South Africa’s bowlers were unable to create chances.
South Africa will look to bounce back in the second ODI on Saturday.
Australia was at 113 for 7 in the first One-Day International against South Africa, who were well on their way to defending a below-par 222, but an unbroken 112-run combination between Marnus Labuschagne (who was substituted due to a concussion) and No. 8 Ashton Agar let Australia romp to an easy victory.
Bavuma was frustrated with his team’s inability to get rid of the Australian tail, even though he missed the majority of Australia’s chase while recuperating from a cramp he sustained while batting.
“If you get a team in that position, you expect yourself to be able to clean out the game,” he said afterwards. “We speak about being relentless. When you get given a sniff against a team like Australia, you’ve got to take it. If the situations were reversed, they would have prided themselves on cleaning up the game.”
South Africa’s offensive performance has struggled previously in this new season. They were unable to hold on to 190 in the third T20I on Sunday after giving up a huge 226 to Australia in the opening T20I last Wednesday.
The two white-ball formats should be judged differently, according to Bavuma, because they have “different personnel,” yet there are some issues that both formats share. Both series included Lungi Ngidi and Gerald Coetzee, and South Africa’s determination on using just one seam-bowling all-rounder, Marco Jansen for ODIs, makes their resources appear limited if something goes wrong.
Bavuma took cautious not to be overly harsh and thinks that after almost five months of inactivity for the national team, there is still some rust to shake off. “We will get better,” he said. “These are world-class players we have in the team. We don’t expect them to keep making the same mistakes.”
When asked what he believed precisely went wrong in the first ODI, when he was not present to direct his attack and the T20I captain Aiden Markram handled it in his place, Bavuma tried to avoid answering directly but did make one accurate comment. “It was just our inability to create chances in that innings. I would have encouraged the bowlers to use their bouncer a bit more,” he said.
Three of South Africa’s 10 wickets fell to short balls, and three of Australia’s seven wickets did the same on an exceptionally slow Bloemfontein pitch with inconsistent bounce. South Africa barely bowled towards the end of Australia’s innings and allowed the match to dribble to its predictable finish.
But to claim that’s where the game was lost would be inaccurate. The contrasting powerplays, in which Australia scored 69 for 4 and South Africa scored 25 for 1, respectively, were what set the tone for the subsequent innings. Bavuma said that it took his bowlers too long to determine their lengths. “The first ten overs weren’t great. We managed to get wickets, but at what cost? That’s just a mis-execution thing. If you look at our first ten overs versus theirs first ten overs, it was chalk and cheese,” he said.
Bavuma is not overly concerned about what it implies since South Africa has now lost four straight games to Australia. He said, “We’ve lost one ODI game,” he said. “There’s no use referencing the T20s as that’s different personnel. We weren’t good enough and we need to find ways to improve our game holistically. We will challenge ourselves to get better.”
He also downplayed concerns about his own fitness after receiving treatment while batting and sitting out the majority of Australia’s innings. “My hammie (hamstring) felt a bit tight but I think I will be fine.”
On Saturday, Bloemfontein will host the second game of the series.