The only silver lining to the Proteas being walloped in the first T20I is that they get another crack at this juggernaut West Indies outfit within the next 24 hours.
CAPE TOWN – The only silver lining to the Proteas being walloped within 15 overs in the first T20I is that they get another crack at this juggernaut West Indies outfit within the next 24 hours.
There is no time to over-think what went wrong for that might take two weeks to discuss and not just a single day. Instead, Temba Bavuma’s team simply needs to brush aside the eight-wicket thrashing, acknowledge they were completely outplayed by a superior outfit on the day, and then press the restart button to arrive at St George’s Oval mentally prepared for the second T20I on Sunday (8pm start SA time).
“Obviously disappointed. That’s not the way we wanted to start,” Bavuma said post-match.
“But It’s a mindset thing, you can’t change your skills in a day or couple of hours. Mentally, our tactics have to be more sound. We’ll have to come with a better attitude and make sure that we focus on our execution.”
Bavuma did admit, however, that the Proteas “have a lot to speak about”, but it should relate more to the structure of the team than anything else.
South Africa’s team balance just seems to be out of sync at the moment. Whereas Windies captain Kieron Pollard had seven to eight bowling options – he wasn’t even required to call upon himself – Bavuma was left with just five specialists.
This meant that opening batsman Reeza Hendricks, who had never bowled a ball in T20 cricket before, was suddenly running in at Chris Gayle.
The outcome was to be expected with Gayle smashing two consecutive sixes off the first two deliveries before Evin Lewis joined the party with a third. South Africa’s “sixth bowler” conceded 21 runs in his solitary over and the experiment left everyone red-faced.
Of far greater concern, though, is that South Africa have been stuck in the mud with this problem for the longest time now. During the home England series, there was an instance when substitute wicket-keeper Heinrich Klaasen bowled to England maverick Ben Stokes with the first T20I in the balance at Newlands.
⛔️ RESULT | @windiescricket WIN BY 8 WICKETS
A @windiescricket batting exhibition saw them claim the first T20I by 8 wickets as it took them 15 overs to chase down a target of 161 after restricting the #Proteas to 160.#WIvSA #ThatsOurGame pic.twitter.com/V2W0z8HzqL
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) June 26, 2021
Stokes did a similar job on Klaasen and the entire momentum of the match shifted.
South Africa may also want to rethink their batting line-up. Bavuma could possibly move up a spot to open with Quinton de Kock in order for everyone to shift up one place.
This will allow Rassie van der Dussen to bat in his preferred No.3 position and allow South Africa’s most experienced T20I player David Miller the opportunity to have a greater impact on the game. Number 6 is simply to low.
Miller can then either walk in at No.4 or No.5 – depending on the start South Africa do get.
And with South Africa requiring further bowling options, the opportunity to explore Aiden Markram batting in the middle-order is something to be considered as his off-spinners could be vital in these subcontinental like conditions.
A further bowling option could be the return of Andile Phehlukwayo. The West Indies showed that pace off the ball is the requirement here in Grenada with Dwayne Bravo delivering a master-class in slower balls and cutters on a two-paced surface.
Phehlukwayo is the closest South Africa have in this department and a swap with Heinrich Klaasen would give Bavuma a much improved deck of cards to play with.
It might all still not be enough if the Windies power-hitters come out swinging like they did in the first match, but it will at least pose better questions of them.
Zaahier Adams’ suggested Proteas T20I team for the second T20I: Bavuma (capt), De Kock, Van der Dussen, Markram, Miller, Linde, Phehlukwayo, Rabada, Nortjé, Ngidi, Shamsi.