It’s turned into a nightmare tour for the SA A side, who have now lost four out of five games in Australia.
After winning their opening tour match against the Australian National Performance Squad, the Vincent Barnes and Paul Adams-coached A side have since gone winless Down Under.
There were defeats to India A and Australia A last week, while on the weekend the side put up a good show against India A only to lose with one ball to spare. That was followed by a massive defeat to Australia A on Tuesday.
In Saturday’s clash with India A, the South Africans posted 275, thanks to a contribution of 137 from Knights star Rilee Rossouw. The rest of the batting lineup, however, failed to provide him with the support he needed, with the next biggest total being Farhaan Behardien’s 29.
The 275 almost proved to be too large for India A to chase down, but they ended up crawling over the line with one ball to spare, and just one wicket in hand. Marchant de Lange took the most wickets, three, but was expensive in conceding 71 runs in his 10 overs, while 26-year-old Dolphins seamer Mthokozisi Shezi impressed with his economy, claiming 2-26 in his 10 overs.
Unfortunately, Shezi was the only bowler to concede less than 5 runs an over, and India capitalised on some loose bowling to claim a tight victory.
On Tuesday, SA A were blown away by a magnificent performance from Phillip Hughes, who seems to love tormenting South African attacks. After choosing to bowl, the South Africans spent a torrid 50 overs in the field, watching Hughes hit 18 fours and six sixes to compile 202 not out from 151 balls, and lead Australia A to 349-4.
Beuran Hendricks, who toured Sri Lanka with the national ODI side earlier this month, came in for some stick, conceding 78 runs from his eight overs, figures not helped by him bowling two no balls and six wides.
In reponse, SA A could only post 201 all out, with Kane Richardson claiming four wickets for the Australians. Behardien provided the only resistance, scoring 67, but wickets fell around him, and the South Africans suffered an embarrassing 148-run defeat.
SA A now languish at the bottom of the quadrangular series log on four points, one behind the Australian National Performance Squad (essentially an academy side), and well behind India A (19 points) and Australia A (13 points).
They play their final group fixture on Thursday 31 July against the National Performance Squad, and will face the same team again on Saturday in the third place play-off match. They will need to win both of those fixtures to gain some momentum going into their two-game unofficial Test series against Australia A, which begins on 7 August.