’Buffet of full tosses’ with the ball cost Proteas dearly in first Pakistan T20
South Africa 188/6
Pakistan won by 4 wickets.
JOHANNESBURG - This match came down to the two bowling units, and South Africa’s featuring two debutants, failed in the execution of their ‘death’ bowling skills to hand Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the four match KFC T20 International series here on Saturday.
Where Pakistan’s seamers landed their yorkers with unerring accuracy in the final quarter of South Africa’s innings, the Proteas were completely out of shape, serving up a buffet of full tosses, that Mohammad Rizwan and Faheem Ashraf, feasted on with relish in a crucial 48-run sixth wicket partnership.
This was an inexperienced Proteas starting team - with Lizaad Williams, Sisanda Magala and Wihan Lubbe making debuts - but all those players have a lot of experience as professionals, which makes the way they failed to execute at the back end of the Pakistan innings almost unforgivable.
Even though Rizwan, a real thorn in the side of the Proteas in 2021, had played a busy innings, he’d never been beyond South Africa’s control. Until the final six overs.
Pakistan blasted 71 runs in the last 5.5 overs to seal this match, with Rizwan, well set taking advantage of a flurry of full tosses to crush the hosts. Having been dropped on one in the first over by George Linde off his own bowling, Rizwan finished with 74 not out off 54 balls, smashing nine fours and two sixes.
There were elements of this “positive brand,” the Proteas want to adopt when they batted first. Without getting reckless they kept the scoring rate ticking at 10 an over.
After failing to take advantage of some good starts in the ODIs, Aiden Markram, despite battling with his timing, got himself to 51. He was very much the passenger in the opening partnership with Janneman Malan, who dished out some exquisite shots - including one lofted straight drive for six off Shaheen Afridi - as part of a bright innings of 24.
Markram and Heinrich Klaasen, standing in as captain again, shared a third wicket partnership of 62, which gave the innings impetus, and seemingly was setting the Proteas up for a substantial total in excess of 200.
Both made half-centuries, Markram’s coming off 30 balls, while Klaasen, who has battled poor form all season, muscled his way to the landmark off only 24 balls, having been dropped on 40 by Hasan Ali at mid-off.
Unfortunately for the hosts, their innings fizzled out in the second half. Having reached 140 after 14 overs, they scored only 48 runs in the last six overs. Pakistan’s ‘death’ bowling was of the highest quality, with the tourists' bowlers nailing yorkers, limiting the South Africans to singles and twos, with just three boundaries struck in the last six overs.
By contrast the Proteas conceded 11 boundaries in the last six overs, the majority of which came off full tosses.
Beside’s Linde’s costly miss, another of the debutants, Lubbe, missed a catch in the last over, while the winning runs came via a miss-field, encapsulating what was another inconsistent fielding performance by the Proteas.