When Bangladesh arrived for their full series tour to South Africa in September, there was little to suggest that the matches would be one-sided affairs, especially considering the visitors’ recent form in limited overs.
After conceding the Test (0-2) and One-Day International series (0-3), one would have expected that a change in format would also bring a change in fortunes for Bangladesh. However, there was no reversal of script despite an improved batting effort as Bangladesh went down by 20 runs in the first Twenty20 International.
Their tour comes a full circle in the second and final T20I on Sunday (October 29) in Potchefstroom, the same venue where they began the series and lost the first Test by 333 runs.
On Friday, in pursuit of 196, Bangladesh needed one of their experienced middle-order batsmen – Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman or Mahmudullah – to take them over the line, but none of them could deliver.
South Africa: JP Duminy (capt), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), AB de Villiers, Robbie Frylinck, Beuran Hendricks, David Miller, Mangaliso Mosehle, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Mominul Haque, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah, Liton Das (wk), Nasir Hossain, Mehedi Hassan, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Mohammad Saifuddin.
Bangladesh have struggled against extra pace and the short ball on this tour, and their travails continued in the opening T20I too when South Africa’s four-pronged pace attack, that included debutant Robbie Frylinck, combined to keep them to 175 for 9.
It didn’t help that, they missed Tamim Iqbal, who is nursing a thigh injury, and Mustafizur Rahman, who has been Bangladesh’s proven match-winner in the shorter formats, is out due to an ankle injury.
For their part, South Africa have ticked most boxes throughout the series, and even in the absence of the injured Faf du Plessis, their regular captain, who withdrew from the T20I series after sustaining a lower back injury in the final ODI. JP Duminy, standing in for du Plessis, promoted himself up the order but couldn’t do much with the bat.
South Africa’s formidable total was set up by Quinton de Kock’s brisk half-century, and his 79-run stand with AB de Villiers, who made a quickfire 49. But it was their relatively inexperienced bowling attack that did well to maintain a stranglehold on the Bangladesh lineup.
Both Wayne Parnell and Morne Morkel are injured, and Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada have been rested. It was a good chance for South Africa to experiment and test their bench strength. Their new-look attack didn’t disappoint – Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Beuran Hendricks and Frylinck picked up two wickets each to keep Bangladesh down.
The hosts will look to maintain their unbeaten streak and end the series with another sweep. Despite bruising victories in the Tests and ODIs, it was the first time in four weeks that Bangladesh put up some fight, they might take some heart from that and try to snap their winless streak on Sunday.