South Africa’s three-wicket loss to Pakistan in the opening one day international at Supersport Park in Centurion on Friday does not spell doom and gloom – just yet anyway.
The Proteas seemed at a loss early on in their innings, after having lost the toss and being sent into bat by Babar Azam. Quinton de Kock (20), Aiden Markram (19) and newly appointed skipper, Temba Bavuma (1) were all back in the hut with the total on 43.
Heinrich Klaasen’s departure for just a single left the home side with a mountain to climb if they were to post anything worth defending.
But a magnificent innings from Rassie van der Dussen, who posted his maiden ODI ton, along with David Miller (50), rescued the Proteas with a wonderful 116-run stand for the fifth wicket, taking the Proteas from 55-4 to 171 for five.
With a bit of support from Andile Phehlukwayo (29) and Kagiso Rabada (13 not out), Van der Dussen was able to end the innings on 123 not out, having helped South Africa post 273 for six in their 50 overs, about 20 runs short of where they should have been.
Van der Dussen’s innings was over-shadowed by Azam, who scored 103 from 104 balls as Pakistan reached 274 for seven off the final ball of the match.
Pakistan looked to be cruising to victory with Azam and Imam-ul-Haq (70) in total control, having posted 177 for the second wicket. But a brilliant second spell from Anrich Nortje (10-0-51-4) changed the nature of the chase as Pakistan slipped from 186 for one to 203 for six before Mohammad Rizwan (40) and Shadab Khan (33) took Pakistan to the brink of victory.
Many people will point the finger at Bavuma, who took over the reigns from interim skipper De Kock after Faf du Plessis stepped down. Everyone was cockahoop with Bavuma’s appointment as the first black skipper of the national side.
But one must remember that leading your provincial side to trophies is completely different from leading your national team. Bavuma will need some time to stamp his own diminutive authority and style on the camp.
South Africa has won 29 of their last 50 completed encounters while losing 19. India and Pakistan are the only two teams to boast more wins over the Proteas in this period, dating back to May 2017.
The Proteas boast just one victory against India in 8 matches (actually 11 but one was abandoned and two were cancelled), while Pakistan has won five of the last eight games.
If South Africa clinch the next two games starting with the Pink ODI tomorrow at the Wanderers, then honours will be even between the two sides, as they currently are with World Champions England.
Out of the five recent defeats to Pakistan, South Africa have batted first, while all their victories have coming chasing a target – a statistic that Babar Azam will have taken note of.
The Proteas’ last four matches at the Wanderers boasts a 50-50 record, having beaten Sri Lanka and India – batting second – and losing to Pakistan and England – batting…….you guessed it – first.
In their last 50 matches, the Proteas have won 19 out of 27 games batting second while batting first, they have lost 11 and won 10.
So Temba, take note of the above – make sure you guys chase, South Africa seems no good at setting a total these days.