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Ken Borland

Proteas paid dearly for lapses in these key areas

Posted on September 07, 2022 by Ken

The Proteas paid dearly for lapses in four key areas when they were hammered by 41 runs by England in the first T20 International in Bristol on Wednesday night, a defeat which would have been even worse were it not for Tristan Stubbs’s sensational 72 off just 28 balls in his first innings for South Africa.

These are the aspects of their game that have to be fixed if they are save the series in Cardiff on Thursday night:

Fielding lapses

On the 53rd birthday of their most famous fielder, Jonty Rhodes, South Africa marked the occasion with a dreadful display of fielding. Apart from a couple of clumsy misfields, half-a-dozen catches went down.

That included Jonny Bairstow being dropped four times – on 12, 57, 72 and 77. The Proteas paid dearly for that as the richly in-form batsman smashed an incredible 90 off 53 balls.

South Africa used to be the best fielding side in the world, but standards have lagged drastically and every player needs to focus on taking responsibility for this.

Bowling lengths

The very short straight boundaries in Bristol really played with the Proteas bowlers’ heads and they generally bowled too short to avoid being hit straight, especially spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, who was slaughtered for 49 runs in three overs. Given what effective ball-strikers England’s batsmen are, dishing up long hops is going to be another recipe for disaster at another small venue at Sophia Gardens. The home bowlers showed the way in Bristol by bowling fuller and leaving it up to the batsmen to make good enough contact if they did hit straight, rather than what amounted to a free hit square.

Select Markram

For all the adulation that Rilee Rossouw has received for his domestic T20 performances, he was a disappointment in his return to Proteas colours, scoring just four before getting out to a poorly-executed stroke and he dropped one of the easier catches off Bairstow. Although one would normally like to see a batsman getting a second chance because of the fine lines in T20 cricket, South Africa have to choose a sixth bowler – between them, Shamsi, Andile Phehlukwayo and Stubbs went for 132 runs in eight overs because there were no other options. It would be hugely unfair to leave out Reeza Hendricks after his pugnacious 33-ball 57.

Aiden Markram also does not get enough credit for how good his T20 form has been – he averages 39 at a strike-rate of 147 and is No.3 in the ICC rankings. He has a respectable economy rate of 7.44 with the ball.

Use an extra paceman

Seam bowlers have enjoyed quite a bit of success at Sophia Gardens in T20s this season and the Proteas have depth in this department. Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi both bowled extremely well in Bristol and Anrich Nortje should join them, replacing spinner Shamsi. England’s batsmen seem to have his number on these small fields.

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