South Africa’s bowling attack have been key in keeping their unbeaten streak of 12 ODIs.
In 12 ODI victories SA have bowled out the opposition eight times. Once against Ireland, three times during Australia’s tour to SA and four times in Sri Lanka’s tour to SA.
AB de Villiers was proud of the way his bowlers performed in the 34-over match against New Zealand, which saw the Proteas reduce them to 207-7.
‘We did very well with the ball in hand,’ said De Villiers after their win against NZ.
‘If I could have it all over again I would have batted first. I thought we did well; if they scored 10-20 runs more it would have been very difficult to chase down.
‘The motto today with the ball in hand was to keep striking.
‘We’ve been doing that in the last few series we’ve played, bowling teams out. I think that’s probably our biggest strength at the moment, to strike all the time. We never allowed them to get big partnerships. Kane (Williamson) played really well, but other than that we kept making inroads, which made it a lot easier for me as a captain and for us as a team to get through it.’
Chris Morris has been excellent since his return in the green and gold. In his five matches back he has taken 12 scalps @ 15.58 which includes his 4-62 against the Black Caps on Sunday.
De Kock expanded on his captain’s comments by emphasising Morris’ contribution.
‘Morris can bowl quickly when he wants to. He hits the deck quite hard. He’s quite a skilful bowler who can swing the ball, hit the deck or bowl slower deliveries. I think he’s good at adapting to different situations. His second spell was a game changer for us.’
De Kock was brilliant in the first ODI against NZ scoring 69 off 64, but he was disappointed with the time that his wicket fell.
‘It was frustrating, I thought I was the guy that had to bat through to win this game,’ said De Kock.
‘It was quite disappointing. It wasn’t needed when I lost my wicket at that time of the game, but anyway, we had the rest of the guys to finish off the game for us.’
A solid cohesiveness is starting to build between De Kock and Hashim Amla at the top of the order. In the last nine innings as a pair, they have scored 502 runs @ 56.16, with their highest partnership of 187 coming against Sri Lanka in the fifth ODI at Centurion on 10 February.
De Kock believes their form is largely due to both players’ ability to stay relaxed at the crease.
‘Me and Hash are calm by nature. It’s something that comes out naturally. Batting with Hash is quite relaxed all the time, nothing too strenuous. We know what to do to.
‘We are still learning and it’s nice batting with Hash.’
Andile Phehlukwayo has been another player who has stood out in recent matches. His first series in the whitewash against Australia saw him taking eight wickets, including 4-44 in the first ODI in Centurion. Although he has performed well with the ball, taking 11 scalps in 11 matches @ 37.45, it’s with the bat that the young all-rounder is building a reputation.
With 17 off 12 needed in the third ODI against the Aussies, Phehlukwayo (42 off 39) hit a six and a four to put SA in a winning position. With three off six required, Phehlukwayo hit two runs to seal the victory. He displayed similar heroism on Sunday. With eight needed off five balls, it was a maximum from Phehlukwayo (29 off 23) which swung the match in SA’s favour. The skipper hit a four to seal a four-wicket victory for the Proteas.
‘He was hitting it pretty sweet, it was very impressive the way Andile played,’ said De Villiers.
‘There’s a lot of talent in that young man, and I’m looking forward to seeing him grow into a really good cricketer. He was one of the few guys tonight who could pick up the pace of the wicket and let it come to him, then played it under his eyes very well. I was very impressed and very happy for him.’
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