Kagiso Rabada's batting success tells of SA's troubles

South Africa players and coaching staff in a team meeting during preparations for the clash against the West Indies.
South Africa players and coaching staff in a team meeting during preparations for the clash against the West Indies.
Image: Cricket SA/Twitter

It says plenty about the state of South Africa’s World Cup campaign that the player topping their batting averages will likely take the new ball against West Indies in Southampton on Monday.

Kagiso Rabada‚ helped by the fact that he has been dismissed only once in three innings‚ averages 55.00 in the tournament.

Or all of 17.34 points better than second-placed Rassie van der Dussen in a side in which Hashim Amla‚ the No. 1-ranked batter in one-day internationals at the end of 2010‚ 2011 and 2012‚ is batting at 9.50.

Rabada also averages better at the World Cup than the current world No.1 — Virat Kohli‚ which will no doubt tickle those still smiling or smarting at the fast bowler’s criticism of the Indian captain’s on-field behaviour — as well as Martin Guptill‚ Steve Smith and Jonny Bairstow.

But Rabada had his priorities straight when he was asked whether sharing a stage with the world’s elite pacemen from other teams made him raise his game.

“Umm … am I focused on their fast bowlers? The batsmen should be focused on their fast bowlers‚" he said.

“I’m focused on their batters because my job is to get their batters out.

“I don’t know‚ what must I think about their bowlers going into the game? I'm not thinking too much about their bowlers. It's not my job to think about their bowlers.

“It’s not … Yeah‚ I’m a bowler.”

Rabada’s relative batting success is not the only stat that helps paint the picture of South Africa’s plight.

Along with World Cup debutants Afghanistan‚ Faf du Plessis’ team are the only sides who have yet to win a game.

The dismal duo duly prop up the bottom of the log‚ with South Africa pipping the minnows and claiming ninth place on the strength of a marginally better net runrate.

So they need a win on Monday‚ and in their other five games‚ to retain real hopes of reaching the semifinals.

The one point earned from a washout on Monday would also suffice‚ and the forecast is for rain.

Lungi Ngidi‚ who missed the match against India on Wednesday with a hamstring strain that limited his involvement in the previous game‚ against Bangladesh‚ to four overs‚ spent most of Sunday’s training session running slowly around the Rose Bowl’s boundary.

That suggests he won’t be part of Monday’s XI.

Du Plessis‚ who received medical treatment on the field after being hit on the right hand by India’s Hardik Pandya‚ took another blow on the same hand during a fielding drill.

Beuran Hendricks‚ a replacement for the injured Dale Steyn‚ then bowled to Du Plessis in the nets and hit him on the injured hand once more.

Du Plessis pulled his hand off the bat and sauntered to the corner of the net for a moment’s solace.

At the other end of the pitch‚ where an umpire might have been‚ Ottis Gibson stood unmoved‚ arms folded across his chest.

Steyn‚ Ngidi‚ and before them Anrich Nortjé …

Was Du Plessis about to lengthen the list of woe?

Long seconds later‚ he took guard and prepared to face the next delivery.

The World Cup‚ and this World Cup in particular‚ is no place for sissies.

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