If one of the openers had fallen during the demolition of Bangladesh in Kimberley, Andile Phehlukwayo was tagged to be next man in.
Mind you, that was when captain Faf du Plessis had seen the 150-mark pass as the Proteas chased 279 to win, and he was supremely confident of victory.
There was little sentiment when asked if he might have moved David Miller up the order to celebrate his 100th game.
‘Actually, I went to the coach and suggested we put Andile in, to give him a decent time in the middle and see if he could have gotten 60 or 70 runs. It’s part of our plan to have a look at the younger players ahead of the World Cup.’
Phehlukwayo has a highest score of 42 (with four fours and two sixes), from his fourth ODI, against Australia, and has shown that he has ability with the willow, but batting down at eight, he usually does not have the time or space to build an innings.
Du Plessis was allowed a little latitude in his thinking by the fact that Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla had set such a solid platform that allowed him to be a bit creative. The two did not test the captain’s plan as they went on to 168 and 11o respectively for the highest one-day opening stand in Proteas history.
‘I am very happy with the way it went. We wanted a dominating performance, and that’s what we delivered. I felt a bit sorry for the Bangladesh bowlers, but we set out to be ruthless. The guys are hungry to put in massive performances, and that’s exactly what we want.
‘We bowled well on that pitch. At times like this, they have to think about how to put pressure on the batsmen, changing their length, bowling a slower ball. But if you bowl a good length, it makes it difficult to score. And then our batsmen unsettled them and put the pressure on them.’
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