AB rues lack of partnerships
Captain AB de Villiers lamented another inadequate performance with the bat after South Africa fell to defeat - and a two-one series deficit - against England in the fourth ODI at Lord's.
All out for 211, and beaten by four wickets in the third match, the Proteas coughed up another inadequate total on Sunday, when they were restricted to 220 for eight. England's pursuit proved a prompt success, with Ian Bell's fine knock of 88 carrying England to a six-wicket win with 20 deliveries to spare.
The tourist's inexperienced middle order, which features Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar, who boast less than 30 ODIs between them, isn't firing. The seasoned trio of de Villiers, Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla, meanwhile, are not converting promising starts.
"The guys who have come in, they can play," he said. "I've seen them win matches for their teams back home on the big stage in finals and stuff like that. But they are inexperienced and when you have inexperience in your team you need the senior players to take control, including myself. Getting out for 20s and 30s isn't good enough at this level it's as simple as that," said de Villiers.
De Villiers acknowledged his side's inability to match the big partnerships built by the opposition throughout the series, exemplified by Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott's 141-run alliance for the second wicket at Lord's.
Smith and Amla's 68-run stand was as good as it got for the visitors, while de Villiers and Elgar's 51 and Elgar and Robin Peterson's 40 were broken far too early for the captain's liking.
"We had the opportunity in our batting to kick on with some of our partnerships and that's where we went wrong. That's two in a row and there's a bit of pressure on our top order now. We've really got to step up to the plate and make it count - myself included. We got into nice partnerships but didn't convert like England did," he added.
"Going forward we need more partnerships, that's where you get momentum and we haven't had enough of that. We've had one partnership in every game. There's no excuse, the guys are batting in the places they feel comfortable."
The fifth and final match gets underway at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Wednesday.