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By Editorial staff


Proteas can be ‘king of the hill…’

The Proteas will feel pretty good about themselves, even though they have delivered far from their best in the T20 World Cup so far.

‘If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere. It’s up to you, New York, New York.”

The words of American crooner Frank Sinatra on his take on bustling New York could easily describe how the Proteas cricket team feel after winning all three of their T20 World Cup matches in the Big Apple.

ALSO READ: ‘We’ve done our job here,’ says Klaasen, as Proteas leave New York

Well, sort of… Yes, the matches were not in downtown New York. Rather, an hour’s drive to the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on Long Island.

Drop-in pitches brought in from Adelaide and a makeshift stadium was constructed this year to make space for 34 000 potential spectators to watch a busy eight matches in 10 days.

However, instead of producing a venue fit for big scores and plenty of sixes, the exact opposite played out as bowlers uncharacteristically held sway and batsmen took cover with “plays and misses” far more frequent than them clearing the rope with big hits.

But the Proteas will feel pretty good about themselves, even though they have delivered far from their best.

They all but booked their spot in the next phase of the T20 competition after holding their nerve to beat Bangladesh by four runs on Monday night.

The victory was their ninth win over Bangladesh in nine T20s, but it all could so easily have been a different outcome as South Africa defended a modest total of just 113.

ALSO READ: ‘I trusted my execution’: Nervous spinner Maharaj delivers for Proteas

Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj picked up two wickets after being entrusted to bowl the final over with 11 runs needed, and he got away with two full tosses and a wide – bringing their American adventure to an end, with six points in the bag.

All three matches they won could so easily have gone against them after low-scoring affairs.

Against Sri Lanka, they were reduced to 23/3 in pursuit of 78 runs for victory; against the Netherlands, they were 3/3 and 12/4, chasing 104 to win and against Bangladesh 23/4 before the middle order saved their blushes.

They now move south to the sunny climate of St Vincent where they will face Nepal in their final group match.

If the Proteas batsmen can find the same mojo as their bowlers, there’s no reason they can’t be “king of the hill… top of the heap”.

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