South Africa’s injuries are mounting as high as their defeats. The Proteas lost three of their three played matches, again being called as ‘chokers’ by many.
On Wednesday (June 5), Faf du Plessis’ men lost by 6 wickets to India, facing the bottom of the barrel already. They have more injured frontline bowlers than fit ones. The departure of Dale Steyn from the World Cup due to a recurring shoulder injury and Lungi Ngidi’s sharp discomfort in his left hamstring blew the match away from them.
During the post-match conference, Captain Faf said that they would have had a chance to attack under the overcast conditions present then if their two main pace attackers hadn’t retired. Kagiso Rabada performed to his best, but the match slipped away since the fielding didn’t support him.
India, known for its pace attack, took everyone by surprise when their star spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took four crucial wickets. However, the South African spinners Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi had an unlucky day when they were showered with continuous over-the-boundary hits, giving away 112 runs in their 20 overs.
The fall of wickets for the Proteas, in the middle overs, that didn’t feature during the Indian innings changed the face of the much-awaited opener. South African teams’ plan A of attacking and restricting their opponents through their spinners didn’t seem to work quite well. Plan B was to ride on the pace bowlers and that fell apart. The ruling out of Anrich Nortje, having recovered from a pre-tournament shoulder injury only to break his hand in the nets, just took the team more towards defeat.
Not much bench strength
To save the team, the two reserve all-rounders have to brought in, but the way South Africa talk about them, it does not seem as though they have full faith in their abilities.
Even the experienced Chris Morris proved why he wasn’t picked for the opener against England and was ineffective against Bangladesh. His inconsistency during the warm-up matches and those expensive quicks going for 73 runs, compared to Kagiso Rabada’s 57 and Andile Phehlukwayo’s 52, strangled his length more than the others. Even though the myth of subcontinent teams struggling against bounce has been busted, he still struck to short balls and couldn’t provide much with the bat too.
The pre-tournament mantra of the Proteas being that they don’t need an AB de Villiers to rely on has proved wrong, especially by the openers Hashim Amla and Quinton deCock. But the biggest problem comes when there isn’t another reserve batsman in the team so if the top-order fails, opposition attacks will sense that they can either surpass South Africa or tie their bats.
Faced with continuing losses, Faf du Plessis admitted that South Africa’s “resources are slim” and may need conditioning, in the future, especially in their bowling attack.