Dubai: Another disappointing show from South Africa as the Proteas refuse to lift themselves from the early slump and continue in the same fashion in the World Cup. In the match against Pakistan they had many chances to alter the result, but they never grabbed any of them and allowed Pakistan to dominate from start to finish.
So is there no turning point? No, that’s not true. There might not be any turning point on the field of play, but the manner in which Pakistan went about the task, they have now firmly placed themselves in the contention for the title. The victory showed the true potential of Pakistan, giving hope that they could follow a similar path that enabled them to clinch the title in 1992 World Cup, which adopted a similar format.
The inclusion of Haris Sohail is the master stroke as the move has certainly added depth to Pakistan’s batting as the left-hander has complemented well with the top three and immediately made his mark with a timely 89.
The trend in the World Cup is that one of the top three batsman should go big and the rest of the team rally around that knock. The teams that are topping the table is due to this fact and it is where Pakistan were not consistent, may be the top order batsmen could have been circumspect in their approach, but Sohail’s presence will ease the pressure and with Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim and Wahab Riaz to follow, Pakistan now could look at scoring consistently past 300-mark. Pakistan, however, need to raise their fielding standards as any other team could have made them pay dearly for the dropped catches.
It is precisely in this aspect that the South Africans have failed. The top three are not owning up the responsibilities towards the team’s cause. Quinton de Kock, after getting starts, is guilty of not putting a price to his wicket. It is not all about dominating the bowlers, it is all about milking them and scoring runs. David Warner is known for his attacking instincts, but he has curbed his aggressive traits and now ensures that he builds partnerships by playing long and sometimes hard, taking blows on his body.
Hashim Amla is one who is cut out for the job, but the South African opener is not the same player since he got hit on the head off a Jofra Archer bouncer and suffered concussion. Under these circumstances, it is still a big question why JP Duminy has not been picked in the team against Pakistan. Agreed, the left-hander has not been in the best of the forms, but he is too good a player to be consigned to the bench for long and his off-spinners could come in handy during the middle overs.
South African team management and the selectors will once again rue their decision not to select former skipper AB de Villiers, even though the 360-degree batsman announced his decision to come back from retirement very close to the team announcement.
It is not a pleasant sight to see South Africa hovering at the bottom of the table with three points, one above Afghanistan in ninth place. The Proteas have just one win and one rain-abandoned tie in the seven matches they have played so far. All is not well with South Africa as they have reached abysmal depths and certainly require a thorough introspection.