Having beaten India and Pakistan at home, Bangladesh were keen to get the better of South Africa as well. Things did not begin well for them in the series, as they were thrashed in the opening match, but Bangladesh fought back exceedingly well in the second match to square the series. They, thus had the momentum going into the decider. And, Bangladesh ensured they did not allow the advantage to slip away, coming up with a fantastic bowling effort. Bowling first has been a plus for teams in the series, and while the hosts were lucky in that aspect, to their credit they made full use of the conditions.
The series was won by Bangladesh, as much by their bowling, as it was lost by South Africa's listless batting. Like in the previous game, the Bangladesh bowlers never allowed South Africa to build any sort of pressure, as a result of which, the visitors were always on the back foot. All the Bangladesh bowlers, pacers and spinners, chipped in to forever trouble the clueless Proteas. Of course, it is a fact Bangladesh had a distinct advantage since they were playing at home, and exploited the conditions nicely, knowing very well how to do the same.
All the Bangladesh bowlers deserve credit for yet another memorable series win for the hosts. Mustafizur Rahman may not have picked up as many wickets as in the India series, but he was no less effective, troubling opponents with his pace and variations. He picked up key scalps in the decider as well. Shakib Al Hasan, once again, exposed South Africa's weakness against slow bowling. Proteas' struggles against spin are well documented, and Shakib used the surface to make things tougher for South Africa. Rubel Hossain continued to be a wicket-taking weapon, even as Mashrafe Mortaza kept things tight.
If you take away from the first game, things were easier for Bangladesh's batsmen. But, they too must be credited for the comprehensive victory. Like in the last match, Soumya Sarkar again came up with a brilliant counter-attacking knock. He was very well supported by the other experienced opener Tamim Iqbal, as Bangladesh coasted to victory. Had they lost a few wickets, Bangladesh could have huffed and puffed to victory. Instead, they ensured, it was a smooth performance. South Africa did not help their cause with an inefficient bowling performance.
While South Africa's bowling was disappointing, it was their batting that clearly let them down. In the last two games, the Proteas have failed to cross 200, resulting in the forgettable series loss. The seniors in the team as well as the youngsters let the team down. Skipper Hashim Amla was a big flop throughout the series, which was a massive setback for the team. Faf du Plessis also got out after getting starts, and Rilee Rossouw was also disappointing. The inconsistency continued down the order as well with the likes of JP Duminy and David Miller. At the end of the day, South Africa were second best under the conditions.
--By A Cricket Analyst