South Africa can still challenge despite opening loss - Jacques Kallis
Jacques Kallis reflects on South Africa’s first match defeat against England in their first match at the Oval and their upcoming encounter with Bangladesh on Sunday.
It was never going to be easy playing England in the very first game, but I’ve seen nothing to change my mind that South Africa can go deep in this tournament.
They will be hard on themselves when they look back on the game, there were too many soft dismissals for my liking, but there was nothing wrong with their performance that cannot be rectified.
This format allows you to make a slower start, it’s a long tournament and playing everyone evens things out in the end.
Having three games in six days has pros and cons – with the Dale Steyn injury they’d have probably wanted a bit more space between them.
But it also gives them the chance to establish some early momentum. When you’ve lost, you want to get straight back out there as soon as possible and it’s great they’ve got Bangladesh on Sunday.
Get a win there, and they will rightly go in as big favourites, and they will go into the match with India with their confidence up and then they’ve got a good few days to recover.
They didn’t let England have it all their own way. It was obviously a massive toss to win and throwing the spinner the ball was the perfect start.
This England side doesn’t fold easily and after Jonny Bairstow went, they never panicked, dug in and played some really good cricket.
In the past, you might have seen England struggle, but they are a powerful unit and that performance was a very good sign for them.
Obviously, Ben Stokes’s catch will get the headlines and rightly so, it was absolutely magnificent, one that will certainly live long in the memory.
I thought Faf du Plessis made some really good bowling choices and the variations they bowled were pretty good, I think England would have considered themselves 20 short in a perfect world, which is a positive for us.
South Africa were well in the game for the first 20 overs of their response but losing Hashim Amla was a big blow. They’ll be pretty hard on themselves with some of those soft wickets they gave away after that.
England’s progress since the last ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup has been unbelievable – where they have come from to now is incredible and down to the hard work they’ve put in.
They’ve won here but the pressure of being favourites will only increase with every match.
They are a pretty fearless team, but it will be interesting to see if they carry on playing the way they have been with that freedom, especially as the tournament gets more tense.
I think they will they believe in their abilities, but it will be interesting to see how they adapt if things don’t go their way – and that can always happen in a World Cup.