At Willowmoore Park
An orange stumbling block? What orange stumbling block?
The Proteas, quite emphatically, brushed off any suggestions that the plucky Netherlands could catch them off-guard again with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory in the second ODI between the two sides here in Benoni on Friday night.
To some, the trauma of last year’s early elimination from the T20 World Cup – when the Dutch shocked their more illustrious opponents in Adelaide – still enjoyed some top-of-mind awareness, but not among the men who mattered.
South Africa’s calmness and efficiency on a day where a dodgy weather forecast added some unnecessary extra tension was notable.
After all, a no-result would’ve, in all likelihood, meant Temba Bavuma and his teammates would have to go to Zimbabwe in June and qualify there for the 50-over showpiece in India later this year.
Instead, they can still breathe going into Sunday’s Pink ODI at the Wanderers.
RECAP | Proteas v Netherlands
Rendering the Proteas’ mindset even more impressive to witness was that they could easily have started becoming frustrated and even panicky when the opening powerplay didn’t quite go according to plan.
Kagiso Rabada and Marco Jansen delivered contrasting spells as the new ball pair as the Netherlands opening pair of Vikram Singh and Max O’Dowd put on 58 in 11 overs.
Rabada cut a frustrated figure as his deliveries did virtually nothing to trouble the openers, which was in stark contrast to the prodigious movement the lanky Jansen received.
The former eventually lost some of his discipline, notably when Singh swung him twice for six over the mid-wicket region, allowing the visitors to absorb the wiles of Jansen, who bowled a superb spell for no reward.
Yet, in a testament to his growing influence, Sisanda Magala provided the magic that shifted the hosts into the pound seats.
After a substandard first over, he returned to strike twice in two overs, including the key wicket of Singh, who was surprised by his bounce after crafting a 53-ball 43. With the introduction of Anrich Nortje’s pace (2/24) seriously discomforting visitors, the Proteas eventual ascendancy allowed Tabraiz Shamsi to regain some confidence.
The wrist spinner admittedly had an undemanding match situation to operate in though he laudably took full advantage. Making full use of his stock leg-break and bowling fuller, he confounded his victims to end with 3/25 off 10 good overs.
Magala also returned to claim his third to finish with 3/37.
For the Dutch, Teja Nidamanuru – despite being hampered by a tight hamstring – showed grit and good technique to make 47, notably hooking Jansen for two sixes in the lanky quick’s seventh over.
The Proteas’ reply exemplified their “aggressive yet clever” mantra. Quinton de Kock threw away his wicket early to a poor sweep shot though it must be said that he was engaged in a mental battle with Dutch skipper Scott Edwards, who packed the off-side field and starved the left-hander of one of his main scoring areas.
However, that would prove to be South Africa’s only real batting hiccup as Temba Bavuma, who was class personified with an unbeaten 90 off 79, first consolidated with Rassie van der Dussen (31) to ensure that the hosts were well ahead of the DLS par score at the 20-over mark.
And when Aiden Markram (51 off 39) joined him at the crease, the pair cut loose with a partnership for an unbeaten partnership of 102 off just 69 deliveries, a stand that will go a long way towards boosting their net run rate too on the Super League table.