Sport / Cricket

Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
21 Oct 2021
4:12 pm

Shamsi on the mend ahead of Proteas’ T20 World Cup opener

Ken Borland

Word from the SA squad's camp is that the ace spinner is making good progress.

Tabraiz Shamsi during a Proteas training session earlier this year. Picture: Gallo Images

Tabraiz Shamsi said he was feeling much better as South Africa enjoyed a rest day on Thursday after their impressive chase to beat Pakistan in their last warm-up match for the T20 World Cup, allowing them to go into their opening game against Australia on Saturday in a confident mood.

While Rassie van der Dussen’s brilliant unbeaten 101 off 51 balls led a morale-boosting batting display on Wednesday night, the bowling attack struggled after Shamsi pulled out of the game after bowling just four balls, struggling with what was revealed to be a “tight groin” by Proteas management.

The world’s No 1 T20 bowler did not return to the field, raising alarm bells for Saturday’s World Cup opener, but the word from the camp on Thursday was that the ace spinner was making good progress.

ALSO READ: Proteas win warm-up match but Shamsi limps off with niggle

One of the few bowlers to do well against Pakistan was Lungi Ngidi, who last played a competitive match for the Proteas in July in Ireland.

The 25-year-old paceman missed the recent tour to Sri Lanka but had been involved in the IPL since then.

Upon his return to the national team he said he could feel the mood in the camp was getting better and better.

“The team has been successful since the West Indies tour and there’s been a momentum shift in a positive direction, and you can tell it’s still moving in the right direction,” Ngidi said.

“It’s great to be back with the guys. The language is all positive and there’s a good mindset. We think that we’ve ticked all the boxes we need to heading into the World Cup.”

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Van der Dussen’s perfectly-paced innings was further proof that hope never dies for the 32-year-old, as he and David Miller scored 22 runs off the last over to win off the final ball.

“We were chasing quite a big score (187), but we knew the pitch was good and we just had to give ourselves a chance,” Van der Dussen said.

“We were a bit behind in the powerplay, but we knew we had boundary options at the end.

“We also knew it would be important to have an in-batsman in the last five overs to put them under pressure. The guys played around me very well, and we managed the chase well.”