Proteas' CWC dream faces crisis after Bangladesh disaster

Faf du Plessis (Getty)
Faf du Plessis (Getty)

London - South Africa are on the ropes at the 2019 Cricket World Cup just one week into their campaign after losing by 21 runs against Bangladesh at The Oval on Sunday. 

It leaves Faf du Plessis and his men, who now have two losses from two, with a mountain to climb if they are to challenge for a place in the semi-finals. 

The Proteas let themselves down with the ball, conceding 330/6 having won the toss and fielding first, and while they gave themselves a chance in the run chase, they simply had too much to do as they finished 309/8

It is another famous win for Bangladesh and the second time they have beaten the Proteas at a World Cup following their triumph in Guyana in 2007. 

If South Africa had won, it would have been the highest ever successful run chase at a World Cup. 

While Faf du Plessis (62 off 53), Rassie van der Dussen (41 off 38), Aiden Markram (45 off 56) and David Miller (38 off 43) all got in and threatened to get South Africa over the line, nobody could kick on. 

It is a devastating result for South Africa, who must now ready themselves for a daunting clash against India in Southampton on Wednesday. 

To make matters worse, the Proteas are riddled with injuries and on Sunday lost fast bowler Lungi Ngidi to a hamstring strain after just four overs. 

While that was unfortunate, it can't excuse the rest of a bowling performance that saw the Proteas dish up 12 wides on the day having been incredibly inconsistent with their lengths. 

Chris Morris (2/73 in 10) and Kagiso Rabada (0/57 in 10) were particularly disappointing, while Markram (0/38 in 5) and JP Duminy (0/10 in 1) also had to share a fair bit of bowling because of Ngidi's injury. 

The fielding, too, was not up to standard and it all contributed towards a bowling performance to forget. 

Set 331 for victory, South Africa knew that they would have to bat incredibly well to secure the victory.

With Hashim Amla out injured, Markram was elevated to the top of the order and together with Quinton de Kock he got the Proteas off to a solid start. 

In the 10th over, though, a moment of madness from Markram cost De Kock his wicket. 

Off-spinner Mehidy Miraz had beaten De Kock, and the ball spilled behind the stumps as wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim failed to gather it cleanly. 

There was never a run on and De Kock called 'no' immediately, but Markram panicked and set off for the single before changing his mind half way down the track. 

It was a calamitous moment for the Proteas as De Kock went, stopped, turned and looked on helplessly as his stumps were shattered by Rahim.  

With De Kock out for 23 and South Africa 49/1, Markram needed to kick on and finally play an innings of substance. 

As has so often been the case in his ODI career so far, Markram looked incredibly comfortable at the crease and together with Faf du Plessis he put on 53 for the second wicket as South Africa got their noses ahead in the chase. 

Then, when he was on 45, Markram played all around an arm ball from Shakib-Al-Hasan to be clean bowled. 

Du Plessis was joined by Miller, who was a somewhat surprising choice at No 4, and the captain began to accelerate in an effort to take the game forward. 

Du Plessis was in superb touch, finding the fence with an array of shots, but he tried one too many when he came dancing down the track to Miraz only to not get to the pitch of a ball that turned and went crashing into leg stump. 

When Du Plessis was out for 62 off 53, the Proteas were 147/3 with it all to do. 

There was resistance once more as Miller and Van de Dussen then shared a 55-run stand. 

Going into the last 15 overs, South Africa needed 130 runs to win and had two set batsmen. When Miller (38 off 43) got a leading edge to backward point off speedster Mustafizur Rahman, though, South Africa found themselves with their backs against the wall once more.  

Van der Dussen was then clean bowled trying to launch Mohammad Saifuddin over mid-wicket, and in that moment and already unlikely victory for South Africa began to look highly improbable. 

Andile Phehlukwayo was out caught for 8, which brought Morris to the crease.

Duminy (45 off 37) and Morris (10 off 10) tried to deliver something special, but with each passing over the inevitability of defeat grew stronger. 

It will go down as one of the Proteas' darkest days at a World Cup, and it was a performance fitting of that title. 

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ...

Scores in brief:

Bangladesh 330/6 (Rahim 78, Shakib 75, Mahmadullah 46*, Phehlukwayo 2/52, Tahir 2/57)

South Africa 309/8 (Du Plessis 62, Markram 45, Duminy 45 Van der Dussen 41)

bangladesh won by 21 runs

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