A thrilling T20I series against England is in the past for the Proteas, who can take plenty out of the three matches despite suffering a series defeat.
Ahead of the exchanges, the Proteas made it clear they would be looking to learn throughout the series, and there was plenty for the technical staff and pundits to consider.
Things aren’t as bad as they might have seemed
Set against the backdrop of the fast-approaching T20 World Cup, there were serious fears that the Proteas would be too far off the pace to be a force at the shortest format’s quadrennial showpiece.
Three very tight T20Is later, it could be said that the Proteas might be dark horses for the tournament if they can sort out a few little things.
Surprisingly the format is the one in which the Proteas have shown the greatest match awareness, while Quinton de Kock proved himself a tactically astute leader.
Temba Bavuma has a big future in T20 cricket
Bavuma surprised a few with the way he played throughout the series, providing a perfect foil to his opening partner and doing some serious damage himself.
Bavuma’s rise in this format solves a problem for South Africa, who had struggled to find a suitable partner for De Kock.
He played very well at Supersport Park, making sure to attack when he felt De Kock wasn’t able to get hold of the bowler. Critically, he helped force England to abandon spin early on.
De Kock is the No 1 gun
Bavuma played brilliantly in support, but De Kock was scary at times and is clearly the Proteas biggest batting asset in this format.
De Kock also appears to be overcoming some of his mental blocks around playing spin and has benefited from his partnership with Bavuma.
Leadership has not dulled his enthusiasm for destroying the bowling, and he was a big part of keeping the Proteas’ batting competitive even against explosive opposition.
Variations are good in moderation
The Proteas used their variations well in East London, but then seemed to get just a little carried away as the series wore on.
The quick bowlers, in particular, need to have terrific awareness of what a batsman might be trying to do in order to affect the correct use of a variation.
South Africa’s quicks must avoid falling into a predictable pattern of bowling, especially against potent batting teams like England, India and Australia.
Steyn has something to offer
Dale Steyn made his much-anticipated return in this series, and there is every suggestion that he will go to the T20 World Cup if fit.
His fitness will be carefully managed, but Steyn has all the tools to enjoy a revival in the T20 format.
He is valuable as a mentor, but fears that he won’t be able to carry his load on the field appear to be unfounded.
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