Former England allrounder Tom Moody has no doubt South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma’s form is the reason behind the team’s shocking loss to the Netherlands in the ICC T20 World Cup Super-12 match at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday, with the coach-cum-commentator saying the Proteas have had to bench several better players in order to keep him in the eleven.
South Africa had to beat the Dutch to secure a semifinal berth from Group 2 but they fumbled big time to lose by 13 runs.
“Without a doubt. That’s (Bavuma’s form) the elephant in the room. There’s better form players for this format sitting on the bench that should be playing on that side,” Moody said on ESPNcricinfo’s T20 Time Out show.
“That will be a discussion; that has to be a discussion in South Africa’s review because you cannot afford to carry key personnel. Particularly at the top of the order. That is the critical point,” opined the Australian.
Bavuma’s form has been under scrutiny coming into the T20 World Cup, with the top-order batter, who missed the entire preparatory phase due to illness, scoring 635 runs in 33 T20Is at an average of 22.67 and strike rate of 116.08.
He has scored just 70 runs in five innings as an opener. On Sunday he contributed a run-a-ball 20 against the Dutch. Moody, 57, drew similarities between Bavuma and the struggling Australian T20 skipper Aaron Finch, whose side too underperformed in its defence of the T20 World Cup.
“They (Australia) had a similar issue. Once you have one wheel that’s not spinning like it should be spinning, it affects the direction you all go as a unit. That’s what was happening with South Africa. The rest were sort of covering up for a clear deficiency up top.
“We totally respect their situation and what they’re achieving and you have to admire everything that’s happening. But there’s another way you can make up to be more effective with what’s happening at the top of the order,” said Moody.
Former India cricketer Robin Uthappa said Bavuma would be reviewing his career following the loss.
“Knowing Temba as a human being, I know that he’ll be reviewing his own career in T20 cricket very, very seriously after this, because he is a high-quality Test batsman. Very accomplished Test batter. So he’ll probably have a very hard look at his career and which direction it moves forward. And so will South Africa.
“South Africa have only themselves to blame. It was all to play for. Even if you look at the last two overs of the first innings, they (Netherlands) were 127/4 before they got up to their eventual score,” Uthappa said.
Netherlands smashed 31 off the last two overs to finish on 158.