Faf du Plessis has hailed South Africa’s bowling performance in the second T20 against India on Monday as possibly the best he’s ever seen from them in this format.
South Africa took a commanding 2-0 lead in the three-match series after beating India comfortably by six wickets in Cuttack in a game that was disrupted twice by crowd interference.
Albie Morkel returned to the side for the first time in 18 months to claim career best figures of 3-12 in his 50th T20 match. Imran Tahir also took two wickets to help restrict India to 92, their second lowest T20 total to date.
‘As I said before at the start of the series, the way you start when you come to India is extremely important,’ Du Plessis said.
‘It’s hard to pull yourself back when you start with a couple of losses, when India is on top they play really well. It was important for us from a T20 perspective because we were starting off the tour that we hit our straps from the beginning.
‘This was possibly the best bowling performance I’ve seen from us ever in T20 cricket. It was amazing to see. All the bowlers were fantastic. Opening the bowling with Imran Tahir was a gut feel and a plan for the game. He hasn’t bowled in the power play but it was just a case of changing things up and trying to be unpredictable so the batsmen can’t plan ahead.
‘I though there was great variation in that first six overs. There was spin, pace and then we got wickets. Obviously there were two run-outs as well but the key is to get wickets up front. To knock the runs off quite clinically was also important.’
Du Plessis said clinching the series by going 2-0 up was a ‘huge achievement’ for the team and one that they are really proud of.
South Africa’s stunning performance was marred by angry Indian fans who threw bottles onto the field to show their dismay at their team’s performance. The match was stopped twice as police tried to regain control of fans angered by their team’s surrender and hurled bottles and debris over the safety nets and on to field.
As appeals for calm failed, the umpires took the players off the field. At one point, the match referee Chris Broad considered abandoning the match and possibly applying the Duckworth-Lewis method. Which South Africa would have won anyway.
‘It’s not nice to see that, Du Plessis said. ‘I’ve played cricket in India for five or six years and I’ve never seen that. You don’t want that to be a part of the game. To have that happening is not nice for cricket and it shouldn’t happen.
‘The game lost it’s intensity towards the end because India thought that we had already won because we only needed 20 runs so it’s disappointing in that sense and hopefully that is the first and the last time we see that [interference] on this tour.’
The Proteas travel to Kolkata on Wednesday morning ahead of the final match of the series at Eden Gardens on Thursday evening.