JOHANNESBURG – JP Duminy blamed poor execution as the Proteas suffered yet another defeat to India at the Wanderers on Sunday.
Of the last eight matches between the two sides across three formats, South Africa have won just once. There seems to be no end in sight to the downward spiral for the Proteas.
Duminy, who is captaining his country in the T20 series against India while Faf du Plessis recovers from a finger injury, said his bowlers didn’t properly execute the short-ball strategy during the powerplay period of India’s innings.
“It’s going to come down to execution of our skills. If we execute a plan well, it’s potentially going to work, but unfortunately with our plans in place, we didn’t execute as well as we’d have liked,” said Duminy.
India, who went on to win the opening T20 International by 28 runs, scored 78 in the first six overs, providing the perfect platform and propelling themselves to a substantial total of 203/5.
“The plan was to try and take wickets. I was happy if they had 60 or 70 after six overs if we at least had two or three wickets down,” Duminy said.
“I felt if we were in that position, we were in a strong position, especially at a venue like this.
“I wasn’t too unhappy – the mindset and plan was an aggressive one, which was to try and take wickets and with that, there are going to be times when you leak a few boundaries.”
Despite India having coped well with the short ball on this tour, especially from the third Test onwards, the Proteas have persisted with that plan to the tourists.
Duminy said on Sunday that he felt India’s batsmen haven’t played the short ball well, though evidence in this game and during the One-Day series suggests otherwise.
“Whatever the reputation we had (about playing the short ball), in the last few years, we are playing totally opposite of that,” said Indian new-ball bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
“We have managed the short ball pretty well on this tour. They wanted to bowl short, but it didn’t really work well for them.
“If something doesn’t work for you, you have to come up with something else... so that’s what probably worked to our advantage.”
Bhuvneshwar finished as the Man of the Match, claiming 5/24 in four overs, with his strategy a stark contrast to the South Africans.
He bowled full and straight and mixed up his pace well.
While bemoaning the lack of proper execution with the ball, Duminy also felt the Proteas’ batsmen once more let the side down.
“That’s been our Achilles heel throughout this Indian tour in the short format. As players and as senior batters, we have to take responsibility for that.
“We’ve got to look at ourselves in the mirror, ask how we can improve and get better,” he said.
Duminy and Miller, the two senior batsmen in the starting side on Sunday, made three and nine respectively, continuing what is now a lengthy run of poor form for the pair.
“Everyone has a particular game plan, and it is either going to come off or it is not,” said Duminy.
“You are going to go through periods in your career where you go through slumps, be it a senior player or a new player.
“And unfortunately throughout the series, quite a few senior players have come up short, including myself. It’s been a dismal ODI series, and today as well.”
The two sides meet in the second T20 match in Centurion on Wednesday (6pm start).