South Africa against rising Bangladesh is a well-anticipated match. With Africans as the favorite for this particular battle because of both conditions and habit of the pitch, it seemed more like a predominant match until the conditions were analyzed. The pitch was plain with barely any cracks making it a great pitch for batsmen. The ball was supposed to come on to the bat well and only spinners could make a difference which seemed unlikely due to the windy weather. The outfield was big on either side, singles and doubles would come easy and the team batting first could easily score 300+.
South Africa won the toss and chose to bowl first. This was the first wrong move by Africans. Though they had four-star bowlers, the conditions seemed against them the hopes were now on the 10 overs of Imran Tahir otherwise the Bangladeshi middle order could do some serious damage. With Hashim Amla dropped from the side, South Africa have to restrict their opponent at a figure close to 300 or less.
The match took off with serious pace of Rabada bowling his spell. As expected there was swing but the ball came right on the bat. With Iqbal struggling it seemed like the opening wouldn’t make a huge partnership. Soumya Sarkar looked dangerous and was driving the ball all around the park. Eventually, the partnership broke just before the powerplay and Iqbal were caught behind. Bangladesh was down 2 for 75 but the run rate was maintained overrun a ball and Shakib was on the crease.
Both Shakib and the keeper Rahim were looking calm and were playing sensibly. The scoreboard was running well and the run rate never came down. The partnership crossed century and the batsmen were looking to play till the end. But Imran Tahir took charge and bowled an amazing slower one to outwit Shakib al Hasan in the 35th over. The Bangladeshi middle order contributed to an already stable score and with Mahmudullah’s unbeaten 46 Bangladesh finished at 330/6 in their 50 overs.
After a bad decision and Amlas’ absence, 330 seemed like a huge score. But with a strong batting lineup, it was anyone’s guess.
Markram came to open the batting with de Kock. Both the batsmen were playing carefully and the run-rate never touched 6 an over. In the last over of powerplay de Kock was out in the most unfortunate way, he was run out by Rahim behind the stumps. The captain came to the crease and looked great with the bat. The partnership did cross 50 but Markram was bowled by another brilliant spin ball by Shakib. The middle order went on to score a few runs as miller and Dussen scored crucial 38 and 41 respectively. Africans were now 6 down for 252 in the 43 overs and the match was on shoulders of Duminy. With Morris yet to come the match still had some energy, while the lefty was guarding one side the chasers were now at 268/6 with Morris on the non-strikers’ end.
The final phase was up and Duminy started to swing the bat hard. A very crucial spell, as Mustafizur came out to bowl. The trick worked perfectly well, both Morris and Duminy departed in his alternate overs. The South Africans ended at 309/8 and Bangladesh opened their world cup with a win.
South Africa lost its 2nd match in this world cup. The match marked the importance of toss and the losing side will look to bounce back in the big match against the world cup favorites, India.