South Africa will look to take an unassailable 2-0 lead when they take on Zimbabwe in the second ODI at Bloemfontein. The Proteas were comfortable winners in the first ODI in Kimberley, and victory here in the Free State will render Saturday’s ODI at Paarl a dead rubber.
South Africa chose to field first in Kimberley, and their pace attack of Rabada, Ngidi, Phehlukayo and Mulder proved too hot to handle for Zimbabwe, who were skittled out for 117 in 34 overs. The likes of Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams, all key cogs in the Zimbabwe batting machine, fell for single digit scores, although Ervine would’ve been reprieved had DRS been present.
While the bowlers did fantastically, South Africa’s batting left much to be desired. There have been warning signs at various points in the year- Durban against Australia, as mentioned by the Cricket Tier, was one such occasion, and so was the recent trip to Sri Lanka. Their shortcomings have generally been masked by the brilliance of AB De Villiers, but in his absence, the cracks have begun to show.
In this game, South Africa were without Amla, Du Plessis, De Kock and the retired De Villiers- a perfect opportunity for their reserve batsmen to gain some batting practice against Zimbabwe’s attack, which had been torn to shreds by Pakistan recently. Unfortunately, they flopped badly, with Markram, Elgar, Hendricks and Jonker all falling for low scores, and only a run-a-ball 44 from Titans keeper Heinrich Klaasen saved the blushes for the Proteas after they had been reduced to 58/4
Duminy might consider batting first in Bloemfontein to give his side as much time in the middle as possible. Bloemfontein is expected to be a batting paradise- England made nearly 400 on their visit here in 2016. The Proteas’ bowling attack looks settled, but the same cannot be said about the batting, and with the World Cup less than a year away, time is running out for their reserves to impress coach Ottis Gibson.