Proteas captain Faf du Plessis admitted on Sunday after their eight-wicket thrashing in the fourth ODI at the Wanderers that Pakistan have been the more consistent side in the series and that losing in such fashion on Pink Day was a major blow to the team’s pride.
A terrible South African batting collapse in which they lost their last eight wickets for just 45 runs saw them shot out for 164, a target Pakistan sauntered past with just two wickets down and 18-and-a-half overs to spare.
“It was obviously a disappointing day and we pride ourselves on playing good cricket on this day in front of the Wanderers crowd, but unfortunately it was average cricket by us and Pakistan were very good today. Pakistan have been a bit more consistent than us in this series, their bowling attack is on it all the time and they’ve had their opener bat through just about every time, which makes it a lot easier.
“In every game one or two of our departments have been very inconsistent, but that’s what happens when you have a lot of new guys come in. But you only get better and learn by not doing things right in certain situations. I’m certainly picking up valuable lessons and it’s becoming very clear about the balance we need,” Du Plessis said.
That balance depends on whether South Africa’s first-choice attack – one of the best on the planet – is available.
But with Lungi Ngidi out injured and Dale Steyn being rested for the first two ODIs, South Africa’s World Cup preparations have taken a knock with the series level at 2-2 and both the home side’s victories owing quite a bit to good fortune.
“If we have Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn all in our attack then it’s an option to just play six batsmen. But if one of them is not there, then we need to relook the six-batsmen strategy. It’s pretty obvious to me that we possibly need another batsman or all-rounder,” Du Plessis admitted.
“But we’re still very positive and we need to make sure that we are still looking at our vision going forward. We probably need to change the combination when we don’t have the bowlers we want.”