South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma admitted that the Proteas were let down in the 1st ODI by their top-order batsmen, and insisted that, going forward, there is a need for them to execute shots better. After the Proteas posted 273 batting first, Pakistan, after much drama, registered a 3-wicket win.
Temba Bavuma’s first outing as a full-time skipper for South Africa ended in defeat as the Proteas succumbed to a three-wicket defeat at the hands of a hot-and-cold Pakistan. Batting first, the hosts managed to put on 273 on the board, but the total proved to be not enough as Pakistan, propelled by a Babar Azam ton, just about managed to hold their nerve to get home on the final ball of the chase. For the Proteas, the game was lost in the first 10 overs of their innings as they lost each of their three top-order batsmen, all of whom perished attempting to play aerially.
Speaking in the post match presentation, Bavuma conceded that South Africa lost the game in the powerplay and asserted that, come the next game, the top-order batters would need to execute their shots better.
“Not the result we were looking for, but a good game of cricket. We were tested in all departments, and tested to our limits. A good start to the series, but we have areas to improve in. I think the batting didn't help especially in the first 10 overs. The David/Rassie partnership helped, but it was too much to expect of them,” Bavuma said post match, reported Cricbuzz.
“The guys are naturally aggressive, Aiden and Quinny up front, and our options didn't come off, and they looked like soft dismissals, mine included. The options we take, we need to execute them much better than we did today. I think we need to look at areas that we need to improve on, and we need to take the positives into the next game.”
The scorecard will read that Pakistan managed to win the game by three wickets, but the victory, for the visitors, was anything but straightforward. After cruising at 186/1 at one stage, thanks to a 177-run stand between Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam, Pakistan lost their next four wickets for just 17 runs and, at one point, looked like they were going to throw the game away. Eventually, thanks to valuable contributions from the trio of Rizwan, Shadab and Ashraf, the visitors got home in the very final ball.
Skipper Azam, who was also named Man of the Match for striking his 13th ODI ton, conceded that his side got ‘nervous’ after he perished, and added that it would be important for his side, going forward, to learn from the mistakes they committed on Friday.
“When I went in, I just want to play to my strengths. I was hoping to get a partnership with Imam and we got a big one. To be honest, when the wickets fell I was nervous and the pressure was on with that Nortje spell, and he bowled extremely well. Hopefully we will learn from our mistakes,” Azam said.
Pakistan erred a bit with the ball towards the fag end of the first innings, but, overall, it was a fine bowling effort from the visitors, who restricted South Africa to a below-par 273 on a flat batting wicket. Azam expressed satisfaction over a fine bowling effort and credited the bowlers for rattling the Proteas with the new ball.
“The wicket had a bit of moisture and we tried to utilize that, so credit to our bowlers for capitalising on that with the new ball. They took wickets in the powerplay and restricted them to 270 odd. I just told the bowlers to hit the hard length and not bowl boundary balls. We stuck to our plan and we restricted them.”
The second of the three ODIs will be played in Johannesburg on Sunday, April 4.