SA Cricket Magazine picks up on five talking points after the Proteas’ 104-run defeat to England at the Oval on Thursday, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
Use Tahir sparingly
The Proteas took a risk to open the bowling with Tahir. It surprised everyone and then worked a charm when he struck with his second delivery to remove Jonny Bairstow. It was the perfect start for the Proteas who benefitted from the element of surprise. The mistake was continuing with Tahir for another two overs thereafter. He conceded 18 runs as the English settled down after the initial shock. Faf du Plessis appeared to have missed a trick by not immediately switching to Kagiso Rabada in a bid to keep up the pressure.
Don’t bowl short and wide!
Sounds obvious, right? The Proteas bowled too many short, and at times, wide deliveries. Joe Root, Jason Roy, Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes scored the majority of their runs by punishing short deliveries by the seamers regardless of the varied pace. The English were far more controlled during their opening overs and conceded just 44 runs with two wickets by angling the ball in at the stumps and providing little width. This gave the rest of the bowling attack the freedom to express themselves.
Keeping up with Quinton
The wicketkeeper-batsman continued where he left off at the IPL; he helped guide the Mumbai Indians to the title. The opener scored his 22nd half-century but had little support from the likes of Aiden Markram and Du Plessis, who both lost their wickets on the cheap. It takes a team effort to chase down 300+ with Rassie van der Dussen the benefits of hanging around with the rapid De Kock, who eventually fell for 68.
Reduce the risks
Looking back, even the Proteas may admit they took an absurd number of unnecessary risks during their time at the crease. The wickets of Du Plessis, JP Duminy and De Kock stemmed from poor and rash shot selection rather than good bowling. Dwaine Pretorius ran himself out when Van der Dussen needed a partner most. Du Plessis admitted that Amla leaving the field after a concussion scare did unsettle the team, but this was no excuse for the unnecessary risks.
England are beatable
The Proteas actually proved that England are not as invincible as the bookmakers will have you believe. Ultimately, they read the wicket better than the Proteas when going about their bowling. When the Proteas changed their short of a length approach and actually attacked the stumps, they managed to strike. Unfortunately, they failed to keep the sustainable pressure on the hosts when they showed a shade of weakness. Once England were in a winning position, they walked all over the Proteas. Other teams will gain confidence from this match from both Three Lions batting and bowling displays.