Cricket scribe Stuart Hess looks at the five areas where the series against the West Indies was won by Temba Bavuma’s Proteas.
THE PROTEAS beat the West Indies by 25 runs on Saturday to seal a 3-2 T20 series win against the current T20 World Cup holders.
After impressing throughout the five matches, South African spinner Tabraiz Shamsi was named Man of the Series and his impact was hailed by skipper Temba Bavuma.
Here, cricket scribe Stuart Hess looks at the five areas where the series against the West Indies was won.
Tabraiz Shamsi – Being ranked the No 1 T20 bowler in the world puts a target on a player’s back. Tabraiz Shamsi had expressed surprise at his ranking before heading to the West Indies. However, against the defending T20 champions, and one of the favourites for the title this year, he proved why he holds that position. They were clueless against him; his turn, bounce and pace tying the West Indies in knots. He’ll be more closely scrutinised now by the opposition, because he’s a proven match winner.
Powerplay – South Africa fared well in the first six overs with fielding restrictions in place; three times they topped 50 and in the last match scored 49 runs. Given the conditions, it was crucial to dominate that early phase with the bat, and with similar conditions anticipated at the World Cup later this year, it’s a part of the game plan that they must continue to use to put the opposition under pressure.
Fielding – Vastly improved from the performances seen against Pakistan. Some of the ground fielding in the power play on Saturday night was superb with Markram and Bavuma probably preventing 12 runs between them in that period alone. The SA skipper sets high standards, so understandably expressed concern that some catches were grassed, but overall the Proteas have set a standard from which they dare not drop.
Quinton de Kock – In five innings’ De Kock went past 50 three times, made 26 and 37 in the other two innings, laughed with himself, his teammates and the opposition and was a handy lieutenant for Bavuma. It is so fulfilling seeing him back and enjoying cricket again, revelling in a dressing room where he likes to keep things light and where he is among friends. This more relaxed De Kock is a primary weapon for the Proteas.
Mulder’s 15th over – It was his only match in the series, and he made a match-winning contribution in the last match on Saturday night picking up the wickets of Pollard and Russell from consecutive deliveries. Mulder has provided a selection headache. He was only brought into the squad after Dwaine Pretorius missed the tour because of Covid, but in the one match and in the Tests he’s played this year he has shown a propensity for pulling something out of nothing. In the T20 format, which often veers violently from one side to another it’s a useful trait. Is he worth a spot in the World Cup squad?