Hashim Amla is currently experiencing one of the longest run-droughts of his ODI career and needs to bounce back in the decisive match against Bangladesh on Wednesday, writes Kobus Pretorius.
South Africa followed up a big win in the first one-day with a big loss in the second. On both occasions the team who batted first finished in defeat, but the third and final game has moved from Mirpur to Chittagong which should make the trend irrelevant when the toss is taken.
Having the third game as the decider of the series gives it some edge and it is the competitiveness from Bangladesh the Proteas would have wanted when the tour started. The Tigers can be a handful in the 50-over format in their own conditions, so Faf du Plessis and his men will know they can’t take anything for granted.
A lot of focus will be on the visitors’ batting line-up, which hasn’t been very convincing so far. Faf du Plessis is becoming an increasingly important figure at the top of the order, but he needs better support from the rest in the absence of maestro AB de Villiers.
Hashim Amla, as the stand-in captain and a world-class batsman, should take that responsibility and help fire South Africa to a series victory.
Amla had an indifferent World Cup campaign and has gone six games without scoring a half-century or more. It is the greatest number of games he has gone without a fifty for seven years and he needs to turn it around.
Quinton de Kock’s failure at the other end isn’t helping matters, but Amla has the class and experience to rise above that and lead from the front.
He has a willing and in-form partner in Du Plessis, and together they are the fulcrum of the current ODI batting order. With De Kock and JP Duminy struggling for runs, Amla must be the man to step up.
He needs the confidence ahead of the Test series, but more importantly, South Africa can’t afford to have three of their top batsmen not contributing in a series deciding game such as the the one they will play on Wednesday.
The fact that it’s ‘only’ Bangladesh will make it worse if they fail and lose the series.