Proteas down­graded af­ter lat­est rat­ings

With the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy now a thing if the past for South Africa, we look back at the tour­na­ment per­for­mances of each player dur­ing their ill-dated Group B fix­tures and find their ef­forts were close to junk

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - LUN­GANI ZAMA LON­DON

1 AB de Vil­liers: He came into the tour­na­ment feel­ing bullish about the team’s chances, but that op­ti­mism proved des­per­ately mis­guided. Looked like a man un­der pres­sure and his lack of runs and dy­namism in the mid­dle-or­der hurt the team. Looked in omi­nous touch on Sun­day, but his run-out summed up what he still sym­bol­ises in the team. Ques­tions per­sist about him be­ing the right man to lead the side. It’s a ques­tion he may do well to ask him­self over the win­ter, as he now has just one, big tour­na­ment left in him. 2 out of 10 2 Quin­ton de Kock: The keeper/bats­man came into the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy in good touch, and was ex­pected to show the form that cul­mi­nated in him be­ing ICC ODI Player of the Year. Given his record against sub-con­ti­nent teams, a re­turn of one, stut­ter­ing half-cen­tury us a poor re­turn. He looked to be play­ing un­der in­struc­tions against In­dia, which goes against ev­ery­thing that he brings to the ta­ble. His keep­ing re­mains in per­fect work­ing or­der. 4 3 Hashim Amla: He started the tour with the as­sur­ance of old, driv­ing and flick­ing his way to 7000 ODI runs in record time. With that plat­form for the sum­mer, and then the cen­tury against Sri Lanka, it looked as if he was the rock upon which many a vic­tory would be built once more. How­ever, the open­ing game was as good as it got. He and De Kock al­ways set the tone, and they got their rhythm all wrong against In­dia, start­ing too slowly, and al­low­ing the op­po­si­tion to dic­tate. He is another who will know that the end is a lot closer than the be­gin­ning. 5

4 Faf du Plessis: Another who would ad­mit that his run re­turn didn’t do jus­tice to the form. Du Plessis has been tasked with a two-fold role at No 3: con­sol­i­date in the face of early set­backs, or go through the gears if the game is set up. He did that against Sri Lanka at a the Oval, his 75 go­ing a long way to eas­ing ten­sion and se­cur­ing an open­ing win. How­ever, his tour­na­ment will be re­mem­bered for two run-outs he was a part of against In­dia. Du Plessis is the sup­posed peo­ple’s favourite to cap­tain in all for­mats, but he needs to show his own calm when un­der the pump. 3 5 JP Du­miny: Another mea­gre re­turn from a man whose tal­ent is clearly ap­par­ent. Du­miny’s 38 not out against Sri Lanka was use­ful. How­ever, the na­tion was ready to over­look dozens of false Du­miny dawns, if he de­liv­ered just one para­chute job against Pak­istan or In­dia. None came forth. Had Rilee Ros­souw not been a turn­coat, Du­miny would surely have been

benched, and he must be a con­cerned man about his fu­ture, be­cause there are young men knock­ing on the door. 2/10.

6 David Miller: Long ac­knowl­edged as a blaster of the sin­cer­est qual­ity, he re­vealed another side to his game against Pak­istan. Given the cir­cum­stances, his half-cen­tury was worth three fig­ures to his team. He showed re­straint and even rel­ish for a task that was as close to Test cricket as he has come. As all else fell around him, he stood firm. How­ever, that same com­po­sure went walk­a­bout against In­dia, when he charged off for a sin­gle only he could ex­plain. That howler af­fected him on the field that day, as he also let through some reg­u­la­tion stops. 6 7 Chris Mor­ris: The team’s main all­rounder was solid. His bowl­ing, which is his main gig, still lacks con­trol at times, though he does have the happy knack of tak­ing wick­ets. With the bat, he found him­self in far sooner than he is ac­cus­tomed to, though he did have stout sup­port to Miller against Pak­istan. He re­mains one of the real ef­fort-men in the side, al­ways chirp­ing, al­ways hop­ing. It’s no bad thing. 5

8 Wayne Par­nell: The sec­ond com­ing by the left-armer seemed to be on track against Eng­land at Lord’s, but he lost the radar again soon af­ter. Along with Du­miny, he must rate as one of South African cricket’s great mys­ter­ies; a man of con­sid­er­able tal­ent, but only shows it in patches. Hard to say where he goes next, be­cause there have been plenty of chances to im­merse him­self as the new-ball guy. Showed noth­ing with the bat, pour­ing fur­ther scorn on the claim of four all­rounder op­tions in the squad. 2

9 Kag­iso Rabada: Came into the tour­na­ment as top bowler in the world, and was largely treated as such by the op­po­si­tion. That re­spect meant not too many risks be­ing taken with the young tear­away, but he will be dis­ap­pointed that he didn’t strike more of­ten. Bowled with real gas at times, but his stan­dards are such that he would want that to trans­late to wick­ets. Con­tin­ues to show prom­ise with the bat, and must be en­cour­aged in that sense. May well be el­e­vated into that “all­rounder” claims depart­ment soon. 5

10 Morne Morkel: He’s back. Af­ter the in­juries, the lay-off, and the doubts about the fu­ture, Morkel ran in like the wind and was the hand­ful of old. His open­ing spell against Pak­istan nearly snatched a game that the Proteas didn’t de­serve, and they may well rue not bowl­ing Morkel through on that oc­ca­sion. His pace was up, his length fuller, and fin­gers will be crossed that he main­tains all that and fit­ness for the Test se­ries. He re­mains as the most ex­pe­ri­enced bowler in the squad, and he played like it. South Africa’s one bright bit of news from a grim tour­na­ment. 7

11 Im­ran Tahir: Bril­liant against Sri Lanka, bub­bled over against Pak­istan, and never gave up against In­dia. How SA wish Tahir was 28, not 38, be­cause he plays with enough de­sire to charge up a power-sta­tion. Tahir loves tak­ing wick­ets for his coun­try, and he did so against Sri Lanka, to fin­ish off a game that was not as straight­for­ward as the fi­nal re­sult sug­gested. Pos­si­bly tried too hard against Pak­istan but his field­ing that day was such a rev­e­la­tion that his na­tive coun­try­men couldn’t recog­nise him. Never had enough runs to play with against In­dia, but he scrapped to the bit­ter end. More men of his ilk are needed. 6 12 Andile Phehluk­wayo: Young­ster of much po­ten­tial re­placed Par­nell for the fi­nal game, which was a tough bap­tism of fire against In­dia. Looked nervy with the bat. On the field, he was fairly solid, but was beaten by the bounce on the fence, to the de­light of the In­dian rev­ellers be­hind him. With ball in hand, he held his nerve against a ram­pant Kohli, and very nearly had him caught at slip. Wold have learnt plate­fuls from the ex­pe­ri­ence, and will go again. 4 Ke­shav Ma­haraj, Dwaine Pre­to­rius and Farhaan Be­har­dien did not play a game.

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