Left “gutted” after South Africa’s second successive loss, skipper Faf du Plessis says his team will have to come up with a new strategy ahead of the India clash to keep alive their World Cup campaign that has been ravaged by injury woes.
South Africa was handed a massive defeat by hosts England in the tournament opener before they slumped to a 21-run loss against Bangladesh on Sunday.
While veteran pace spearhead Dale Steyn is recovering from a shoulder bruise, the Proteas were dealt a fresh blow when young fast bowler Lungi Ngidi hobbled off the field with a left hamstring injury after bowling only four overs against Bangladesh.
Du Plessis admitted “Plan A is gone” and he faces the herculean task of lifting his team’s spirits ahead of their crucial clash with a formidable Indian side on Wednesday.
“I’ll go back and try and see how we can lift the spirits in the team,” Du Plessis said after the defeat.
“We’re playing a strong team in India, and as a team, we know we’re not good enough at the moment and we have to turn it around.”
With Ngidi leaving the field after bowling just four overs, du Plessis was left with fewer options as Bangladesh hit South Africa all over the park to amass their highest ODI total of 330 for 6.
In reply, South Africa ended with a score of 309 for eight.
“I’m extremely disappointed. Gutted to say that all formats of our game are just not firing at the moment.
To blame bad luck is not an option for me,” du Plessis said.
“Our plan was to try and make sure that we target them (both Bangladesh and England) with aggressive bowling.”
South Africa is also missing the services of pacer Anrich Nortje, who was ruled out of the World Cup in May due to a fracture in his right thumb.
“Plan A is gone because Plan A was those main bowlers playing together. They haven’t played a game together on this tour,” he said.
“Initially, Plan B was Anrich Nortje as an extra pace bowler that we had lined up for if we had an injury, to have another X-factor bowler that can bowl 145kmh-plus. He got injured, as well.
“If Anrich was here, you could say, ‘listen, Dale, it’s getting to that time now where you need to play or we need to substitute you.’ But now we have got two or three down.”
The absence of their three main pacers has left the South African bowling unit gasping for air.
“So now you’re moving into your all-rounder territory. You have two medium pace all-rounders and then you have Chris Morris that sits in between your fast bowlers and your medium pace bowlers,” said the 34-year-old.
“It’s reshuffling all our cards and see how best we can deal with it. So now we have to really look at what we can do to try to be effective; is it playing all-rounders together, do we play two spinners.”