Under Pafuma and Mark Boucher © Getty South Africa have yet to win an ODI
What do cats have in common in the bidding for the 2023 World Cup in South Africa? They both have nine lives. But Temba Pauma was only able to release five, which took a very direct path to the championship. What’s more, they can be seen sizzling and scratching their way through the playoffs.
Bangladesh’s historic win in the ODI series ended at Centurion on Wednesday, meaning South Africa are ninth in the World Cup standings (WCSL) – just below one place to book their place in the Indian list for next year’s bookings.
They have 11 more games in which WCSL points will be displayed. Given two against the Netherlands, and South Africa’s new form, it’s hard to believe they will lose against a completely defeated opponent in the final four matches.
But nothing is certain about the other nine games. South Africa will play three matches in England from June 19-24 and the same matches in the yet-to-be-announced matches in India and Australia. To ensure he stays with the top eight teams to defend their place in the World Cup, Pafuma will win at least four. So the cat metaphor: they can’t lose more than five of those nine games. This promises to be a difficult comparison.
England have won 12 of their last 14 ODI doubles, including a series of almost unbroken victories since June 2015 against South Africa in May 2017. The trophy – New Zealand outscored the finalists on the boundary after the play-off team stalled – meaning they cannot be called champions. But there is no denying that England are a good team.
India was also strong in its situation. Of the 32 rubber twins’ homes since October 2005, they have won 25. The fact that the South Africans were one of the two teams to win the series in India in October 2015 is a calming factor for the South Africans.
Australia were still weak, winning only 13 of the 22 domestic series since October 2005. They lost twice to South Africa, most recently in November 2018.
Finally, 50 wins from 69 series for these Homers: success rate 72.46. Out of 40 rubbers, South Africa always won 22 or 55%. It was much better than average – winning and losing all 2,958 games, with the home team winning 58.52% and the spectators 41.48%.
So historically, South Africans have been ahead of this curve. But they have yet to win a one-day series outside the home under Pafuma and Mark Boucher: they made a draw in Ireland and lost in Sri Lanka last year. What is the history if you somehow pull off your first own defeat with Bangladesh? Wednesday’s loss was particularly troubling for South African supporters as its squad went from 154 to 37. Bangladesh won by 9 wickets in 26.3 overs.
“After we got off to a good start today, we went to sleep,” Boucher told a news conference after the race. “This is definitely not the way we want to play. We wanted to continue the race after a good start. We could not do that. They played well, but you have to take the risk to create scoring chances. It’s like we’re afraid to go out and count the total.”
The problem was psychological, not technical or tactical, Boucher said: “Players have a belief and confidence that they will play the way you want them to. We want them to be active, but today they are not doing that. Guys know.To do this.But you have to understand that you have it and something else to implement.Instead of understanding that the game is going on, there seems to be a blockage and fear of exit.Try to get the fear of failure out of your mind and try to take the game instead. We entered the series.
How loud are the alarm bells for Boucher as South Africa will find a way to win at least four ODI places in England, India and Australia?
“We have a lot to discuss and do, but it is also important to understand that we have clients in our dressing room to beat the best in the world,” he said. “Those teams you mentioned, we’ve beaten them before, and to qualify we have to beat them again. There will always be alarm bells, we put pressure on ourselves. But we have to come to the party.”
Rather than tightening the nuts and bolts that seem to be dangerously loose, Bafuma did not focus on the big picture: “There are not many points of concern for me. They are clearly important – we need points to qualify for the World Cup. But we understand the way we play, and that is very important. The inconsistency in our performance as a unit is also a factor of concern. We defeated India a long time ago [3-0 in a home series in January that did not count towards the WCSL]In this series we have made absolute progress in all three areas. This is my concern, but it is also important that we need points.
What’s more dangerous is that neither Boucher nor Pfuma knew what was going on. Paphoma put forward the theory: “This may be due to the disrespect we have for the actions that have made these positive results possible. [against India]The type of expectation that things will happen our way. But both said there was no real answer at the moment.
Uncertain long shadows crawling from the pack pits into the locker room did not help. Graeme Smith’s contract as cricket director expires on Thursday, and he is opposed in every way to continuing his work – he was named in the top 20 commentators on Friday for the IPL’s global television broadcast starting on Saturday. While he waits for a decision on the now-concluded arbitration proceedings between him and the CSA. Boucher’s term ends in May after a disciplinary hearing. If he is not removed – CSA’s decision – there are indications that he will want to leave his post before the end of his contract after the World Cup.
The move against Smith and Boucher stems from allegations leveled against them during last year’s Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN) hearings and implications in a more complex project report. There is nothing more important than tackling racism, including World Cup qualifiers. But that doesn’t stop the play from trying to do the opposite negatively on the players, especially since the familiar characters that Smith and Boucher played in December made the game worse on and off the field. 2019 and has played a key role in restoring something like sustainability.
When South Africa looked on in amazement on Wednesday, could it be a factor that the two were not one of the shows? VIPs like Smith and Boucher, whose star careers on the pitch will be new in the minds of today’s team, if they don’t want to do anything in the country’s highest game, what does that say about South African cricket? CSA, fans and players currently wearing bracelets?
Pafuma and his team – and Dean Elgar’s Test XI – who take on Thursday’s Test series against Bangladesh at Kingsmead without an IPL set, including South Africa’s first strike, will be forgiven for what it felt like to try to play cricket on a sunken deck.
This is not easy. So the good thing is, no matter how many lives are left, cats tend to get down on their feet.
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