While buxom ladies in the stands at St George’s were up and down off their seats on a regular basis celebrating a steady flow of boundaries from the West Indies batsmen on Saturday, South African fans watching the first T20 on their TVs at home saw their team make an encouraging start with the bat before the runs just simply dried up.
Boundaries – how to score them and how to prevent the West Indian batsmen from plundering them – will be the key factor on the Proteas’ minds as they go into the second T20 international on Sunday night at the same venue, following their thrashing by eight wickets with five overs to spare in the first game.
“We were outplayed and it started with the batting, where our score (160-6) was definitely below par and we did not maximise a good start,” Proteas captain Temba Bavuma said after the chastening defeat.
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“The second half of our innings was the period we let the game slip, but both departments let us down because we understood the pitch would be a bit slow, but we weren’t able to adapt. We knew the West Indies would test our skills. They are one of the best teams in the world.
“So we need to come with different plans but there’s not much time to change anything before the next game.
“Not having a sixth bowler is a bit of a concern and part of the conversation we need to have. It would be nice to have a sixth bowler. That would give us a bit of breathing space.”
While the balance of the South African side – with just five frontline bowlers and part-time spinner Reeza Hendricks bowling one over that cost 21 runs – certainly needs amending, it would also be advantageous for the Proteas’ quick bowlers to take a leaf out of the West Indies’ book.
Though Ngidi, Rabada and Nortje bowled as if they were in a Test match – relying on sheer pace and lots of short balls – the West Indies were far more skilful.
After the great work of left-arm spinner Fabian Allen (4-0-18-2), Dwayne Bravo (4-0-30-2) and Obed McCoy (4-0-30-0) were outstanding as they strangled the innings with a succession of slower balls and cutters.
Having reached 80 for two after nine overs, South Africa collected just five fours and two sixes in the last 11 overs.
“When you’re under pressure you go to what you know and bowling short is generally their go-to, even though conditions dictated differently,” Bavuma said of his quick bowlers.