Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
17 Sep 2021
8:09 am

T20 World Cup countdown: Confidence high in Proteas camp

Ken Borland

Batting and bowling well in spin-friendly conditions will be a boost going into the tournament in the UAE.

The Proteas, after winning the series 3-0 against Sri Lanka, will be confident going into the T20 World Cup next month. Picture: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images/Getty Images

The Proteas have enjoyed a superb record-equalling run in T20 cricket of late and will go into next month’s T20 World Cup with their confidence at a high.

While Sri Lanka were disappointingly hapless during the 3-0 series whitewash, perhaps more credit should be given to the South Africans for being so clinical in dispatching the home side.

Most critics would probably have backed Sri Lanka to win the series on their home pitches, which were typically sub-continental and designed to favour their strengths and expose the supposed Proteas weaknesses.

Playing in the subcontinent means dealing with spin and South Africa were brilliant in both the progress their batsmen have made on turning pitches and also the sheer quality of their own spin attack, which was relied upon to an extent never seen before in a Proteas team.

The T20 World Cup will be played in what is expected to be similar conditions in the United Arab Emirates.

Spinners backed

“It was very pleasing to win the series in the manner we did,” stand-in captain Keshav Maharaj said.

“We trusted in our process: Sri Lanka have some world-class spinners but our batsmen found a way to handle them and our spinners showed what they can do when they are backed. It’s good that the hierarchy is backing spin more.

“I obviously have my game-plans before the match, but you need to adapt on the field and read the conditions as soon as possible. I try to identify periods when we can go for the kill, and I must give credit to my bowlers for the number of times they came on and took wickets, or even an economical couple of overs.

“We wanted to really make an impact after the bitter pill of losing the ODI series.”

Quinton de Kock

Quinton de Kock may no longer have alpha-male status as the captain, but the wicketkeeper/batsman continued to mark himself out as the Proteas’ key batsman, a real matchwinner in T20 cricket.

He was the leading run-scorer in the series with 153 runs, being dismissed just once as he claimed the man of the series award and a career-high eighth place in the ICC T20 rankings.

“Quinny has been in great form after obviously having a tough time in Pakistan,” coach Mark Boucher said.

“He’s been fantastic in the team environment and you can’t keep a player like that down for too long. He’s obviously in a happy space after a bit of rest, the break was good for him and it rewarded us too.

“He’s going to be a really big player for us at the World Cup and it was good to see him carry his bat through a couple of times, when it would be easy to just score thirty and get out.

“He’s showing a lot of responsibility and he will be a big name for as at the World Cup.”