Rain, over-rate management threats to Proteas’ World Cup qualification

30 March 2023 - 16:42
By Stuart Hess
The Proteas have embraced the new aggressive style, believing it holds the key to success in the limited-overs formats, says Quinton de Kock.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images The Proteas have embraced the new aggressive style, believing it holds the key to success in the limited-overs formats, says Quinton de Kock.

Enough water has flowed under the bridge that South Africa’s T20 World Cup defeat to the Netherlands in Adelaide no longer causes sleepless nights among the players.

Instead, it serves as a point of warning. The Proteas already know they can ill-afford to take their foot off the pedal after a couple of weeks of high-octane performances against the West Indies, where results didn’t always go in their favour, but a relaxed and fun attitude illustrated a new spirit and their embracing of a fresh style. 

“We are pretty much the same, maybe slightly better,” was how Quinton de Kock described the change in the national team since that November 6 meltdown in the final World Cup group match in Adelaide against the Dutch.

That loss, the first suffered by a South African team against the Netherlands, cost the Proteas a spot in the semifinal of that tournament. “It was just a really bad day for us as players, it was sad it had to be that game,” De Kock said.

There’s been no talk of revenge from the Proteas camp because that would be plain silly, especially given what is already on the line in the two matches against the Dutch, on Friday at Willowmoore Park in Benoni and Sunday at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

Victory in both should secure automatic qualification for the World Cup in India later this year and will mean they avoid a potentially tricky pre-qualifying competition in Zimbabwe in June. “I’m going to do my absolute best not to go to Zim for the qualifier, I’m pretty sure that’s the case for the other guys,” De Kock said.

The Proteas have clearly stated their intent with their selection, with all the household names available for the series and the likes of De Kock, Kagiso Rabada and David Miller all putting their Indian Premier League (IPL) participation on hold to face the Netherlands.

Not everything is in the players’ control; the weather forecast for Friday is concerning, with rain predicted for most of the afternoon. Willowmoore Park too, has had its challenges with drainage over the years and everyone will hope there is sufficient time to ensure the match can conclude.

If that doesn’t transpire, South Africa risk earning just five points out of the 10 on offer for a win, which would open the door for Ireland, who face Bangladesh in three ODIs in May, to sneak into one of the top eight Super League spots. 

We got a bit of a slap on the wrist. It's not too big of an issue. It’s a controllable thing.
De Kock

One aspect under the players’ control is the time in which they must bowl their overs. Any breach of the three-and-a-half-hour time limit could see the Proteas docked a Super League  point by the ICC, as happened in the last ODI against England in Kimberley in February.

“Rob [Walter] has told the boys to make sure it doesn't happen again,” De Kock said. “We got a bit of a slap on the wrist.

“It's not too big of an issue. It’s a controllable thing. It’s just about getting out there and hustling, it’s a quick fix, there’s nothing too stressful about it.”

South Africa captain Temba Bavuma, who had to leave Thursday’s training session early to deal with a family emergency, did pass his fitness test beforehand. He missed the last ODI against the West Indies after picking up a hamstring injury, while making a century in East London three days earlier. 


South Africa: Temba Bavuma (capt),  Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Marco Jansen, Bjorn Fortuin, Sisanda Magala, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortjé, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Reeza Hendricks.

Netherlands: Scott Edwards (capt), Wesley Barresi, Tom Cooper, Aryan Dutt, Vivian Kingma, Fred Klaasen, Ryan Klein, Musa Ahmed, Teja Nidamanuru, Max O’ Dowd, Shariz Ahmad, Paul van Meekeren, Vikramjit Singh