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Match Analysis

'Have to find a way to deal with things' - Goodall on South Africa's six-match losing streak

Goodall and Bosch admit there is still a lot to work on ahead of the Commonwealth Games

Firdose Moonda
Firdose Moonda
24-Jul-2022
Absence of the likes of seniors like Lizelle Lee and Marizanne Kapp in England have hurt the team  •  Getty Images

Absence of the likes of seniors like Lizelle Lee and Marizanne Kapp in England have hurt the team  •  Getty Images

South Africa are on a five-match losing streak in white-ball cricket and have just one game left before the Commonwealth Games, but are not hitting the panic button just yet.
"It's been tough to be on the losing side because we haven't experienced it for a while but there are girls who were around when we used to lose every game. We have to find a way to deal with things and help each other get through," Lara Goodall, the opening batter said after they lost the T20I series to England.
"I had a quick chat with Trisha Chetty and asked her, 'How do you get through it?' A lot of young players are asking the senior players how to get through the tough times. The mood is still very good. We are still enjoying each other's company and having a lot of fun off the field."
It's true that things have been worse for this team. South Africa lost 13 straight T20Is between August 20008 and October 2010 and Chetty played in all but one of those games. Though she has been benched in favour of Sinalo Jafta in the shortest format in this series, she remains one of South Africa's most experienced campaigners and in the absence of Lizelle Lee and Marizanne Kapp, someone to turn to for advice. And coping with defeat is not all Goodall has been researching. She has also been canvassing ideas to adjust to a new role at the top of the order.
That's where the team has suffered a major blow with Lizelle Lee's mid-tour retirement . The exact reasons for Lee stepping down have not been revealed (and may come out in the wash after this tour) but there's little doubt it rocked South Africa. Kapp, who has since left the squad after her brother-in-law suffered an accident, said being without Lee, who is "one of my best friends," had taken a mental toll on her , and doubtless, there have been similar effects on the rest of the group. For the batting line-up, finding an immediate replacement for South Africa's leading run-scorer in T20Is has not been easy.
Tazmin Brits, who was being considered, struggled in Ireland and now South Africa have installed Goodall and Anneke Bosch in the opening positions. They both recognise they have a "massive opportunity," to make the roles theirs and so far, they have laid down one good marker. They posted South Africa's fifth-highest first-wicket partnership in the format with their 102 in the second match , and though there might be criticism over how long they took to accelerate, they were aware that they had to. "We had an alright start and by over 10 or 11, Lara and I said we should probably go for it. After 11 overs, we said we both have to try and go. I struggled a bit in the middle period but Lara was hitting it well," Bosch said.
Goodall struck at 123.52 and had started to take on the spinners, which is more in line with her natural game, when she played one big shot too many. Bosch followed two overs later, prompting a mini-collapse and South Africa were unable to finish strongly. But they're both still working out how to pace an innings and given that they've only opened together twice, some patience would not go amiss. "I've still got a lot of work to do," Bosch said. "To change my game plan and be even more aggressive in the beginning and show more intent is something I still need to work on."
But already she's shown signs of being able to adjust. Bosch went from attacking balls outside offtsump to hitting straight down the ground because she recognised she would "get more value for shots." Their partnership has to be one of the "positives" Sune Luus told the broadcasters South Africa are taking from every game, but are there any others?
South Africa's middle order has failed in both matches so far and their finishing has been absent. In the field, they've made simple errors and their attack lacks a specialist spinner who can control the game the way someone like Sophie Ecclestone does. Resources are a concern because South Africa's domestic system does not have the depth of England's, Australia's or India's. The gap between those who have become big-name players, the ones who were around when losing was more common than winning, and the rest has shown itself to be quite large. There's a sense that one golden era may have culminated at the last 50-over World Cup and there won't be enough time before next year's T20 World Cup at home for the glimmers of a new one to emerge. For this group, that's not a problem to solve immediately.
Right now, they want to take something out of their series in England to the Commonwealth Games before they regroup ahead of hosting the T20 World Cup in 2203. They know there's work to be done. "There's still a lot for us to work on consistency-wise and a few things to iron out as individuals," Goodall said. "But if we execute our skills we know we can be hard to beat on the day."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent