We had a hard look at ourselves, says George Linde of Proteas' turnaround
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CAPE TOWN - Bowling in a Powerplay is arguably the toughest assignment in T20 cricket, especially when having to contend with the West Indies power-hitters.
However that is George Linde’s lot at the moment. It is not a situation that he’s entirely comfortable with, but it’s what the Proteas require from their lankly left-arm spinner at this juncture.
Traditionally, the slower bowlers that have been effective in T20 Powerplays are either of the mystery variety or those that are content with slinging in round-arm missiles.
This actually goes against Linde’s natural attacking instinct. He is a much more classical left-arm spinner, that prefers to utilise his height to deliver the ball from a high vantage point in order for it to be given flight before gripping and turning off the surface.
These strengths came to the fore in Game 2 of the five-match series against the Windies when Linde produced a Player of the Match performance on a slow-turning pitch to finish with the excellent figures of 2/19 which helped the Proteas level the series.
With the World’s No 1 ranked T20 bowler Tabraiz Shamsi maintaining the pressure from the other end too, South Africa’s spin duo strangled the Windies’ batting unit during the middle period of the run chase.
It certainly was a much-improved performance after the disastrous first T20I, particularly with Linde showing that he is a fast learner by adapting better to the conditions.
"I just went back to the basics, and it worked for me,” the 29-year-old said. “It was my day, and Shamsi has been exceptional for us. We had a hard look at ourselves, and luckily it worked for us. It was a lot slower and turned as well, and I'm always happy with that."
Picking up the big wickets of the dangerous Nicholas Pooran and Andre “Dre” Russell will be a major confidence booster for the Western Province all-rounder. Hopefully, it will also filter through to his batting for Linde has a valuable role at the backend of the innings.
He has yet to show this aspect of his game in Caribbean as yet, but Linde is one of the few South African batsmen able to clear the ropes from the moment he walks to the crease.
The Proteas batting unit can surely do with a free-flowing Linde in the middle-order, especially after collectively failing to capitalise on positive starts in the first two matches.