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Proteas pay price for poor ‘death’ bowling


Dreadful ‘death’ bowling, some poor captaincy and yet another flimsy batting display, saw the Proteas get walloped by the West Indies in the fourth T20 International.

Quinton de Kock of South Africa walks off the field after being dismissed by Dwayne Bravo of West Indies during the fourth T20I. Picture: Randy Brooks/AFP

West Indies 167/6

South Africa 146/9

West Indies won by 21 runs.

JOHANNESBURG – Dreadful ‘death’ bowling, some poor captaincy and yet another flimsy batting display, saw South Africa get walloped in the fourth T20 International by the West Indies, setting up a series decider on Saturday.

With the exception of spinners Tabraiz Shamsi and George Linde, Thursday night’s match in Grenada is one the rest of the South Africans will want to forget.

Temba Bavuma won South Africa’s first toss of the tour and chose to field first, a strange choice given how the team had defended and the fact that the pitch in the previous three matches, had showed, scoring did get harder in the second half off the second innings. In addition, there is plenty of assistance for the spinners, with the ball gripping in the surface.

Then Bavuma decided it prudent to open the bowling with Aiden Markram – if it was a supposed to be a surprise tactic, it wasn’t a surprise to West Indies opener Lendl Simmons, who strode to the crease wearing a cap and took 20 runs off that first over hitting two fours and two sixes.

Fortunately, Linde and Shamsi were on hand to arrest the scoring, while picking up wickets in the process. Shamsi has been magnificent throughout the series, his control of length being a feature, as is his variation in pace. The West Indies batsmen have looked clueless against him, and he again gave Bavuma control of the middle period.

Linde, who conceded 33 runs in three overs in the third match, was back to his best on Thursday, with his ability to extract bounce proving troublesome for the home team’s batsmen. Between them Shamsi and Linde picked up four wickets, conceded 29 runs and bowled 26 dot balls.

But their efforts were in vain.

The ‘death’ bowling was simply wretched. Bowlers of Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada’s experience and class, cannot miss yorkers by as much as they did on Thursday, nor be so directionless with their lines.

They certainly can’t make mistakes like that against the likes of Kieron Pollard.

The West Indies captain scored 51 not out off 25 balls, smashing two fours and five sixes. He shared a seventh wicket partnership of 66 with Fabian Allen (19* off 13 balls) with 55 of those runs coming off the last three overs.

What should have been a target below 150, was suddenly a tricky chase of 168, something the South Africans themselves had successfully defended in the previous two matches.

West Indies did spring a proper surprise, using Chris Gayle in the second over, and the veteran took a wicket with his first ball, having Reeza Hendricks stumped for 2.

The Proteas never got going, with the West Indies again, as they had done in the previous three matches in the series, making effective use of slower balls. Even the loss of their frontline spinner Allen, to a shoulder injury while diving to stop a boundary, did not hamper their defence.

Bravo was superb and continued to boss the South African batsmen who remain bemused about his variety of slower balls, and are unable to hit boundaries off them.

Quinton de Kock again held the innings together scoring 60 off 43 balls, but had no help from the other batsmen.

Bravo registered career best figures of 4/19.

* Anrich Nortje suffered “a lot of bruising,” after being struck on the knee by a firmly struck straight drive by Pollard. The Proteas medical team will monitor his progress ahead of the fifth match on Saturday.


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