The Proteas’ disappointing exit from the ICC T20 World Cup, while still a shock to the system of many, probably exhibited various signs of happening.
One of those signs is simply how the majority of the squad underperformed.
News24 Sport hands out report cards for those players.
ANRICH NORTJE – 8 (11 wickets at strike rate of 9.5, economy 5.37)
There had been some reservations about the strapping quick’s form going into the tournament and how South Africa would harness his pace alongside talismans like Rabada and Ngidi.
Instead, Nortje ended this tournament as the leader of the pack, magnificently taking control and twice claiming four-wicket hauls to end with 11 scalps and an outrageous strike rate of 9.5.
More impressively, his overall economy rate was an outstanding 5.37, epitomised by a brilliant spell of 1/10 in the collapse against the Netherlands.
So dramatic was his impact that one has to wonder where the Proteas would’ve been without him
LUNGI NGIDI – 7 (7 wickets at strike rate of 11.1, economy 8.9)
It was disappointing that he got sucked into the vortex of the Proteas’ maddening implosion against Netherlands, but other than that Ngidi reinforced his status as one of the key members of the T20 attack.
No bowler in South Africa’s squad delivers a better variety of slower balls and his intelligence, particularly in rocking Zimbabwe after they hit him for a six off his first ball, is truly impressive.
Any player that boasts figures of 4/29 against a powerful Indian batting line-up can rightly claim a fine pedigree.
WAYNE PARNELL – 7 (5 wickets at strike rate of 19.2, economy 6.4)
For years, the former national Under-19 skipper had to operate under the spotlight because he was considered a prodigy and for close to a decade injuries, inconsistency and expectations left much of his promise unfulfilled.
But his newfound maturity, a stint in county cricket and an inherent comfort with being a support player led to some excellent spells in Australia.
Parnell did absolutely nothing fancy, merely focusing on using his repertoire well and exercising control in the frantic early stages of an innings.
There might’ve been a case for him to have shown more of his ability with the bat.
AIDEN MARKRAM – 6 (99 runs at strike rate of 125, 1 wicket)
His crucial if flawed half-century against India showed the type of mental steel that beguiles the national selectors to keep picking him at Test level and for a few fleeting moments it also seemed as if he and Temba Bavuma could play the Proteas back into the game against Pakistan.
Yet Markram still needs to find a way to come up with the goods when the stakes are really high.
He was perhaps underused as off-spinner.
DAVID MILLER – 6 (78 runs at strike rate of 116)
Would he have made a difference in the loss against Pakistan?
Given how sloppy the Proteas were in the field on that occasion, there may be an argument that his sensational standards might’ve rubbed off on his teammates.
But his unbeaten half-century against India was a masterclass in calmness, and while he should’ve seen South Africa home against the Netherlands, it must be said that Roelof van der Merwe’s catch to dismiss him was freakishly brilliant.
TABRAIZ SHAMSI – 5 (4 wickets at strike rate of 12, economy 7)
South Africa’s leading T20 bowler according to the world rankings, almost bizarrely, only played two matches.
The left-arm wrist spinner was the beneficiary of a generous Bangladesh batting order in Sydney, where he picked up 3/20 without much effort, and wasn’t horrible in the defeat to Pakistan.
But that was it.
QUINTON DE KOCK – 5 (124 runs at strike rate of 161)
His start to the tournament was so electric that one could be forgiven for believing it was a portent of glory for South Africa.
Instead, De Kock tailed off badly and continued the curious trend of him being a key player for the national side that inexplicably disappears in a showpiece tournament.
His keeping was excellent in general.
RILEE ROSSOUW – 5 (141 runs at strike rate of 170)
With the benefit of hindsight, the return of the prodigal son that was supposed to elevate the Proteas’ batting order from good to great ultimately proved to be a bit of a mirage.
Over the past few months, bits of the Rossouw product looked amazing – not better illustrated than his consecutive hundreds – but the whole was incomplete.
Indeed, after his 109 against the Tigers, he only made 32 runs in his other three innings.
What a let-down.
KESHAV MAHARAJ – 5 (3 wickets at strike rate of 24, economy 7.4)
Canny as always, South Africa’s frontline spinner was an unfussy and reliable support act.
But those guys don’t win you World Cups.
TEMBA BAVUMA – 4 (70 runs at strike rate of 113)
If the Proteas skipper didn’t play against Pakistan, his T20 career would be indisputably be over.
However, the way he managed to elegantly glide to a 19-ball 36 in Sydney by simply sticking to his strengths will prompt hardcore fans to believe somewhere in that diminutive frame lurks a decent T20 player.
Nonetheless, his contributions were simply too miniscule and too slow to justify him still being part of this outfit.
HEINRICH KLAASEN – 4 (36 runs at strike rate of 133)
It’s true that he was thrust into action at difficult periods of this campaign, but the key to a team winning a world title is every member of the squad being capable of delivering at any stage.
He had an opportunity to be a hero against Netherlands and couldn’t capitalise.
KAGISO RABADA – 3 (2 wickets at strike rate of 48, economy 9.4)
South Africa’s bowling lynchpin was out-of-sorts in this tournament, gradually regressing as the side’s slump came to a head.
Rabada is a man who has no qualms showing his emotions and, disconcertingly, cut a frustrated and perhaps even apathetic figure at times.
Is the body and the mind really where it needs to be? Clearly not
TRISTAN STUBBS – 3 (31 runs at strike rate of 100)
The SA20’s most expensive player was handed a harsh reminder of how reactionary auctions can be.
The rookie explosive hitter came to Australia on the back of some already iffy form and never managed to find it.
His jittery fielding also bore the mark of a young man who needs time to assess his newfound fame and adapt his on-field play accordingly.
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