What the donner is happening to our ODI cricket?
Shine up, lads, or full-blown embarrassment looms
There is a prevailing feeling that things could get worse and turn into a full-blown embarrassment on home soil by the time South Africa’s ODI series against India comes to an end later this month.
The limping hosts were comprehensively thrashed by nine wickets in the second match at SuperSport Park on Sunday to go down 2-0 with four matches still to be played.
From where we are sitting, it does not look like the South Africans have it in them to mount a comeback and win this series.
For the Proteas, under inexperienced stand-in captain Aiden Markram, to win this series they must somehow find a way to do four times what they have failed to do twice in Durban and Centurion where India simply outplayed them in all aspects of the game.The next match is scheduled for Wednesday at Newlands and coach Ottis Gibson and his technical staff will not have enough time to work on the batting deficiencies that have crippled them so far.
After Cape Town they are back in Gauteng on Saturday for the popular Pink Day match at the Bullring. They then travel to St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth and wrap up the series with a return to Centurion.
It is not impossible for the Proteas to win the remaining four matches but for that to happen a change in mindset and application of skills with the bat must improve. They will still be without Faf du Plessis while AB de Villiers is likely to return for the last two or three encounters.
Du Plessis, whose century in Durban last week is the only one by a South African in this series, won the toss last week and chose to bat first. But he was the lone ranger as his team-mates went down without putting up a fight. Du Plessis scored a sensational 120 off 112 balls with the rest of the South African batting line-up putting up a combined 143 (helped by six extras) for a total 269, which was easily chased by the visitors.
Indian wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who wreaked havoc in Durban and Centurion, remain a threat and the Proteas batsmen must find a way to play against them.On Sunday in Centurion, when they were embarrassingly bowled out for 118 to end up with their lowest total at home in ODIs, none of the South African batsmen had answers to the tough questions that were asked of them by the Indian spin duo.
In fact none of the Proteas batsmen scored more than 25 runs and their highest partnership was 48 between JP Duminy and debutant Khaya Zondo.
Defending a below-par total, there was nothing much the South African bowlers could have done against in-form Indian batsmen Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli who only needed 20.3 overs at a run rate of 5.8 to cross the line.
To stop India from winning the third match on the trot in Cape Town, the players must take responsibility with the bat because partnerships are important whether they will be chasing the game of setting a target.At times the body language of some of the players does not make for good viewing and that is showed by the sloppy manner in which they get themselves out with poor shot selection.
It is up to senior players Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy and David Miller to stand up and be counted.
Markram at 23 is a young but promising leader and the team must rally behind him in the absence of Du Plessis.
The Proteas have not played anywhere near their full potential in this ODI series and they must improve significantly in all aspects if they are to mount a comeback and beat India, which is something that batting coach Dale Benkenstein said remains high on their agenda as they look forward to the World Cup next year.