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Tabraiz Shamsi says turnaround in England T20 series shows depth of Proteas squad

Published Aug 1, 2022

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Johannesburg - Tabraiz Shamsi said it was easy for him and his teammates to shake off the poor performance in the opening match of their series with England.

From a plethora of dropped catches, and a panicky performance with the ball that saw Shamsi concede 49 runs in three overs at Bristol last Wednesday, the Proteas turned it around in less than a week, beating England by 90 runs at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Sunday.

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It was their second largest margin of victory by runs, with Shamsi picking up 5/24 - a career best effort - and the fielding performance suffocating England, while also containing an otherworldly catch from Tristan Stubbs.

“The first game didn’t go according to plan by any stretch of the imagination but that is how t20 cricket is,” said Shamsi, who also picked up three wickets in the second match, and finished as the series’ top wicket taker.

“Credit must go to the management and all the players, because no one even had a word with me, which is the best way to deal with something like that. It was an anomaly and on a field like Bristol, which is quite small, these things happen.”

Actually, stand-in skipper David Miller, said that wasn’t quite the case. “There were one or two pointers to remind him what he is capable of, and build his confidence up rather than tell him what to do.”

The short turnaround helped, but also the realisation within the squad, that featured a couple of new faces, that they are a resilient group. “It wasn’t only me today,” said Shamsi, “the guy before me bowled well also. There is a nice thing building with our team. We’ve been on the journey since before the World Cup last year. We have different match winners. We have different guys who put in game changing spells or innings with the bat.”

“We have a certain game plan we want to follow and we don’t really pay attention to how other teams are playing.”

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Reeza Hendricks finished as the player of the series, after scoring three consecutive fifties, and giving the selectors a proper headache as to what to do with the top order. That along with Rilee Rossouw’s contributions after he’d been out of the international game for six years, means even skipper Temba Bavuma can’t feel entirely secure about his spot in the starting XI, once he returns from injury.

“It’s a really healthy space to be in with lots of competition,” said Miller, who played his 100th T20 International on Sunday. “We’ve established a nice squad, but new guys are coming through and putting up their hands which is where we want to be, we’d rather have those headaches than having no options.”

South Africa head to Ireland for two more T20 matches on Wednesday and Friday.

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