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Ken Borland

‘We need to come up with new plans’ – Maharaj

Posted on July 29, 2022 by Ken

Having surrendered a 2-0 lead in the five-match series, Proteas vice-captain Keshav Maharaj admitted that “we need to come up with new plans” when they take on India in the decisive final T20 in Bengaluru on Sunday.

India have won the last two matches by record margins – 48 runs and then 82 runs – as the pitches have become slower. The latter defeat was particularly disappointing because South Africa had control of the match with India on 96 for four after 15 overs, only to bowl poorly at the death and concede 73 runs in the last five overs.

That loss of momentum carried into the batting, which never got going as the Proteas were bundled out for 87 in the 17th over, admittedly on a pitch which featured more and more deliveries taking off from a length.

“We stuck to our lines fairly well in the beginning, with the way the pitch started – variable bounce seeing some balls take off and some keep low,” Maharaj said.

“But in the last five overs we conceded seventy runs, so we needed better plans and execution, maybe we could have held our lines longer. We need to come up with better tactics to combat India’s middle-order.

“We will come up with new plans on Sunday and hopefully it will go better for us. We had the momentum in the series but now India have got it and they are a strong outfit.

“It just makes the series that more exciting going to Bengaluru. The last couple of pitches have been very slow, but our plans are not cast in stone, it depends on how we feel on the day and the conditions,” Maharaj said.

The left-arm spinner was standing in for Temba Bavuma at the post-match press conference because the regular captain suffered an elbow injury while batting that forced him to retire hurt after facing just 11 balls.

Maharaj will only know on Sunday whether he will be captaining the team in the decisive match. The 32-year-old has done the job before in T20 cricket, leading the Proteas to a 3-0 sweep in Sri Lanka last September after Bavuma fractured his thumb. Maharaj showed excellent tactical judgement, handling the attack with aplomb.

Quinton de Kock is back and will be itching to make an impact in the series after being run out for 14 in his first match back from a wrist injury.

If Bavuma cannot partner him at the top of the order, Reeza Hendricks is likely to return. Or will the Proteas be willing to take a step into the unknown and play Tristan Stubbs?

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