Resurgent SA – Moving towards greener pastures!!!
South Africa emerged victorious against Australia in the recently concluded limited-overs series. It was a welcome sign for the new SA team who had a turbulent time on and off the field in recent times. The appointment of the new CSA Director in the form of Graeme Smith, Mark Boucher as the new coach, and Quinton De Kock as the new ODI captain - a lot of things were happening in the South African cricket in the last few months. May be those changes infused much-needed spirit and energy into the dressing room, which was missing for the past one year. Then came the Australian limited-overs series. The former skipper Du Plessis was rested, which allowed some young guns to shine at the bigger stage. The list included two debutants J Malan, K Verreynne as well. It was a robust Aussie side with power-packed performers, and everyone expected them to roll over the relatively inexperienced SA side. But they were whitewashed entirely, and the scorecard read 3-0 in favor of the South Africans. Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images It was a collective effort from the SA side as there were many contributors to the series victory. Henrich Klassen was making a comeback to the squad after a while. He stood out with the bat, and he amassed humongous 242 runs in 3 ODIs with two half-centuries and an unbeaten century to his name. He played shots all around the ground and was striking at a rate of more than 100, and he won the Man of the Series rightly. J Malan scored his maiden ODI hundred and helped SA chase out the target with ease by staying unbeaten in the second ODI. As a result, he got the ticket to board the flight for the Indian tour. JJ Smuts also contributed in the third ODI and helped SA chase down the target effortlessly. There were some noteworthy contributions from the debutant K Verreynne as well throughout the series. Miller was also involved in some healthy partnerships during the middle overs and played the role of an apt finisher. This side was able to put good scores and chase down the targets even without a reasonable contribution from their captain, who had a poor outing in this series. This performance shows the character of the team and the skills of the new players. On the bowling side, Ngidi, who returned during the England series after being out with an injury, was the star performer. He topped the charts with excellent returns picking up nine wickets at an average of 9.78. Nortje also was among the wickets with a tally of 6, picking up some crucial ones in the middle overs. Shamsi and Phehlukwayo also played their parts by picking up wickets at regular intervals. The absence of Rabada did not affect the performance, and the bowling department rose to the occasion whenever the team demanded. The rise of colored players in the bowling ranks gives SA various options to play with and form a better team composition adhering to the quota policy as well. It was not the case in the past year, which prevented the team from having the right set of players. This victory marked the first series win for the SA side under Mark Boucher. It is the start of an era; hence it is more than a mere series victory. Beating a world-class Australian side comprehensively is a great achievement, and it possibly lays the foundation for many more to come. The next challenge this team faces is the mighty Indian side in their backyard. They were successful during the last ODI series on the Indian soil and won the series 3-2 thanks to the pyro techniques of AB de Villiers. They would like to reiterate the same this time with this crop of young players. With Du Plessis back in the side adding experience to this young and energetic squad, the SA team will look to keep the winning momentum after beating the Aussies. Hopefully, they prove to be a tough challenge for the Indian side in the upcoming limited-overs series About the Author The post is written by Aravind . Aravind is a graduate from IIM Visakhapatnam and an avid cricket enthusiast. He follows the game with great passion. More than mere watching, he likes to analyze the game deeply and write blogs.