Proteas bad fielding takes gloss off win over Thailand at T20 World Cup
Although the Proteas were dominant in their win against lowly Thailand on Friday, the sub-standard fielding performance has given the players pause for thought ahead of the key Group B encounter against Pakistan in Sydney on Sunday.
South African beat Thailand, playing in its first ICC event, by 113 runs at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, a new record margin for a match at the T20 World Cup. A maiden T20 International century for Lizelle Lee and a fine all-round performance from Sune Luus who made an unbeaten 61 and then picked up three wickets, weren’t enough to mask the problems the Proteas had in the field.
They dropped four catches - all fairly easy - and some of the ground fielding was sloppy too. South African captain Dane van Niekerk said afterwards she was not happy. “We always want to be at our best no matter who we play and when we play and whatever the circumstances are and I don't think we were at our best today,” she said. “It definitely is a worry.”
It didn’t impact the outcome of the match against Thailand other than to keep the South Africans in the field longer than was necessary. However in some of the bigger matches they are likely to face in the next few days, South Africa can’t afford any slip ups. They set a very high standard for themselves in their win against England last week, and will need to get back to that against the Pakistanis.
“Our fielding was very poor. Hopefully we pull our fingers and do better in the next game,” said Lee.
Her game looked in good touch as she took advantage of a lot of wayward bowling to smash 16 fours and three sixes in here innings of 101 in which she faced 60 balls. She shared a 131-run partnership for the second wicket with Luus as South Africa notched up the highest total ever at a T20 World Cup.
“Things haven’t gone my way since New Zealand, so it was good to get some runs and to get the confidence going again,” said the 27 year old. “Confidence is so important for me for the games coming up.” In the seven innings’ before Friday’s ton, Lee’s highest score was 29, so she and her teammates will hope that the second century of this year’s tournament will represent a turnaround in her form.
Pakistan, who beat the West Indies in their opening match on Wednesday but then lost to England on Friday will hope that the Sydney Showground pitch is as slow as it was for the tournament’s opening match between India and Australia, to assist their spinners.
South Africa rested all-rounder Marizanne Kapp on Friday after she’s picked up chest infection but she should be available for Sunday’s match that starts at 6am.