Duminy’s pure understanding of T20 cricket sets him apart from the rest.
IN part two of our series on the best Proteas T20 XI, Zaahier Adams looks at the coveted No 3 spot.
This is arguably the most hotly-contested position in the Proteas’ T20 line-up. It has mostly been reserved for Faf du Plessis in recent years, but there has also been much clamour to get AB de Villiers in at first drop.
Duminy, though, is my pick. While the classy left-hander may have undoubtedly frustrated many by not living up to his vast potential and talent in the longer versions of the game, Duminy’s pure understanding of T20 cricket sets him apart from the rest.
Often he was able to keep the Proteas innings together when South Africa suffered a poor opening six overs, but was equally adept at unleashing his own much under-rated power game when the opportunity arose.
He was at his best when he worked out that actually he did not need to hit the ball very hard to clear the boundary. The strength lay not in his small frame, but rather in his immaculate timing.
Over the years Duminy has played many fine innings that has often gone unnoticed. Still only 23, playing in his first World T20, Duminy struck 33 off just 19 balls – a strike-rate of 173.68 – to help South Africa over the line by one ball against New Zealand at the Wanderers.
On the glorious 2008 tour of Australia where everything Duminy touched turned to gold, he smashed 78 off just 48 balls. The next best on the South African scorecard was the extras total of 12. He followed it up with 69 not out off 41 balls in the next game.
There was also a special innings in Dharamsala in 2015 when Duminy went in search of the snow-capped mountains with a breathtaking 68 not out off just 34 balls (1×4, 7×6). It propelled the Proteas to a memorable 200-run chase to down India’s galaxy of IPL stars.
His T20I best, though, came against Zimbabwe in Kimberley with he fell four runs short of a much-deserved century finishing 96 not out off 54 balls (10×4, 4×6).
Although Duminy will personally always remember the disappointment of being left stranded on 44 not out off 39 balls in Nottingham when he failed to haul the Proteas over the line in the 2009 World T20 semi-final against Pakistan, his record at the ICC jamboree over the years is exceptional.
His accumulative total is 568 runs at an average of 40.57 – superior to his career average of 38.68. Equally, his strike-rate jumps from 126.24 to 129.68.
The highlights were a match-winning 86 not out off 43 balls against New Zealand in Chittagong in 2014 and 54 not out off just 29 balls against England in Mumbai 2016.
All these numbers pushed Duminy to the very top of South Africa’s highest-ever T20I run-scorers list with 1934 runs in 81 matches. He also bowled tidy off-spinners.