Despite South Africa struggling with their bowling in the second ODI against India, they continue to have a happy and confusing headache. Their bowling attack remains very strong, with a lot of options out of which only Kagiso Rabada looks to be a sure starter. In their current squad World Cup squad they have seven bowlers, of which five are pacers and two are spinners. Out of the five pacers, two are pace bowling all-rounders. Additionally, each pacer brings in his own variety to make the decision all the more challenging.
South Africa has done a few things to address the competition. They played Dwaine Pretorious at number three, to accommodate an extra bowler while using his batting ability in a different spot. In this series, they have used five bowlers. They have Aiden Markram as well, providing off-spin as a sixth bowling option.
Among spinners, they have Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi. Shamsi sat out of the second T20I, given his poor record against India while Maharaj bowled like he was playing on another pitch. Additionally, the spin question is just as challenging. Given South Africa are likely to go with just one-spinner, they have a few decisions to make. While Tabraiz Shamsi is among the best leg-spinners in the World now, Keshav Maharaj offers control and can also bat decently. On the large grounds of Australia though, Shamsi may edge ahead with his wicket-taking skills.
The pace question remains the challenge. In Anrich Nortje, South Africa have a very fast bowler, who is among the fastest in the World. In Ngidi, they have a bowler who is really good with the hard length, and can get awkward bounce with his height. Ngidi also has a few more pace variations in his armory with a deceptive slower ball. Kagiso Rabada is more of an all-round package with the ball. He can hurry batters with pace, has a really good yorker, bouncer, and can bowl anywhere in the innings. He remains a sure starter, with the others likely to come in around him.
Barring Nortje and Ngidi, South Africa has Pretorius and Wayne Parnell. With batting depth a factor, one of them will have to be in the line-up. Pretorius may edge ahead here with his batting skills. He is a handy bowler in the middle-overs and death as well. Wayne Parnell though provides a left-arm angle and is very good upfront. He is a great at using swing on offer, enjoying the powerplay.
With seven bowlers, South Africa has a challenge given their bowlers are each good at varying stages of an innings. Rabada is often used as a trump card, bowling anywhere in the innings. Ngidi’s role has been up front and in the back with nothing in the middle. Pretorius and Parnell as mentioned are good in the end and start respectively. The last one in Nortje is good at applying pressure from the middle-overs with his pace. He is often seen as a middle-overs enforcer.
With one game left, South Africa has one last chance to check which combination works for them. They have a good headache ahead of them. However, Combinations regarding the number of pacers, spinners, and which pace-bowling all-rounders will likely be the center of discussion as South Africa head into their last preparation before the World Cup.