Gqeberha — Rilee Rossouw finally found his groove with the bat in the first SA20 semi-final and chipped in with the big wicket of Eoin Morgan to push the Pretoria Capitals through to the final of the inaugural edition of the tournament.
Rossouw is known for his heroics with the bat but not so much for his bowling skills but the 33-year-old rolled-up his sleeves on Wednesday night and got the ball to do the talking. He grabbed the all-important wicket of former England captain Morgan and conceded only three runs in his solitary over.
“Theunis (de Bruyn) asked if I wanted to bowl and I said ‘put me in I’m ready’ because I knew David Miller would not want to go out to me,” said Rossouw. “We spoke a bit at practice, myself and the coach and I kept on hampering them. I only bowl in big games.
“It’s something that I’m not used to, but it’s something that I really enjoyed.”
With bat in hand, he looked his crisp self and timed the ball sweetly throughout his innings of 56. Having been relatively quiet with the bat in the competition, Rossouw finally found top form in the semi-final and got his team to Saturday’s final at the Wanderers.
Rossouw said it was a tweak in his mindset that got him firing in difficult batting conditions at the Wanderers on Wednesday.
“Form is temporary, class is permanent,” said Rossouw in defence of his lean patch prior to the semi-final.
"It was an attitude thing for me knowing that I am good and that I can play in this format and that I’ve played at higher levels as well. It was just about really knuckling down, backing my ability and playing with a positive intent.”
The Capitals have been the most successful team in the tournament and Rossouw reckons their success can be traced back to the tight bonds they have built as a squad.
"When the tournament started we spoke about building a family. The guys really bought into that and believed in the process of backing each other even during the tough times and the good times. We’ve got a really balanced side.”
Another aspect to their success as a team is the cool heads in the coaching staff. Jacques Kallis and Dale Benkenstein have always been known for being cool and calm under pressure in their playing days.
Rossouw told the media that the coaches' reactions during high pressure moments has reassured them as players that they are trusted and backed to get the job done.
“I think that (having laidback coaches) plays a big part. Yes, Fordy (Graham Ford) is a bit tense or nervous when it comes to those kinds of situations in that I see him walking up and down. But he doesn’t say much where JK and Dale are very calm. They trust the guy’s abilities out there that’s why we’re here because we’re the best in the business in this department. They trust our experience and back us 100% no matter what wicket or what conditions we have on the day.”