Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje will first target Proteas batsmen
JOHANNESBURG - It may not be to the liking of batsmen in the England and South African sides, but an all out pace battle makes for a mouth-watering prospect for everyone else when the two teams face off in a three match T20 series next week.
From Jofra Archer to Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje to Mark Wood, the speed gun at Newlands and Boland Park will be ticking upwards of 150km/h when the T20 series starts next week.
Archer, Nortje and Rabada were among the stars of the recent Indian Premier League, where fast bowling was very much to the fore thanks to their performances.
Nortje’s dismissal of Jos Buttler in the match between the Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals was one of the highlights of this year’s tournament. Rather than crawl into his shell when Buttler unleashed some cheeky flicks through fine leg, Nortje, stepped up his pace and eventually blasted through Englishman with a ball that topped 155km/h.
It was a thrilling spectacle and one viewers will hope can be repeated in what will be South Africa’s first bit of international action in eight months.
Archer was named the IPL’s Most Valuable Player, while Rabada finished as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, so there will be no concerns about form.
Proteas head coach, Mark Boucher, while glad he didn’t have to worry about facing that kind of heat, was also happy Rabada and Nortje were able to form a partnership, playing together, under Ricky Ponting at Delhi.
“I’m excited about our two and the fact they are bowling together. Having pace is one thing, but being able to put the ball in the right area consistently is very important, and they did that.”
Rabada, notwithstanding his 4/29 in the second eliminator game, which confirmed his side’s presence in the final, faded somewhat as the tournament unfolded.
He finished with 30 wickets, while Nortje, claimed 22 in first IPL campaign, emerging as one of the competition's stars, having been picked as a replacement for England’s Chris Woakes.
“It will stand us in good stead that they had that experience. It’s a high pressure environment, they were in a bubble and performed superbly, and for them to come back, in form, we are truly blessed,” said Boucher.
Archer picked up 20 wickets - playing three fewer matches than Rabada - but he bowled with typically high pace and there was a demonstration of his power hitting as well on one occasion when he smashed four consecutive sixes off Lungi Ngidi, playing for the Chennai Super Kings.
Boucher will use his two quicks to get his batsmen ready for the pace they will encounter from England. “We’ll pair out two quicks against our batters in the nets and in those warm-up matches. That should give them some practice ... as a batsmen you don’t enjoy (facing pace) but you can get used to it.
“If we have KG and Ana bowling at 150 that is good enough preparation for whatever England might throw at us,” Boucher remarked.