Cape Town – South Africa reached an exceptionally bad-looking top seven at bat in their home-season opener on Kimberley on Sunday … and that showed.
The Proteas earned a comfortable enough five-wicket victory over the Zimbabwean minnows in the first one-day international, but stayed behind with lingering questions instead of a healthy delivery of emphatic answers about their reserve power, if you want, on the fold.
Do not forget that the host country has chosen to put regulars like Quinton de Kock and David Miller in this short series, while regular captain Faf du Plessis and their most experienced cross-formats batsman Hashim Amla are not injured either.
So the arsenal that they gathered at the Diamond Oval – which unexpectedly did not have to offer its usual jewel of a flat deck – had a strange distorted view of the credentials in its midst.
They were led by the now 190 ODI cap JP Duminy, and he brought a certain calming influence and a sense of order with his undefeated 16 in the pursuit of only 118 to win after taking on guard at a somewhat precarious 58 for four.
The surface had a persistent tendency to "spit" quite a bit of sailors, which explained the Proteas's heavy weather from the run-down – Zimbabwe had previously booked its lowest total against their larger South African enemies.
But it would have been a little frustrating to coach Ottis Gibson and his lieutenants that they were unable to tick many boxes for meaningful performance by certain borderline or developing batsmen.
ODI-debutant Christiaan Jonker also made only six, Kimberley-born Reeza Hendricks failed – he has now registered only seven further runs of three hits in the format after his blistering debut 102 in Pallekele – and only a few test opener Dean Elgar & # 39; s transition to the 50-overs landscape for the country also remains shrouded in doubt after seven gigs and an average of 20.
Aiden Markram, who this year held a bumpy ride in the international cricket, played some excellent blows to his 27, but you could almost say he was fired three times – he was dropped by wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor and had another life when the Zimbabwean paceman Tendai Chatara was crossed after he thought he had nailed his man.
The only plus was Heinrich Klaasen, given the strong responsibility associated with status at no. 4, an assertive 44 in a run-ball, including the only two sixes of the game – he hits the ball with big gusto when he is in attack goes mode.
But he also glossed over his copybook considerably, while trying another big & # 39; un & # 39; to go to a first half of the century, but instead he did not stay long before the victory was sealed – an unnecessary development given that the Proteas had overseas pockets (about 24 by the time the game ended).
It was an amazing thought afterwards that Duminy all, except 37 of the 227 caps on the display in the top seven of SA in this fixture, as well as four centuries and 27 half tons to the one century and a fifty reached by all of the others, combined, up to this point.
The acting captain also had the satisfaction of reaching 5,000 personal ODI runs, the ninth South African to reach the milestone.
Clear leader remains the great Jacques Kallis (11 550 out of 323 matches), while Duminy is closest to the eighth seed Hansie Cronje (5 565 in 188 games).
Many observers hope that the Proteas, who have tested their batting well in the next couple of months to the 2019 World Cup, need more than their already very strong and in-depth bowling, take the first strike in the second Wednesday game in Bloemfontein and will be under pushed – hopefully at a slightly more faithful pitch – to put together a big total.
It is a day / night affair.
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