“Without a doubt. That’s [Bavuma’s form] the elephant in the room. There’s better form players for this format sitting on the bench that should be playing on that side,” Moody said on ESPNcricinfo’s T20 Time Out show. “That will be a discussion, that has to be a discussion in South Africa’s review because you cannot afford to carry key personnel. Particularly at the top of the order. That is the critical point.”
“They [Australia] had a similar issue. Once you have one wheel that’s not spinning like it should be spinning, it affects the direction you all go as a unit. That’s what was happening with South Africa. The rest were sort of covering up for a clear deficiency up top.
“We totally respect their situation and what they’re achieving and you have to admire everything that’s happening. But there’s another way you can make up to be more effective with what’s happening at the top of the order.”
Moody and Uthappa said South Africa’s defeat to Netherlands was their biggest stumble – and there have been several in the past – in a big tournament.
“South Africa have only themselves to blame. It was all to play for. Even if you look at the last two overs of the first innings, they [Netherlands] were 127/4 before they got up to their eventual score,” Uthappa said.
Netherlands hit 31 off the final two overs to finish on 158.
“Even that was achievable,” Uthappa said. “All you had to do was bat sensibly, have wickets at the top in the back 10 irrespective of any situation. You want your main batters batting at the end. There was no proper batter for South Africa in the last four overs which is why they find themselves short.”
Moody was critical of South Africa’s bowling performance after they had won the toss in Adelaide. “At the end of the day, the way South Africa went about their business today, they’ve only got themselves to blame. They bowled poorly. They didn’t assess the conditions with the ball. They didn’t take advantage of a surface that was clearly wearing a little bit and just holding a bit. And the discipline obviously at the back end, with the ball.
“And their batsmen got in. A lot of their batsmen got in, they got starts. But who’s going to put their hand up? No one put their hand up after getting those important starts,” Moody said. “We’ve seen it before with South Africa, but I think this is probably going to take first place with regards to their stumbles in these events.”
South Africa have often been called “chokers” for losing key matches from winning positions in big tournaments. “You can’t blame them for everyone calling them chokers because they’ve done this to themselves in this situation,” Uthappa said. “When we’ve all believed and all felt that they have come past that situation, come a big stage, they have done the same thing all over again.”
Uthappa said their batters did not play to potential, which would have been enough in this situation. “This is by far the worst. You just have to play to potential. All their batters have gotten off to starts. But not one of them put their hand up and completed the innings. Even if they played at just run-a-ball, exactly like Ben Stokes did last evening, if they had done that, they would have gone through.”