South Africa’s poor performance in the ICC World Cup 2019 in England has shocked the cricketing world. After their 49-run loss to Pakistan at Lord’s, South Africa has been knocked out of the current edition of the World Cup, and their remaining matches only remain a mere formality. The Proteas have managed only one win in 7 games and are 9th in the points table with just 3 points and a Net Run Rate of -0.324.
South Africa became only the second team after Afghanistan to be knocked out of the World Cup 2019, which is pretty embarrassing for a team who was seen as one of the contenders for the tournament a month back.
Expectedly, there’s a lot of disappointment in the South African camp. Captain Faf Du Plessis is sad and embarrassed and would be hoping this nightmare ends soon. “I’m a very proud player and captain, and playing for South Africa means a lot for me, and the fact that the results we’re dishing out at the moment — it’s beginning to get a little bit embarrassing. We’re trying for sure, but it’s just not good enough,” Du Plessis was quoted as saying at a press conference after their loss to Pakistan.
This has been a collective failure from South Africa; they have not worked as a unit. Their batting has lacked any fire and has been insipid throughout the tournament. Batsmen like Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock and skipper Faf du Plessis have got starts but have failed to convert them into healthy and meaningful scores, both while batting first and chasing. What has hit them even harder is the shambolic performance from their senior batsmen – David Miller (136 runs in 6 matches), Hashim Amla (123 runs in 6 games) and JP Duminy (56 runs in 3 games). The likes of talented Aiden Markram have failed too.
South Africa’s bowling has been an even bigger disappointment than their batting in this World Cup. Before the tournament began, the Proteas were seen as the most potent bowling lineup in the world with the likes of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi along with leg-spinner Imran Tahir in their armory. However, the team was jolted as Steyn was ruled out of the World Cup right at the beginning. Since then, it has been Rabada who has been given the responsibility of doing the job for the team, but unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to deliver.
With only six wickets in 7 games at a shocking average of 50.83, Rabada’s performance has been one of the great disappointments of World Cup 2019. Only the leg-spin of Imran Tahir (10 wickets in 7 games) has been the light in the gloom for the South African bowling unit this World Cup. The others, including Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, and Chris Morris, have been good only in patches.
It will be back to the drawing board for South Africa after their World Cup ends. The sudden retirement of AB De Villiers and the constant injury to Steyn has undoubtedly affected them severely. One hopes they can regroup and find some fresh talents to brood for the next 3-4 years and come back to form because an in-form and stable South Africa is a much-needed boost for international cricket.