Bangladesh’s tour is one match away from derailing. After losing by big margins in the Tests, they were expected to be more competitive in the 50-over format. But South Africa strolled to the biggest 10-wicket win in the series opener.
Bangladesh haven’t been undone by pace and bounce or fire and fury, but by themselves and a South African side that has stuck to simple game plans. Therefore, it isn’t impossible to find a way out of this mess.
In the Tests, Bangladesh didn’t help their cause by bowling first on batsmen-friendly surfaces. In the first ODI in Kimberley, their bowling let them down. Not only did they fail to take a wicket, they also couldn’t apply the slightest hint of pressure on Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock. With an inexperienced seam-bowling group that isn’t getting the kind of assistance they would’ve liked, discipline should be their best option.
Bangladesh’s batting is getting better and Mushfiqur Rahim’s hundred in Kimberley provided a much-needed highlight, but they can’t rely on him alone.
For South Africa, things have come too easy, perhaps why it’s also difficult to judge their performances. They’d like to be pushed ahead of challenging assignments against India and Australia. New coach Ottis Gibson couldn’t have asked for a gentler landing. He may as well enjoy it while it lasts.
South Africa: WLLWL (completed matches, most recent first)
Bangladesh: : LLWLW
In the spotlight
AB de Villiers was not needed with the bat and had a barely-there showing in the field on his international return after five months. He’ll be itching to get involved. More pressingly, observers will be anxious to see the effects of him giving up captaincy.
Bangladesh’s bowling has been underwhelming all tour, but they can salvage something still. Success in South Africa could do wonders for someone like young Taskin Ahmed . He’s delivered in the past, against India, England and Sri Lanka. Now, it’s just a question of finding the right lengths and bringing in some consistency.
South Africa could delay experimenting, considering the series hasn’t been won yet. That means allrounder Wiaan Mulder, who was withdrawn from a first-class game to replace the injured Wayne Parnell, Temba Bavuma and Farhaan Behardien may all have to wait their turn.
South Africa: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Faf du Plessis (capt) 4 AB de Villiers, 5 JP Duminy, 6 David Miller, 7 Andile Phehlukwayo, 8 Dane Paterson, 9 Dwaine Pretorius, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Imran Tahir
Bangladesh are hoping Tamim Iqbal, who couldn’t recover in time for the series opener due to a muscle strain, is fit and available. He could displace Imrul Kayes at the top of the order. However, Imrul may yet be needed if Mushfiqur Rahim, who tweaked a hamstring while scoring his hundred on Sunday, is rested. Shafiul Islam will join the side as cover for Mustafizur Rahman whose twisted ankle is likely to keep him out.
Bangladesh: 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Liton Das (wk), 3 Shakib al Hasan, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim/Imrul Kayes, 5 Mahmudullah, 6 Sabbir Rahman, 7 Nasir Hossain, 8 Mashrafe Mortaza, 9 Mohammad Saifuddin, 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Taskin Ahmed
Pitch and conditions
With only 10 ODIs played at this venue, it is one of the lesser-known grounds for teams touring South Africa. The surface tends to play slowly and occasionally takes turn. But, like Kimberley, it should hold no demons.
Boland Park, the designated home venue for Stellenbosch Kings in The T20 Global League franchise, was revamped in anticipation of the now-postponed tournament. Though the new lights won’t be put to use just yet, the new stands are expected to be packed. After a drizzly build-up, match day should be fine and clear.
Stats and Trivia:
- South Africa could go ahead of India on the ODI rankings with a 2-0 series lead.
- Boland Park has not hosted an ODI in more than four years. New Zealand was the last oveseae side to play here, in January 2013.
- The average score batting first is 258. Only two teams have scored more than 300 here: India and South Africa against Kenya and Sri Lanka respectively.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo