 97 runs at 48.50, SR: 103.19, HS: 85
The “reserve” batter in the South African squad was called upon in Mumbai against England and Bangladesh, and made an immediate impression against the English with a polished 85. This caused a social media outcry with many calling for Hendricks to replace the out of form Bavuma. But Hendricks has been here before and sat out the remainder of the tournament. Normally an excellent fielder, he would have been disappointed with his dropped catch while diving forward in the semi-final when he was on the field as a replacement for Rabada.
Andile Phehlukwayo – 6
1 match, 1 wicket at 36.00, ER: 5.14, BBI: 1-36
39 runs, SR: 105.40, HS: 39*
After sitting in the sheds for the first eight matches, Phehlukwayo dusted off the rustiness in the final round-robin game against Afghanistan with a good all-round performance to show that he still has much to offer South African cricket going forward.
Lizaad Williams – 6
1 match, 2 wickets at 28.00, ER: 6.46, BBI: 2-56
A dream come true for the Vredenburg fast bowler to represent his country at the World Cup, Williams gave a good account in his only appearance. Also celebrated the birth of another child during the tournament.