Bowling needs work as SA look to go beyond their boundaries

Sunday Times


TELFORD VICE, Cape Town

FAF du Plessis isn’t getting much sleep, and that’s a good thing as SA strive to go where they have never gone before in the next three weeks.

“I’ll lie in bed tonight and think of things I could have done better as a captain,” Du Plessis said at Newlands on Wednesday after Australia had beaten his team by six wickets in the last competitive match they will play before taking on England at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Friday – their first game in the 2016 edition of the World T20.

If SA are still alive in the tournament three Sundays from today they will be at Eden Gardens in Kolkata to play in the final of a world event for the first time.

That’s a big enough deal to have kept Du Plessis’ mind busy all the way to India. But not in the way we might think …

“Not at all,” Du Plessis told reporters in Mumbai on Friday when he was asked if SA’s failure to win a World Cup in either short format bothered him.

“T20 cricket is such an on-the-day performance. It is how you deal with carry the different pressure moments in the game; there is always so much to be worried about. For me personally and I know for this team, that it is something we don’t even talk about or think about.”

Rather, Du Plessis didn’t say, he keeps his eye on the ball: the things that are in his control.

“I feel in the (Australia) series we did really well with the bat. When we were under pressure we came out of them.

“And in one or two moments our basics cost us the game. For instance in the second game at the Wanderers.

“It’s amazing how T20 cricket works. We lost that game off the last ball when they scampered for two and then all of a sudden two days later we lose the series (at Newlands).

“So it is important for me that we focus on those basics first and foremost, specially in a World Cup. There’s a lot of wides and no-balls being bowled, and that’s a big basic in T20 cricket.”

In the three matches against the Aussies SA bowled 14 wides and two no-balls versus the visitors’ 10 and two. Last month SA sent down 11 wides in two T20s against England, who bowled six. On the brighter side neither team were guilty of a no-ball.

In short SA are a better batting team than a bowling side right now. At least, they are a better batting side in some respects.

“We’ve chased really well, which is a big bonus,” Russell Domingo said. “A lot of people have questioned our ability to chase, but we’ve won five must-win games chasing in a row.

“But we need to find ways of scrapping and keeping sides under pressure when we’re defending scores. That is a bit of a concern for me.

“Maybe we’re just going to chase in every game this time; maybe that’s the way to go …”

Get some sleep, coach.

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