Tabraiz Shamsi, quicks save the day after Proteas again bat with handbrake applied
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South Africa 167/8
West Indies 166/7
SA won by 1 run.
JOHANNESBURG - Again, South Africa’s bowlers - with Tabraiz Shamsi playing a starring role - bailed out the batsmen as the tourists took a 2-1 lead in the five match T20 International series against the West Indies in Grenada on Tuesday.
The Proteas produced another batting performance in which they played with the handbrake applied.
Whatever the reason, the captain, Temba Bavuma and the rest of the side’s brainstrust, need to assess how South Africa’s batsmen can make better use of the starts they’re getting in the power play.
Is it consolidation because they’re concerned about the lengthy tail? Is it about where David Miller bats in the order or when he bats in the innings? Is there a ‘finisher’?
There are plenty of questions and hence so much talk about former captain Faf du Plessis and the all-rounder Chris Morris. Selection chairman, Victor Mpitsang would have wanted some answers in this series, one in which the Proteas want to halt the experimenting with personnel and find some consistency in terms of selection. Instead there are more headaches.
Thankfully, the bowling seems to be working just fine, with the inclusion of Aiden Markram, giving Bavuma an important sixth option with the ball.
That proved crucial in how he was able to use his bowlers at the ‘death’ as both Anrich Nortje - who conceded just four runs and claimed the crucial wicket of Nicholas Pooran in the 19th over - and Kagiso Rabada, who went for 14 in the last, sealed the deal for the Proteas.
Quinton de Kock’s excellent form continued, as he top scored for the Proteas making 72, in his 50th T20 International. His innings contained some lovely boundaries, the best of which was a straight drive for six off spinner Fabian Allen.
De Kock provided the rhythm for the South African innings and unlike the first two matches, the Proteas maintained a very good scoring rate following the power play. Markram, who replaced Heinrich Klaasen, made a useful 23 off 18 balls, but after his dismissal in the 10th over, the innings started to flounder.
The West Indies deserve credit, particularly Dwayne Bravo and Obed McCoy.
Both changed pace consistently, while the plan to deliver wide yorkers to De Kock, eventually frustrated him.
Miller, who came to the crease in the 18th over, lasted just two balls and was deceived by another slower ball by Bravo, while McCoy, who has shown excellent control with a slower ball bowled from the back of the hand, picked up two more wickets in the penultimate over, one with that slower ball, as the South African innings fell apart.
⛔️ RESULT | #PROTEAS WIN BY 1 RUN— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) June 29, 2021
Kagiso Rabada defended 15 runs in the final over to hand the #Proteas a 2-1 lead in the series, while Tabraiz Shamsi continued his great form with the ball, returning figures of 2/13 in his 4 overs.#WIvSA #ThatsOurGame pic.twitter.com/37bGW4XbFX
The Proteas scored 36 runs and lost five wickets in the last five overs of the innings, and where 190 looked a distinct possibility halfway through the innings they had to settle for another sub-170 total for the third time in the series.
That put the pressure on the bowlers. However, after a solid opening partnership of 55 between Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons, wickets fell at regular intervals for the hosts.
Shamsi was outstanding, mixing pace and lines to good effect, while he got the ball spinning when the occasion warranted. He claimed 2/13, bowling 11 dot balls.
The depth in the West Indies batting order meant they stayed in the game, and with Andre Russell smashing a couple of sixes to start the 17th over and then being dropped by Bavuma, there were some sweaty palms late on for the tourists.
But Nortje returned to bowl an excellent 19th over, leaving Rabada 15 to defend, which proved to be just enough. The fourth match in the series will be played on Thursday.