HomeAnalysisSouth African Cricket: Then And Now! How They Fell...

South African Cricket: Then And Now! How They Fell From Grace In Cricket

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It was in 2012 when South Africa pocketed the Test series against England by a 2-0 margin and became the number one side.
It was the very year when the Proteas were number one across formats in the ICC Rankings. Records tumbled, players celebrated wins and the performances were becoming highly consistent.
In 2014, the Proteas once again regained the number one status in the ICC Test Rankings before being in the top three two years later.
They were the perennial chokers in ICC limited-overs tournaments, however, Test cricket saw them keep up with the reputation of being a serious side.
Post the win in England, the Proteas dominated the show and sealed crucial Test series victories in 2012-13 against the likes of Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan.
They had also drawn the series in UAE against Pakistan, before beating India at home. The chinks in the armor came for a brief period in 2015-2016 when they lost against India away and England at home.
Post that the victories came back as the side won four successive Test series, including two away wins in Australia and New Zealand.
After being blanked by England in 2017, the Proteas were fought back to claim impressive victories against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, India, and Australia. Things looked sorted for the side.
However, post the retirement of AB de Villiers and losing key players to Kolpak deals, the team suddenly became a shadow of the run from they enjoyed for a decade in the longest format.
In the ODIs, SA enjoyed a similar sort of dominance in this period. From 2012 until the latest ODI series against England, SA was involved in 36 ODI series including the Champions Trophy and the ICC World Cups. They won 22 series in this phase of time to show a decent percentage of wins.
However, things have not quite gone well for the side since the Test series loss against Sri Lanka in 2018. They fired blanks in the longest format and fared poorly in the 2019 World Cup. In this article, we look at how South Africa fell from grace.

A champion team once, SA have lost the shine in Test cricket

fall of south african cricket
South Africa’s major turn of events happened during the two-match series against Lanka in 2018. The side was trounced 2-0 by the visitors in what came as a major shock for fans all around the world.
The Lankans won the first Test by one wicket in a record 304-run chase and the body language dropped further. In the second Test, Lanka thrashed them by eight wickets.
Notably, it was not only the confidence that was shattered but also the fall of the side’s batting that hurt SA the most.
The Proteas managed scores of 235 and 259 in the first Test, before getting folded for 222 and 128 in the second. To score so less at home became a trend that has bogged the side to date.
In the ongoing ICC World Test Championship, South Africa was hammered 3-0 by India in a series where the Faf du Plessis-led side lost two of the three Tests by an innings margin.
In the first Test, a 203-run defeat was also dished out. Four scores in the Test series were under the 200-run mark. Besides Dean Elgar’s 160 in the first Test, SA never managed to have another centurion.
One thought the side would get some respite against England at home especially when the hosts sealed the first Test. However, they were beaten comprehensively in the remaining three games.

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One of the major reasons for South Africa’s demise is that they failed to get past 300 runs in an innings across the series. This was once again a reflection of their poor batting. Their best score was 284 at Centurion in the Boxing Day Test. Also, SA managed to get past 250 on just three occasions in the series.

Meanwhile, in the SA-England Test series, no Proteas batsman managed to score a single century in the Test series. Rassie van der Dussen (98) was their highest individual run-scorer in an innings in the fourth Test. So when you have no run-scorers added with a lack of partnerships, the onus is always on the opposite side to shine.

With just 24 points collected in the ICC World Test Championship, SA’s dreams are all but over.

What do the sayings in ODI cricket suggest for South Africa?

cricket south africa
The ICC World Cup 2019 was a major highlight of how the side disappeared. They offered no substance and was found wanting across departments. It was writing on the wall for them.
All the build-up to the mega event was quashed. Now leading to the 2023 World Cup, SA will need to build once again and hope they get some much-needed respite under new skipper Quinton de Kock.
Prior to the World Cup, SA did well and pocketed five successive ODI series. The ghosts after the 5-1 series defeat against India had disappeared.
But when the major event came calling in England and Wales, SA failed to turn up. In the recently-concluded ODI series against England, the result was 1-1. However, the batting looked shaky as far as the hosts were concerned.
The side needs to regroup and take one thing at a time to make a good impression.

Can South Africa do well in the ICC T20 World Cup 2020?

cricket south africa
It was a much-needed win against a famed side like England in the first T20I of the three-match series. England surrendered the tie despite bossing the game for about 80% of the match.
The ability shown by South African bowlers to pull out a rabbit from the hat will please the management. England will come hard, however, SA needs to believe in themselves and keep their heads strong.
The major focus for the side will be to find the best possible 15 ahead of the ICC World T20 in Australia. SA have the bowlers in the ranks to do a decent job, however, it’s the batting that looks a bit dependent on De Kock, in particular.
SA will not be the favorites with teams like Australia, England, and India well ahead of them in balance and consistency. However, after some poor cricket of late, SA needs to come out of the hole and breathe. The motivation could well add to the spark.
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