It really is quite bizarre how South Africa’s batsmen have imploded batting second at this World Cup.
With such quality batsmen in the side, we’ve been bowled out for 177 in 40.2 overs against India and 202 in 33.3 overs against Pakistan. Both defeats came as a result of having to chase a target. Can you imagine now what the mindset of the batsmen will be if they lose the toss and are asked to chase a total in the quarter-final?
Make no mistake, opposition teams will have taken notice of the way South Africa have folded and we had better hope that AB de Villiers wins the toss and bats first in the knockout matches. The last pool game is against the UAE and no matter how many runs we score in that game, batting first or second, it will do nothing to restore the confidence of these two damaging defeats.
Confidence will have been knocked – in a big way. Don’t let anyone kid you otherwise.
And it’s only a case of pressure. I said previously, after India gave us a big wake-up call, that we didn’t handle the pressure well. And again that proved to be the case in Auckland. There is no lack of quality in the batting and yet we basically haven’t been able to score over 200 chasing against India and Pakistan.
Again, for me, JP Duminy showed a lack of temperament. It’s not a case of inexperience. He turns 31 next month, has played 137 ODIs and has scored four hundreds. Three have come against the West Indies and one against the Netherlands, but against a higher level of opposition he is not making the grade.
His dismissal in Auckland came as a result of a poor shot at a crucial time of the game – just like happened in the chase against India. It doesn’t make JP a bad batsman, but it’s a result of the pressure and the way the mind reacts to being put under pressure.
I can’t really blame Rilee Rossouw too much, although he was also out caught hooking. He is still relatively inexperienced, having only played 17 ODIs, so he’s still learning to play at international level. JP has played 120 more games than Rilee has.
David Miller is another who, like Duminy, hasn’t set the world alight. In 61 ODI innings he’s scored two hundreds – against the West Indies, who can’t exactly be described as a quality side. Miller has an average of 75 from five knocks at this World Cup, but it’s boosted by two not outs, against Zimbabwe and Ireland. In the other three games he’s scored 22 against India, 20 against West Indies and a duck from 13 balls against Pakistan. Also, he chose to review an lbw decision in which the ball would have flattened all three sticks, and therefore also used up a possible South African review later in the innings.
I suppose one needs to address Quinton de Kock as well. The only reason why he has kept his place at the top of the order – some might even be able to argue, in the starting XI itself, has been because of the form of Hashim Amla.
Amla has been so consistent over a long period of time so De Kock has been ‘allowed’ to try bat himself into form. It hasn’t worked for him. But, had Amla not been making runs then De Kock’s place would have been affected by now.
The issue now is what to do with him. How much more patience will the selectors have with him? Do they drop him down the order and open with Rossouw? Do they give the gloves to De Villiers and bring someone else into the side? Going into the game against the UAE it’s a big concern. If De Kock makes runs, then that still doesn’t answer any question as to what will happen in the quarter-finals. Pressure is the thing and we simply have to find a way to deal with it.
I can’t understand how batsmen who have shown they can knock up 400 runs batting first, can’t make 200 batting second. It’s unfathomable and the only logical reason is that the pressure gets to them.
In the field we have been fine. There have been some unbelievable catches and a few run outs, and when there are run outs you know that the fielding is good. You expect the fielders to take the catches offered, so one can judge the fielding on the run outs.
Pakistan pitched up for the game in Auckland. They relied on experience and they didn’t panic when we were cruising in the first batting powerplay. Then they applied the pressure and we couldn’t handle it.