After World Cup scores of 8, 35, 16, 28, 24, 11 and 23, Temba Bavuma was bowled out by Australia’s Mitchell Starc in the semi-final at Eden Gardens on Thursday.
The Protea captain could only score 145 runs in his eight innings at an average of 18.12 and a strike rate of 73.60 in India.
Admittedly, Bavuma is not the first South African captain to struggle at the international cricket spectacle, but after all every World Cup starts on a clean slate and this chapter – statistically speaking – does not make for good reading material at all.
Additionally, he himself admitted that he is not 100% fit for the semi-final against Australia after injuring his hamstring against Afghanistan earlier.
Coach Rob Walter stepped in for the 33-year-old batsman after the Proteas’ semi-final defeat.
“I told him how proud I was of him – he now led his troops well on the field. I think a lot of people forget that Temba played the main role in our qualification process for the tournament. So I wanted to make sure that he knows how important a link he is in the team and how proud I am of his leadership.”
The Protea coach also defended the decision to select Bavuma – despite his hamstring problems – for the semi-final eleven.
“If you looked at him on the pitch, you would never guess that he wasn’t 100%. In the run-up to the game, he showed progress every day and he was very close to being at his very best again.”
No, it wasn’t a chokesession not!
According to Walter, neither did the team at all choked not.
It was the Proteas’ fifth defeat in the semi-final of a World Cup tournament and their third play-off defeat in a row against Australia.
“In my opinion means choke to lose a showdown when you were in a position to win. We had to chase the game all the time, but we were able to fight back well later to give ourselves a chance.”
He admits that the South Africans’ initial struggle with the willow batten caused the biggest headache.
“The first 12 overs of our innings were a huge challenge. I think it ended up being the difference between winning and losing.”
Performances of previous Protea captains at World Cups:
- 1992: Kepler Wessels scored 313 runs in eight innings at an average of 44.71.
- 1996: Hansie Cronjé scored 276 runs in six innings at an average of 55.20.
- 1999: Cronjé could only score 98 runs in eight innings at an average of 12.25 in England.
- 2003: Shaun Pollock scored his 71 runs at an average of 17.75, while taking eight wickets at an average of 21.50.
- 2007: Graeme Smith smashed 443 runs in 10 innings at an average of 49.22.
- 2011: Smith scored 300 runs at an average of 26.14 in India.
- 2015: AB de Villiers was one of the tournament’s top run-scorers. He smashed 482 runs at a spectacular average of 96.40.
- 2019: Faf du Plessis was South Africa’s leading run-scorer with his 387 runs at an average of 64.50.