In East London
- Proteas ODI skipper Temba Bavuma said the middle order's inexperience was exposed in their 48-run loss to the West Indies on Saturday.
- Bavuma and Quinton de Kock made runs at the top, but there was minimal from a middle order that contained three debutants.
- Bavuma said they want to focus on the Windies engagements before they dealt with the Netherlands month-end.
Proteas ODI leader Temba Bavuma said their mini batting collapses that saw them lose the second ODI against the West Indies on Saturday were down to a lack of experience and praised his counterpart Shai Hope's excellent batting.
Hope constructed a well-paced 128 not-out off 115 balls that allowed the Windies to make 335/8, their highest ODI score against South Africa.
Where Hope had support for the better part of his 14th ODI ton, Bavuma fought alone, and the fact SA still have a fair allotment of balls left spoke to the inexperience in handling what was a tall chase.
SA scored the second-highest total batting second at Buffalo Park, but it wasn't enough for them to avoid losing to the West Indies for the second time in three completed matches.
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Bavuma had positives he took out of the defeat, but looked more at the lessons learned by the quartet of debutants SA fielded.
Tristan Stubbs, Gerald Coetzee, Ryan Rickelton and Tony de Zorzi all made their debuts on Saturday.
"If I can look at the batting, you don't want to be losing three quick wickets because that's criminal in a run chase," Bavuma said.
"We lost those wickets in the middle period, and I think that broke our momentum, so that's definitely where I'll be looking at from a batting perspective.
"From a bowling perspective, it was just adapting to the game plans and the conditions a lot better, but a guy like Hope, he batted well.
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"I don't think he mistimed a shot and he really put our guys under pressure, but it's a big learning curve for the guys.
"I hope they can keep getting opportunities like these and hone their skills because there's other place to learn like international cricket."
Bavuma said the West Indies series, despite Saturday's defeat, was the perfect opportunity to give fringe players a run.
The West Indies ODI series concludes on Tuesday in Potchefstroom, followed by three T20s and, over the last weekend of March, the two critical ODIs against the Netherlands that form part of the World Cup qualifiers.
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"It's two-fold because it's also about giving the young guys an opportunity and getting them accustomed to this level and the pressure that comes with playing at this level," Bavuma said.
"At the same time, it's about us refining our way of playing, challenging ourselves and making sure we keep making the right decisions.
"It's not our full-strength side and the Netherlands is a couple of weeks away, but that'll sort itself out."