Breetzke, 19, lashes Bangladesh
WHILE Imran Tahir did his best to talk up Bangladesh’s credentials as a one-day side, in Bloemfontein the tourists produced a performance that suggested the scarring from the pounding they’d taken in two Tests was very far from healed.
As the Proteas completed their first training session in Kimberley yesterday, about two hours down the N8, Bangladesh’s nightmare tour continued as they were thumped by an Invitation XI, for whom a teenager, with just nine senior matches to his name, was the star.
Matthew Breetzke, still three weeks shy of his 19th birthday, scored 71 (100b, 9x4) as part of a 147-run opening stand with Aiden Markram, who scored 82 (68b, 8x4, 1x6) as the Invitation side, captained by JP Duminy, chased down a target of 256, with 21 balls to spare, losing just four wickets in the process.
Breetzke, who hails from the Eastern Cape, was one of the standout players in the SA under19 side that lost a five-match series to its West Indies counterparts in July, scoring two centuries and a half-century.
Having suffered defeats by 333 runs and an innings and 254 runs in the Test matches, Bangladesh will be seeking salvation in the ODIs, the first of which will be played in Kimberley on Sunday.
“They are not an easy team,” Tahir said by way of showing them respect.
“They proved that by qualifying for the semi-finals in the Champions Trophy.”
Indeed they did, although they were helped significantly by rain washing away half of their one group match against Australia following which they pulled off a stunning five-wicket win against New Zealand, inspired by centuries from Shakib Al-Hasan and Mahmadullah to qualify for the final four.
Although Shakib is back for the ODIs after opting out of the Test series here, he will have to produce something inspirational to drag his side out of the mire.
Their captain Mushfiqur Rahim cut a disconsolate figure during the Bloemfontein Test, questioning his own ability to inspire his men.
Shakib has also come in for criticism for not playing the Tests, and the ODIs will provide an opportunity for him to silence his many critics.
South Africa will use the series as part of the building ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
He will be 40 when that tournament rolls around, but Tahir wants to be there. He said: “I’d love to be at the World Cup, but I know I will have to keep doing my best and work hard on my fitness.”