South Africa comprehensively thrashed Bangladesh 2-0 in the recent Test series, as the visitors failed to adapt in the absence of Shakib Al Hasan. They lost the first Test by 333 runs, and the second by an innings and 254 runs; results that show just how terrible they’ve been away from home.
Thankfully for them, Al Hasan is back for the ODIs, along with captain Mashrafe Mortaza. Still, there is only so much one or two players can do, and Bangladesh needs their team to work as a unit rather than relying on individuals. After the Test series, one naturally wonders if the visitors can keep up with the home side and put up a challenge. Will the ODI series be another cakewalk for the Proteas, or can Bangladesh surprise them?
Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan
Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, Jean-Paul Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada
Where the Teams Stand
The visitors’ destitution in all departments cannot be emphasized enough. If their Test performance continues, they cannot even think of competing against the home side, and there is only so much Al Hasan can do. Their highest total in the Tests was 320, a sub-par score in the longest format. They also took just 13 wickets in the three innings the Proteas batted in.
Some batsmen showed signs of promise during the 320 innings, with Mominul Haque scoring 77, Mahmudullah 66, and Rahim 44. Liton Das scored 70 in the second Test. If these players (except Haque since he isn’t in the squad) can replicate this in the ODIs and build on it, the Bangladeshis might just have a chance.
Bowling is a massive area of concern for the visitors. Their attack has not been good enough. Three of the 13 wickets they took came from Haque, and three more from Subashis Roy, who isn’t in the ODI squad either. Including Mortaza and Al Hasan should help their cause, but this over-reliance is not a sustainable plan on tours.
Their best course of action right now seems to be to win the toss, bowl first and then attempt to chase down whatever the Proteas manage. Even a loss by a relatively small margin should suffice. Can they manage even that?
While Bangladesh have been atrocious, the South Africans have been clinical, completely in control of proceedings. Six of their batsmen have scored centuries, along with a 97 from Markram. Their bowlers have restricted Bangladesh to scores of below 200 thrice, with one of them being below even 100. Faf and company have been toying with the visitors, treating them as extras in an international practice session.
To make things even better, AB de Villiers has been included in the ODI squad. Farhaan Behardien and Miller return, along with JP Duminy. The squad is arguably stronger than the one that played the Tests, a major indicator of things to come. Amla and Du Plessis were in fine form, the former scoring two centuries, and the latter having scores of 81 and 135.
They will be the ones to watch out for in the upcoming series. Rabada has been great with the ball, recently jumping to number three in the Test rankings (CricBuzz), having taken 15 wickets out of 40. This is more than the entire Bangladeshi attack managed. Overall, the Proteas are seemingly unstoppable, and things do not look like they will change soon.
South Africa win.
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