'We didn't get enough runs,' says Faf after SA lose first ODI

02 February 2018 - 21:35
By Telford Vice in Cape Town
Captain Faf du Plessis during the press conference following the South African national men's cricket team training session and press conference at SuperSport Park on January 12, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images Captain Faf du Plessis during the press conference following the South African national men's cricket team training session and press conference at SuperSport Park on January 12, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa.

Losing a game is one thing, not seeing the reason why distinctly another. Happily Faf du Plessis had no trouble seeing the elephant in the room after South Africa went down in the first one-day international against India at Kingsmead on Thursday.

“We needed 300,” South Africa captain Du Plessis told reporters. “It’s unfair to say to our bowlers that they were poor — we simply didn’t get enough runs.”

South Africa scored 269/8, which India reeled in with six wickets standing and 5.3 overs remaining.

Du Plessis earned the right to criticise his batsmen by scoring 120 and featuring in all three of South Africa’s half-century stands in an innings in which the next best effort was Chris Morris’ 37.

“For the second-top score to be 30-something shows that there weren’t partnerships, and the most basic thing about one-day cricket is that you need to get two guys batting together to put on some sort of partnership,” Du Plessis said.

The South Africans didn’t need to look further than India’s reply to prove Du Plessis’ theory.

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane shared 189, an Indian record for the third wicket in ODIs against South Africa.

Kohli scored 112, and his 153 in Centurion was the only century made by batsmen in either team during the test series.

“We know he’s the backbone of their batting line-up,” Du Plessis said of his India counterpart.

“If you can get him you can put pressure on the Indians; if he’s there they’re going to have the opportunity to put pressure on our bowlers.”

Kohli’s batting and superb bowling by leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who took five wickets between them in the middle overs of South Africa’s innings, swung the match.

“The Indian spinners bowled well but we should have been better against them,” Du Plessis said.

“That’s when India are at their best, when they can put pressure on you with their spinners, and they did that.”

Importantly Chahal and Yadav outperformed South Africa’s stalwart leg spinner, Imran Tahir, who went wicketless for 51 runs in his 10 overs.

“If Imran bowls well he’s our wicket-taker in the middle [overs]; that’s what their spinners did,” Du Plessis said. “India played him really well.”

Kohli also had praise for his slow poisoners: “They’re playing in South Africa for the first time and they were very brave; they were throwing it up and that’s why they got wickets.

“As a captain it’s outstanding when you have two guys who know what they want to do.”

Knowing what you want to do is one thing, doing it distinctly another.

Du Plessis, Kohli and their teams will have their next chance to do so in the second game of the six-match series in Centurion on Sunday.