A brilliant team that had two horrid days - South Africa tournament review
Most runs - Rilee Rossouw (141)
Most wickets - Anrich Nortje (11)
What went right
The middle-order trio of Rilee Rossouw, Aiden Markram and David Miller were expected to produce fireworks, which they did, but they also showed composure and tenacity in strife. Markram and Miller putting on an outstanding batting display against India was probably the high point of South Africa's campaign.
Anrich Nortje led the bowling attack from the front with his searing pace and he was well complemented by Wayne Parnell, whose Powerplay exploits set the stage for Nortje's pace bursts. South Africa's bowling was tailor-made for the conditions and they delivered more often than not.
What went wrong
It's hard to pinpoint factors that led to South Africa's unexpected exit from the T20 World Cup. The bottom line is that their strengths bizarrely didn't show up in two successive games. But that's not to say this was a line-up without any blips.
Skipper Temba Bavuma was unable to get his side off to the quick starts they desired in many games and this hurt South Africa right at the top. Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw were undone by left-arm pace more than once and teams used it to have a crack at the middle order early on.
The injury to Dwaine Pretorius pre-tournament hurt South Africa's team balance and the lack of batting depth glaringly stood out in their loss to Netherlands on the final day of the Super 12 phase. Kagiso Rabada was short of his best through the tournament and Netherlands capitalised on it to put up a sizeable total on a sticky wicket.
What does the future look like?
It could be stated with a fair amount of conviction that South Africa merely had two bad days. They turned up with a line-up capable of winning matches and had every ingredient for success in a tournament such as this.
With the emergence of several players back home in South Africa, the future is really bright, but their first hurdle would involve making it to the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup in India, where automatic qualification appears a huge challenge for them given where they are in the Cricket World Cup Super League table.
The most promising aspect of South Africa's rise in the last year in the shortest format is the formation of a middle-order group that can not only tackle spin, but take it down. That would certainly stand them in good stead given where the World Cup is next year.
A few heads might roll, but South Africa have a squad brimming with talent and if they could put this tournament mishap behind them and focus on the future, there's more than just a speck of light at the end of the tunnel.
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