Having easily gotten the better of Bangladesh in the first one-dayer, it seemed South Africa might not struggle as much as the Asian sides who visited the country before them did. However, Bangladesh reaffirmed their ever-growing stature at home with an superlative show, especially with the ball. After their batting let them down in the first game, Bangladesh fought back hard and gave South Africa a dose of their own medicine in the second match. It was an imperious effort during which Bangladesh never allowed the Proteas any chance, and rightfully took the team into the decider.
While Bangladesh put up yet another highly commendable effort, it must be said that South Africa's batting let them down. It was an extremely poor batting show from the Proteas. It wasn't as if South Africa have arrived in Bangladesh with a weak batting line up. In fact, apart from AB de Villiers all their star performers are present. And yet, they put up a disappointing score on the board, again indication how heavily they depend on their regular skipper. In de Villiers' absence, the batting lacked punch at Mirpur. They will definitely have to turn things around if they harbour hopes of winning the series against the buoyant hosts.
There was a pattern to South Africa's batting in the second game that was most unacceptable, and eventually, was responsible for their loss. A number of their batsmen got into the 20s and 30s, but everytime it seemed a batsman had got his eye in, a wicket would fall. As a result, South Africa failed to get any momentum on the board. Hashim Amla was expected to lead from the front in the absence of de Villiers, but he has failed in both the matches. A lot was expected of Quinton de Kock, and while he got runs without much pressure in the opening game, he faltered under pressure in the second.
Primarily, it was South Africa's middle-order that let them down on Sunday. Faf du Plessis got a start, but did not carry on. Rilee Rossouw, David Miller and JP Duminy all failed to rise to the occasion, and by the time Farhaan Behardein got some runs, it was too late for South Africa to recover. The Proteas showed some fight early on with the ball, as Kagiso Rabada again troubled them. But, once the Bangladesh batsmen got their eye in, the lack of runs to defend came to the fore.
Bangladesh, in contrast to South Africa, will be extremely pleased with their all-round effort. With the ball, Mustafizur Rahman and Nasir Hossain combined brilliantly to rattle the South African batting with great help from Rubel Hossain. Mashrafe Mortaza and Shakib Al Hasan used their experience, and were economical. With the bat, Soumya Sarkar displayed his talent, flaying the South African bowling in spite of losing early wickets. Mahmudullah's half-century was an added positive to Bangladesh's list.
--By A Cricket Analyst