The Proteas ensured their World Cup preparations stayed on track with a narrow 3-2 ODI series victory over Pakistan.
Admittedly it wasn’t a series where things always went swimmingly and some questions remain unanswered.
Here are the things head coach Ottis Gibson learned.
The all-rounder question remains unanswered
The Newlands ODI was sort of a final, so we decided let’s try all three (Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Wiaan Mulder) today and see how they go. They all bowled well, but we didn’t get to see them bat. They all contributed in some way to the win. Have we answered any questions? Maybe not. But at least we saw them.
The search, to be honest, very much continues.
Rassie van der Dussen nails down his opportunity
He was outstanding. He’s done very well and done a credit to himself. When games are so tight and opportunities are so scarce, for him to come in and perform like this is great. When he’s needed to be aggressive, he’s been aggressive. The one thing I really like about him is that he’s very calm under pressure. It doesn’t seem to affect him. He knows exactly how he’s going to set up his innings. I’m quite comfortable sitting in the changeroom and knowing he’s at the crease.
The tight nature of the series was good for World Cup prep
At the end of the day, we’re trying to prepare for the World Cup and all these games are dress rehearsals. When we were in Australia and the series was 1-1, we billed it as a final of sorts. We said ‘let’s go out and play it like a final’. We were 20/3 and went on to win and got a lot of confidence from that. So every opportunity we get to play in a winner-takes-all sort of game and win it is a massive boost for us. The way we played in this game was good for us. I’m pleased the way we went about it.
Aiden Markram will have to bide his time
It’s obviously disappointing for him (that he didn’t get a game). In the Test series, when you watched how some of the batters struggled and how Aiden performed, it almost seemed as if he was playing on a different pitch. He’s full of confidence and in good form. It’s just tough to get him in. Rassie came in and took his chance. He clearly deserved to be play. Aiden’s a class player and I’ve had a lot of conversations with him and he knows where he fits in the bigger picture. He’ll go back and play in the domestic One-day Cup and we’ll see what lies ahead.