Pretorius still has work to do before becoming Dwaine 2.0
JOHANNESBURG – Dwaine Pretorius isn’t even the full version of the new Dwaine Pretorius yet, but he’s already producing match winning performances for the Proteas.
The 31 year old all-rounder now sits atop the bowling tree for South Africa in the sport’s shortest format with his spell of 5/17 against Pakistan in the second T20 International at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Saturday, now the best figures by a South African bowler, eclipsing Ryan McLaren’s 5/19 against the West Indies 11 years ago.
Pretorius is only the fourth South African to claim a ‘five-for’ in a T20 International, and his success on Saturday, is further proof that the hard work he put in during the extended off-season, to change his action, is paying dividends.
Pretorius went in search of some extra pace, by straightening his front leg, having found that bowling around 125km/h wasn’t enough to be successful with the ball at international level. The changes are in place now - as Saturday’s effort showed - but Pretorius admitted afterwards, he was still getting used to those changes, and that more tinkering with his action was required.
“I’m a bit better - 70-80% than I was two months ago - and I don’t have to think about the action so much and can focus more on the plans I’m trying to execute,” he said after Saturday night’s man of the match performance in Lahore.
“There’s still a lot to work on, and that is work I’ll put in. Hopefully in a few months, we’ll see Dwaine 2.0.”
‘Dwaine version 1.5’ spearheaded a disciplined, smartly crafted, flexible and superbly executed effort with the ball from South Africa’s bowlers on Saturday. It was an all round effort, with spinners and seamers working in unison, giving the Pakistani batsmen nothing they could settle against. The hosts scored 144/7, with Mohammad Rizwan top scoring with 51.
Variety was crucial - in terms of pace, lengths and lines. “Sometimes in T20 cricket the simpler you keep it, the better. I’ve learned from (bowling coach) Charl (Langeveldt) that making sure that the batter doesn’t know which ball is coming is a massive key.”
South Africa’s two spinners; Tabraiz Shamsi and JJ Smuts, bowled a combined eight overs conceding just 36 runs with Shamsi superb in picking up 1/16.
Crucially, South Africa’s batsmen ensured a stress free finish. The batting has let South Africa down across formats this season, but Saturday they played with intensity and intelligence to see the tourists home with 22 balls to spare.
“As a batting unit, you look at that England series, there was good batting, maybe we weren’t 100%, we lost one or two overs, but we lost those overs badly...as a unit, we’ve been trying to focus on - whenever the bad patch comes - not losing clusters of wickets - making sure we keep the intent high, not lose that intent. Today there was unbelievable intent,” said Pretorius.
Reeza Hendricks and Pite van Biljon each scored 42, sharing a stand of 77 for the third wicket. The feature of their performances was the manner in which they attacked the Pakistani spinners, playing them with far greater authority than was the case in the first match last Thursday.
With the series squared, after the Proteas’six-wicket win, the two teams will meet in a decider on Sunday afternoon, that starts at 3pm SA time.