Home Sport Cricket Failure to adapt to conditions was Proteas downfall says Rassie

Failure to adapt to conditions was Proteas downfall says Rassie

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The Proteas lost the three-match T20 series to the West Indies 3-0, which has arguably raised more questions than answers as they head to the US to start their ICC T20 World Cup campaign.

Reeza Hendricks of South Africa cemented his starting berth with a solid 127 runs in the series. Picture: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

Obakeng Meletse

The Proteas’ journey to what they hope will be their maiden World Cup title took a wrong turn this past week as they were out-muscled, battered and bruised in fine surroundings of the Caribbean.

The West Indies helped themselves to a 3-0 T20 series win and will carry great momentum into the tournament that they will co-host with the US. For South Africa, as humbling as the series loss was, the lessons taken should benefit them in the long run, but they head into the tournament with more questions than answers.

Reeza Hendricks cemented his starting berth with a solid 127 runs in the series. His 87 runs in the first match were not enough for the Proteas to pull off a win, as the loss of regular wickets halted their momentum in a 28-run defeat.

Hendricks combined with fellow opener Quinton de Kock for an 81-run partnership in just five overs in the second match, and they showed just how dangerous they could be as a pair. De Kock looked good in patches but couldn’t hit himself into his best form. His knock of 41 off 17 balls was a gentle reminder of what he’s capable of and could be a sign of things to come.

The 31-year-old returned to the Proteas on the back of an IPL stint with the Lucknow Super Giants that produced three half-centuries in 11 matches, as he scored 250 runs to further highlight the danger he carries, even though he is lacking consistency.

Stand-in captain Rassie van der Dussen was unlucky to miss out on selection, and his knock of 51 off 31 balls, under pressure, showed his class, even though it was in a losing cause. Van der Dussen believes the series loss came down to playing conditions badly and not being able to adapt quickly in the Caribbean.

“We didn’t adapt early enough,” he said on Sunday.

“We saw that in the first match but you can’t keep making mistakes … It happened on Saturday and it happened again on Sunday. We got taught a lesson on how to play in Caribbean conditions, especially from the bowling front; they out-skilled us, especially with the ball.

“On the batting front, we need to be a bit brave. We saw how the West Indies played, especially in the powerplay. They take it on when the ball is new because it’s easier to score. It gets tougher towards the back end to score as the ball gets soft.”

The series was mainly an opportunity for growth and to prepare for the global showpiece starting this weekend, with a lot of frontline players missing due to IPL commitments.

Three matches will, however, not be enough to come to any conclusion but the debut of Ottniel Baartman (3-26) could have been a ticket straight into the starting line-up against Sri Lanka next week Monday, as Anrich Nortje’s expensive outings carried on from the IPL. Nortje bowled six wicketless overs that went for 12 runs each.

Ryan Rickelton’s scores of 6, 19 and 18 could have dented his opportunity to force his way into a starting place with the Proteas due to get a boost in quality in the middle order before the tournament begins.

Grabbing his opportunity with both hands, however, was 21-year-old Nqaba Peter. In his debut series, he displayed a great deal of maturity and will bring with him three international wickets and tons of lessons.

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