The Proteas lost five wickets chasing 118 for victory against lowly Zimbabwe in Kimberley on Sunday and some people said they’d been rash, careless or profligate. What would the same people have said if Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram and Reeza Hendricks had crawled their way to 118/1 in 35 overs? How much would anybody have learned from that? In order to glean extra "value" from the run chase the home side asked themselves how many overs they would have expected to use in reaching 120 if they had been batting first, given the awkwardness of a dry, two-paced pitch. The answer might have been "20 on a good day -25 on a bad day". It turned out to be a bad day. It is perfectly possible they will encounter a similar pitch at the 2019 World Cup on which they might be chasing 260 for victory, in which case they will need to score at five runs per over. So why not practice that on Zimbabwe in Kimberley? There is a great deal more at stake between now and next June than merely winning matches and...

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