BALL-BY-BALL coverage of South Africa taking Bangladesh apart for the fourth time in as many matches in Dhaka yesterday was surely not worth bothering with.
Even the highlights would be too much – just the result, please, and with it confirmation of South Africa’s effortless victory in the one-day series to go with their thumping win in the T20 rubber.
But the story of the second one-day international could be told in less time than it would take to read even the bare details of the game.
All was revealed with the last delivery of the 21st over of Bangladesh’s innings, when Farhaan Behardien skipped in to bowl to Soumya Sarkar, whose heaved edge soared high into the night sky directly behind the batsman.
Quinton de Kock turned and set off after the descending ball as Faf du Plessis and Kagiso Rabada steamed towards the point where it would, surely, be caught. It wasn’t.
Du Plessis and Rabada were less than a metre apart and much closer than that to the ball when it fell to earth with an apologetic plop.
The Proteas dropped the ball in every sense yesterday. They were boring with the bat and bored with the ball, and Bangladesh’s hitherto hidden tigers pounced to win by seven wickets and square the series going into what is now the decider in Chittagong on Wednesday.
This is what happens when one team is so much better than the other. That team is still South Africa. Their problem yesterday was that they allowed themselves to believe it.
The Proteas were dismissed for 160 in 46 overs, their lowest total against Bangladesh and their worst effort batting first since England bowled them out for 119 in November 2009. Excluding yesterday’s game, that was 106 ODIs ago.
Du Plessis, Rilee Rossouw, David Miller and J P Duminy all went out to strokes that suggested that they would rather be watching the men’s final at Wimbledon. Or something like that.
That not done, South Africa’s bowlers performed as if they, too, were in a hurry to see how Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer were getting on.
Reality, and with it Bangladesh’s march to victory with 22.2 overs remaining, set in like a toothache. The home side got there on the back of a stand of 135 between Sarkar and Mahmudullah, an ODI record for Bangladesh against South Africa for any wicket.
If South Africa were even half the team yesterday that they were on Friday, they could have caught the end of the Wimbledon final without having to think too hard about Wednesday’s game.
Instead, a tiebreaker looms. Anyone for redemption?
– Telford Vice