Senior cricket writer Stuart Hess looks at some of the key areas which helped the Proteas get over the line against India.
Johannesburg – Cricket writer Stuart Hess looks at some of the key areas which helped the Proteas get over the line against India at the T20 World Cup on Sunday.
South Africa dropped one – a devilishly difficult opportunity to Kagiso Rabada in his follow-through from Rohit Sharma, that should actually be marked down as a boundary prevented – and took everything else.
Rabada was superb taking three; the first he appeared to nonchalantly be trotting around the boundary to claim Virat Kohli, the second diving forward to dismiss Hardik Pandya, was among the best that you will see at the tournament.
Kohli missed a sitter and it cost India at a crucial point in the SA innings. Aiden Markram had switched gears after drinks, and in the 12th over when on 35, hit one high to Kohli off Ravichandran Ashwin, that the former Indian captain – one of his team’s best fielders, grassed.
India were sloppy in the field, with Markram benefiting from two missed run outs – on 20 and 36 – on both occasions Rohit Sharma missed the stumps.
SA had a bowling attack suited to what the Perth pitch demanded. Bowling hard into that “back of a good length” area, they had the ball springing up at chest height and the Indians for all the talent and experience in their batting line-up couldn’t cope.
Seven of the nine Indian wickets were the result of the extra bounce, an indication of how accurate the Proteas bowlers were.
This used to be about the thrill of big hitting – and that is still the case – but David Miller is now a great deal more calculated than previously. It was his composed batting that led the upstart Gujarat Titans to the IPL title this year, and on Sunday we saw more of the same, but this time in Proteas green.
He wasn’t phased by the dominance by India’s seamers in the first half of the innings, and then waited patiently until he could strike against spinner Ashwin.
Remember how Wayne Parnell used to be tagged an “X-factor” player because he would do the unexpected? The 2022 version of Parnell isn’t like that. Sunday saw him produce a performance of terrific control with the ball, each delivery – bar one, where he missed his line and was hit for six by KL Rahul – landing exactly where he wanted.
There were 16 dot balls, including a first-over maiden and his figures of 3/15 were richly deserved.
Anrich Nortjé’s slower ball at that speed will never not be funny. And it has deceived both Bangladeshi and Indian batters.