Recently, Bangladesh has been proving that they can be very deadly when playing on home soil, with teams like Zimbabwe, Pakistan and India falling victim to the Tigers. South Africans were hoping the Proteas would be the team to tame the Tigers, but they couldn’t.
Depending on how one looks at it, the tour of Bangladesh may not have been a complete failure. As a team, South Africa could have done a whole lot better on the field. It’s disappointing that the number one Test side in the world was undone by Bangladesh.
Perhaps three positives from the tour could be enough to lift the team’s spirit – South Africa winning the T20I series; Eddie Leie and Kagiso Rabada’s debuts; and Dale Steyn’s 400th Test wicket – the rest was nothing but a series of unfortunate events.
Tamim Iqbal was dismissed twice in the test series, but being Dale Steyn’s 400th Test wicket was the one everyone will remember. Steyn reached the milestone in 80 Tests, the second fastest bowler alongside legendary New Zealander Richard Hadlee. However, Steyn is the fastest to 400 wickets in terms of balls bowled.
The Proteas were able to beat Bangladesh by 52 runs in the first T20I and by 31 runs in the second, thanks to a combined effort from the batsmen and bowlers. They won the T20I series 2-0, but Bangladesh managed to school them in both ODIs and Tests (even though the latter ended in a 0-0 draw).
South Africa’s debutants managed to leave a mark in the short formats of the game. Leie claimed the best T20I bowling figures for a debutant by taking 3-16 in the second T20I. In the ODIs, Rabada claimed the best bowling figures by a debutant for any country in the history of ODI cricket when he finished with figures of 8-3-16-6. Both received Man of the Match awards for their efforts.
After winning the first ODI, thanks to Rabada, everything went south. Apparently South Africa misjudged the conditions. The less experienced (albeit home) side was able to read the conditions correctly – interesting.
Maybe South Africa’s demise in the ODIs was caused by the withdrawal of AB de Villiers from the ODI and Test series. After missing the first ODI due to his one match ban for the slow-over rate in South Africa’s World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in March, he was given time off for the rest of the series so he could be with his wife while he awaited the birth of his first child.
In the ODIs they lost, South Africa struggled to get going as they couldn’t build partnerships or score runs. It’s just not their style to score below par. However, they do tend to lose their heads when rain interrupts play.
Absolutely nothing can be taken away from Bangladesh, as they also secured their spot in the 2017 Champions Trophy. Bangladesh proved their worth, beating South Africa for the first time in a series. They starred with both bat and ball, which is how they managed to destroy South Africa in the last two ODIs, and made it a close call in the first Test match before Mother Nature interfered.
To rub salt into the wound, Rilee Rossouw and Quinton de Kock lost their senses when they bumped Iqbal on two separate occasions. Rossouw’s transgression took place in the second ODI and after being found guilty, he was fined 50% of his match fee. De Kock’s transgression was in the first Test and he was also found guilty but charged 75% of his match fee.
The whole team is to blame for those poor performances, but a player or two must carry the bulk of the weight. For a while now de Kock has been playing poor cricket, especially for an opening batsman who is expected to score runs consistently. Players who are not playing to their full potential need to be dropped and de Kock should not be an exception. South Africa needs to somehow bring de Kock back to life if they don’t have a backup wicketkeeper. If de Kock sees that he is replaceable, he would up his game. For a minute, Dane Vilas could have been that man, but the monsoon had other plans for his debut.
The biggest disappointment coming from the tour of Bangladesh, thanks to the monsoon, would have to be losing five points on the ICC Test Rankings after both Tests were drawn. South Africa dropped from 130 to 125, but luckily they will remain the number one team in the world regardless of the Ashes outcome.
Although it may seem South Africa has T20I cricket sorted, they have to go back to the drawing board and see if they can once again tick all the boxes they once did prior to the World Cup. That was not the best South Africa can play. It was just embarrassing to watch, a bad month in the office.
Serious changes have to be made, and South Africa needs to turn things around against New Zealand.