Nausea County: Dizzy tale of slow & unsteady chase

Against Netherlands, they were 3/3. So, all eyes were on the slightly beleaguered triumvirate of Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks and Aiden Markram.
Bangladesh's Mahmudullah Riyad reacts as he walks off the field after losing his wicket during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match
Bangladesh's Mahmudullah Riyad reacts as he walks off the field after losing his wicket during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match Photo | Express

CHENNAI: If it wasn’t for the different colours worn by the Bangladesh bowlers and fielders, it may well have been a replay of each of South Africa’s earlier batting efforts. In their first World Cup match vs Sri Lanka, they had lost the top-three for 51.

Against Netherlands, they were 3/3. So, all eyes were on the slightly beleaguered triumvirate of Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks and Aiden Markram.

Having been accustomed to some extreme conditions in New York and playing there for a third match in a row, one would have expected them to be well aware of the conditions.

Wrong. For a third match in a row, the Proteas’ top three folded like a pack of cards at a bowling alley. This time, De Kock (18 off 11), Hendricks (0 off 1) and Markram (4 off 8) together put on 22 off 20. In all, in nine innings, they have made 61 from 76 deliveries for an average of 6.7 while striking at 80. This is clearly unsustainable in the long run.

Luckily for them, though the foundation has been flaky, their middle-order, one of the strongest in this tournament, is made of material used by fictional superheroes. In Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller and Tristan Stubbs, they have a trio capable of absorbing shocks. If Stubbs and Klaasen steadied the ship against Sri Lanka, it was Miller and Stubbs who saw them home against Netherlands.

Against a well-oiled Bangladesh bowling unit, it was the turn of Klaasen (46 off 44) and Miller (29 off 38). Their fire-fighting 79-run alliance on a slowish surface helped them set a target of 114. Before talking about the partnership itself, one has to wonder why the South African support staff haven’t been able to suss out the conditions properly. The strips in New York haven’t been 180 plays 170 surfaces. These are, at best, 140-150 sort of strips. But watching De Kock & Co, it looks like the memo hasn’t gone out.

Against Bangladesh, they survived by the barest of margins — four runs to be precise. While they are still not mathematically confirmed of a place in the next stages, they will need to address this yawning issue at the top. Otherwise, it may not be a wholesome campaign. At the moment, they top Group D with six points from three games and have one game more to play against Nepal.

From a Bangladesh perspective, they will have multiple reasons to pick a fight with the officials (and the rulebook). Needing 26 off 23, Mahmudullah moved across his stumps to try and clip a full length Ottneil Baartman delivery. He missed it before the ball flicked his pads before ricocheting to the toblerone cushions. However, the umpire had ruled him out. Even in real time, that seemed a questionable decision and DRS confirmed it (at this moment, the rules say that if the umpire gives the batter out, the ball is dead and everything post that becomes irrelevant).

Saying that, even without this, they should have won. But like Pakistan on Sunday, they panicked, lost control of the chase and threw it away in the end.

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