First came Kohli‚ then Warner‚ then Steyn

South Africa ended 2018 like they started it — by beating a team from the subcontinent with time to spare.

They downed India by 72 runs in four days at Newlands in January‚ and completed victory by six wickets over Pakistan inside three days at Centurion on Friday.

But there was a world of contrast between those two poles‚ encompassing the retirements of AB de Villiers and Morné Morkel‚ a series against Australia that proved again that fact is exponentially stranger than fiction‚ a disappointing tour to Sri Lanka‚ an instantly forgotten irrelevance against Zimbabwe‚ white-ball success in Australia‚ and getting over the first hurdle against the Pakistanis.

South Africa won 19 of their 34 games — six of 10 Tests‚ nine of 17 one-day internationals‚ four of seven T20s — which equates to a slightly below-average year for them.

Since readmission they have won 556 of their 963 matches: 57.74%. This year their winning percentage is 55.88.

But that’s at best a rough measure that doesn’t take into account important variables like their own and their opponents’ relative strengths and weaknesses‚ changing conditions‚ and the fact that South Africa played almost half of their post-isolation games — 48.18% — before they undertook their first T20.

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