Home Sport Cricket Proteas have refined the blueprint for run chase, says Rob Walter

Proteas have refined the blueprint for run chase, says Rob Walter

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Having chased four times since arriving in India, losing two and winning just as many matches, Walter suggests that they have a better understanding of how to get the job done should they lose the toss on Thursday at the Eden Gardens.

Proteas captain Temba Bavuma (left), head coach Rob Walter (centre) and bowling coach Eric Simons in discussion during a practice session. Picture: AFP

Just like the Springboks heading into the 2019 Rugby World Cup, winning the 2023 Cricket World Cup was never really part of the plan for the Proteas. Instead, the Springboks were aiming for glory four years down the line, during the 2023 edition in France.

When Rob Walter took over the Proteas white-ball teams, with director of cricket Enoch Nkwe at the helm, the main focus was always ‘Vision 2027’. Walter’s contract attests to this, in that it runs until the 2027 World Cup, which will be hosted in South Africa.

Despite beating defending champions England earlier this year, then Australia a month before the World Cup, there were always doubts about South Africa’s ability to make an impact in the current edition of the World Cup.

To the nation’s delight, the Proteas have defied the odds and find themselves preparing to play a World Cup semi-final in Kolkata on Thursday.

What has repeatedly threatened South Africa’s chances of making an impact at the showpiece event, however, is their inability to chase down targets.

“Some of that is down to just the fact that we haven’t done it a lot this year,” Walter said on Tuesday, reasoning why the team struggled batting second, whereas they broke records when batting first.

“Sporadically over the year, we’ve obviously chased 10 times. We had a string of games in the Aussie series that led into the World Cup, where we batted first a lot.

Having chased four times since arriving in India, losing two and winning just as many matches, Walter suggests that they have a better understanding of how to get the job done should they lose the toss on Thursday at the Eden Gardens.

“From a blueprint point of view, we try and not overthink the idea of chasing,” he said.

“It’s just a matter of getting a few fundamentals right in order to get the chase done and one of those fundamentals is having a centralised figure in the batting unit to basically anchor the innings, which we saw Rassie van der Dussen do in the last game. And then an Aiden Markram, obviously, did not get the team over the line, but he did that against Pakistan.

“Whenever we’ve chased well, there’s been a central figure there that the other batters have batted around and it’s not rocket science. I think every team will be looking to do it in a similar fashion.

“I think there is an understanding and it’s much like doing it more and more to become efficient at it and the Afghanistan game just reiterated our thoughts on how to chase and the blueprint around doing it.”

Now that the main issue has been addressed, South Africa look an imposing figure, even to the mighty Australian team that is loaded with players with vast experience in playing knockout World Cup games.

It looks promising that Walter, Wandile Gwavu and the rest of the Proteas coaching staff will do what Rassie Erasmus, Mzwandile Stick, Deon Davids and the entire Springbok management achieved in Japan in 2019.

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