South Africa’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup hang by a thread after a 21 run defeat to Bangladesh at the Oval, posting 309/8 in reply to the Tigers’ 330/6.
After losing to England by 104 runs here on Thursday, the Proteas knew that only a victory, and a commanding one at that, would suffice. As it is, Faf du Plessis and his team run the risk of a premature eviction from the competition.
South Africa were poor on Sunday. An abject display in the field saw half chances put down and too many runs to slip through porous fingers or between flailing limbs. With the ball, they lacked their promised bite as Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi – who had to leave the field with a hamstring injury after four expensive overs – were unable to trouble the Bangladeshi openers with the new ball.
Only Andile Phehlukwayo – 2/52 – and Imran Tahir – 2/57 – can look their captain in the eye and state with confidence that they performed the job asked of them.
Bangladesh posted 330/6 thanks to a third-wicket partnership of 142 between Shakib Al Hasan (75) and Mushfiqur Rahim (78) and a breezy 46 not-out off just 33 balls by Mohammad Mahmudullah.
To win South Africa would have to break a World Cup record for the highest successful run chase. In truth, they were never in it.
Aiden Markram had a day to forget. His indecision led to the run-out of Quinton de Kock (23) in the 10th over and he played all around a straight one from Shakib Al Hasan, bowled for a meandering 45.
Faf du Plessis showed fight with 62 runs but paid the price for forcing the issue when he charged Mehidy Hasan Miraz and was beaten in the flight before being bowled.
Cameos from David Miller (38), Rassie van der Dussen (41) and JP Duminy (45) did little to shift the growing sense of inevitability that there would only be one winner by the close of play.
When Duminy chopped on while hooking at the start of the 48th over, the final nail was hammered into the coffin as far as this match was concerned. Lose against India on Wednesday and the Proteas World Cup aspirations will surely be dead and buried.