Faced with a slightly undercooked Dutch bowling attack, Temba Bavuma has a massive opportunity to get runs under his belt before the Proteas move on to the more established teams, where they will be tested.
TUESDAY’S fixture against the Netherlands is just as important as the first two matches, as it is an opportunity for some Proteas players to refine their form and for the team to maintain momentum going into more challenging fixtures in the latter part of the 50-over World Cup.
Despite the impressive start to the tournament, South Africa still have a long way to go.
They have seven matches remaining and some of them are more daunting than others.
New Zealand, Pakistan and India are promising to bring the Proteas’ rich vein of form with the bat to a halt, purely because of the skill level that these bowling attacks possess.
Trent Boult, Matt Henry, Shaheen Afridi and Jasprit Bumrah are more of a threat than any of the Australian or Sri Lankan quicks, and they are more likely to challenge the Proteas batting unit in ways we have not seen at the World Cup.
Considering this, SA’s fixture against the Dutch carries a bit more weight.
A convincing victory over the Netherlands will certainly put the Proteas in a strong position to qualify for the semi-finals, but most importantly it will help ease the nerves knowing that they have made the most of the fixture when they face stronger teams.
Also, there are one or two players in the Proteas team who are yet to make their presence felt in India. Temba Bavuma is one of those players, having been unable to put together decent scores.
Faced with a slightly undercooked Dutch bowling attack, Bavuma has a massive opportunity to get runs under his belt before they move on to the more established teams, where they will be tested.
A century will help get Bavuma back into his groove after he looked especially troubled in the 134-run victory over Australia last week. Bavuma scored an unconvincing 35, an innings in which he was given multiple lives by a poor fielding display from Australia.
This was as a result of a slight change in his batting stance to better handle the swinging new-ball following his dismissal by left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka in the opening match against Sri Lanka.
The match against the Dutch will provide an opportunity for Bavuma to tighten up his game and get everything in place in time for the backend of the World Cup, a stage where the Proteas will need the captain to stand up and lead from the front.
Depending on the changes that will be made to the playing XI, Gerald Coetzee is another prospect who stands to benefit in Tuesday’s match should he be selected.
He will get valuable experience and also get a chance to up his confidence heading into the big fixtures.
The Proteas will play at the picturesque Dharamsala Stadium from 10.30am.