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Wankhede and South Africa's batting might pose threat to Bangladesh

Last updated on 23 Oct 2023 | 03:23 PM
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Wankhede and South Africa's batting might pose threat to Bangladesh

A win for South Africa will take them to the second spot on the points table while Bangladesh's campaign will be in jeopardy with a fourth straight defeat

Imagine being late for work and then being stuck in a heavy traffic jam. Bangladesh find themselves in a similar position ahead of Match 23. After defeating Afghanistan in their opening fixture, they have lost three in a row, facing heavyweights like England, India and New Zealand. 

With only one win in three games, South Africa is in front of them. Another defeat will diminish their semi-final hopes considerably. The Proteas, meanwhile, are looking to go to the second spot on the table. They suffered a bump against the Netherlands but smashed England all corners, regaining the intimidating look with the bat. They are a behemoth in front of Bangladesh. 

However, they have defeated South Africa twice in World Cups - 2007 and 2019. Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim are the only players to have played both these games. Earlier in 2022, they defeated South Africa 2-1 in a three-match series in the Rainbow nation. These are the events Bangladesh will derive inspiration from. 

The captain of both teams, Shakib and Temba Bavuma missed the previous game. Bangladesh rely heavily on Shakib as he does the job of two players in the XI. His availability will define how far Bangladesh is able to push South Africa or even topple them. On the other hand, the Proteas are not that reliant on their designated skipper. 

Things to watch out for 

Wankhede a mismatch for Bangladesh against powerful Proteas

Spinners have little role to play at the Wankhede stadium. While some pitches have played differently to their established characteristics, Wankhede showed it will stay true to its nature in South Africa’s win over the Proteas. 

It creates a big mismatch for Bangladesh’s bowling plans. They need assistance for their spinners to be effective with the ball. Bangladesh marched into this World Cup with a massive improvement in their pace bowling numbers. But none of it has transpired in the showpiece event. They have the worst bowling average for a pace unit in the tournament. 

The Proteas are loaded with powerful hitters who like the ball coming onto the bat. In their only vulnerability, they have a longer tail than other teams. Thus, new ball wickets are necessary to put South African batters under pressure. In four matches thus far, Bangladesh pacers have struck only once in the first 10 overs. Their bowling coach, Allan Donald, has a big task up his hands while his team takes on his native nation.

In another mismatch, the South African batters are much more competent at power-hitting to complement the conditions at Wankhede. They have amassed a 300+ total six times in their last seven matches, including two 400+ totals. How Bangladesh narrows that gap will be critical to their chances in this fixture. 

Shanto, Hridoy need to step up

Two of Bangladesh’s young guns with the bat have had a poor World Cup thus far. The fact that after only 30 ODIs, he was assigned as the deputy to Shakib Al Hasan speaks for the trust laid in him. Najmul Shanto started with an unbeaten 59 against Afghanistan but has scores of 8, 7, and 0 since then. 

In the middle-order, Towhid Hridoy has fizzled out with scores of 39, 13 and 16. Since 2022, Hridoy has been dismissed 11 times by pace (compared to six times by spinners), and South Africa will pose a challenge for him. 

If Shakib is unavailable, returns from Hridoy and Shanto will become more crucial. The experienced pros, Rahim and Mahmudullah have raised their hands up in tough situations. Litton Das has two fifties in four matches. It is the youngsters who need to fill in the gap. 

Ground Details and Conditions

As mentioned, a typical Wankhede track was offered in Match 20. True bounce, sapping heat, movement under lights and stupendous strokeplay were the traits of the game. In ODIs since 2020, fast bowlers have accounted for 80% of the wickets and have done so at an economy rate of 6.2. The corresponding number for the spinners is 5.9. 

In the last 10 ODIs here, the team chasing has won six times. However, expect the side winning the toss to bat first. 

Tactical Nous

> Since 2021, Rahim averages only 23.9 against left-arm pacers, being dismissed eight times. Marco Jansen thus becomes a good weapon to target Bangladesh’s wicketkeeper. Tackling the great contrast in height will be another challenge for Rahim. 

> Bangladesh are expected to use the off-spin match-up against Quinton de Kock early on with Mehidy Hasan. Since 2022, de Kock has averaged 25.7 against off-break bowlers. In the first 10 overs, it comes down to 20.3. 

Probable XIs


Bangladesh will keep their fingers crossed on Shakib’s fitness. The skipper mentioned he trained on Sunday without any difficulty, so he should be able to get back in the XI after missing the previous fixture against India. Nasum Ahmed may have to make way for him. 

Wankhede track will also demand express pace. Taskin Ahmed still has trouble with his shoulder. That makes a case for Tanzim Hasan’s inclusion at the expense of one of the three pacers. 

Tanzid Hasan, Litton Das, Najmul Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan ( c ), Mehidy Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Towhid Hridoy, Mahmudullah, Mustafizur Rahman, Tanzim Hasan, Shoriful Islam/Hasan Mahmud

South Africa

There is no update on Temba Bavuma. He missed the last game versus England, and Reeza Hendricks, replacing him, scored 85 off 75 balls. Unless Bavuma is 100% fit, South Africa may not find it fitting to play him. 

Quinton de kock (wk), Temba Bavuma/Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram ( c ), Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Gerald Coetzee, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi

*Bavuma leads if he is in the XI

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