Admirable as they’ve been as the bowling lynchpins, our product needed something else.
They found it in Wayne Parnell.
Clearly unflustered by the inconvenience of having to make a quick round trip to Mumbai for his mandatory court appearance, the left-armer produced an ultimately match-winning spell that went a long way in ensuring that the Proteas reach their first World T20 semifinal in five years.
But the most significant aspect of that haul of 3/31 from his four-over quota was how it revealed a fundamental truth about what the 24-year-old brings to the side.
Parnell’s spell wasn’t flawless – even his scalps illustrated that.
His first wicket (Michael Lumb) was a low full toss, which the opener only had to place better.
Instead, he hit it straight to Dave Miller at extra cover.
Next Parnell had the dangerous Alex Hales caught in the deep, yet the full delivery with width was certainly there to be hit before one back of a length had Moeen Ali caught behind the very next ball.
All three deliveries had the potential for not being wicket-takers, but it shouldn’t matter.
The crux of the matter is that it once again illustrated that Parnell is simply one of the gifted few with the knack of simply always being on the hunt.
“He’s an absolute matchwinner,” said stand-in skipper AB de Villiers’.
“I would love to have him in my team every day. I think we’ve seen very little of what is to come.”
Parnell’s numbers since returning in the 2013 series in Sri Lanka are revealing.
He’s taken 13 wickets at an excellent strike rate of 13.6 – almost two sticks per game. Even his economy of 7.48 is respectable.
South Africa need his X-factor.