TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
ANYONE for a spell in front of the television on Tuesday to see whether SA seal a T20 series victory over Bangladesh in Dhaka? Thought not.
Whatever interest the rubber might have held as a contest in its own right dissipated with the rude haste of air from a balloon when SA established the fact, during the first game on Sunday, that they are are by far the better of the two teams.
Good enough to outplay Bangladesh in their home conditions despite fielding an experimental combination and almost without AB de Villiers, who opened the batting and lasted just six deliveries.
The experiment should continue on Tuesday with the players who did not get a game on Sunday – Beuran Hendricks, Eddie Leie and Chris Morris – cracking the nod. Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso and Kyle Abbott could make way for them.
Then again, Phangiso’s claim to trivia fame is that he was is the only member of SA’s 2015 World Cup squad not to play a single match. So, who knows?
The flipside of the argument for making changes is that SA’s fast and the slow bowlers fired on all cylinders in the first match to dismiss Bangladesh for 96, their lowest total in a completed innings in a home T20. Why mess with the attack?
Too true. But logic didn’t stop the suits from messing with the attack that wiped the outfield with Sri Lanka’s batsmen in the 2015 World Cup quarter-final. So, again, who knows?
SA would have wanted to bat better than they did in their total of 148/4 on Sunday. But the pitch did not allow for that. Besides, it’s not as if there’s a spare batsman on the bench itching to be given a chance. And the entire top six took guard in the first game.
It’s the small stuff SA will want to sweat as they begin to take aim at the next World T20, which after on Tuesday is just more than eight months and 10 matches in the format away for Faf du Plessis’ team.
For Charl Langeveldt, who is in his first series as SA’s bowling coach, that means ensuring this SA team are up to scratch in a department their predecessors dominated.
“We need to pretty aggressive, that’s our game plan,” Langeveldt told reporters in Dhaka yesterday. “Normally when we come to the sub-continent we try and use our aggression. That’s why we play four fast bowlers. (On Sunday) it worked for us. On another day it won’t.”
Nice try, coach. But that’s not enough to make many South Africans to take much notice of events in Dhaka on Tuesday.
SA will have to play as far below themselves as Bangladesh did on Sunday – and the home side will have to present a mirror image of their sorry performance – for Du Plessis not to hoist the series trophy on Tuesday afternoon.