South Africa have to be more flexible if they want to be successful at the T20 World Cup.
If there is one thing we learned from the series against Australia, it’s that South Africa have shown themselves to be a very structured unit.
Don’t get me wrong, structure is not necessarily a bad thing. There are times when structure is needed when, for example, you have to chase a par score of 150. But when chasing big totals like 180-plus you need to be more flexible and not afraid to take risks.
Being flexible means to play the game from any position. On Wednesday in the decider against the Aussies Rilee Rossouw was sent in to bat at No 4 ahead of JP Duminy and David Miller, who has been batting well in the series. The general consensus is that South Africa lost the game in the middle overs, but a different approach could have seen the game gone differently.
South Africa like to hard at the start of the innings, consolidate in the middle through fear of losing wicket, and then go hard again at the end. Australia did the opposite in both the game they won by being stronger and scoring more runs in the middle overs.
There are a few players who took their opportunities well while some didn’t. Two players who needed to show their worth was Hashim Amla, who made a case for himself, and JP Duminy, who I believe they should stick with but who needs to get his form back.
I would play Amla, Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers in the top three, even though Faf du Plessis likes to come in at the fall of the first wicket. They have to do what is best for the team but there is no doubt that Amla, De Kock, De Villiers and Du Plessis should make up the top four.
Farhaan Behardien and Rossouw didn’t really come off in the games they played, but a bigger problem is where to fit in Kyle Abbott, who I believe is probably South Africa’s best death bowler. The Proteas might need him in India but that would mean dropping one of the two all-rounders, David Wiese and Chris Morris, to open a spot for him. If it had to come to that, I think the selectors will opt for Morris ahead of Wiese even if there is little to choose between the two.
The batting as a whole looks good, it’s just a matter of sorting our the game plans while I think everyone in the bowling attack understand the roles they have.
South Africa will be confident going into the tournament, but something they will have to face up to is their past failures in knockout games.
The impact of previous failures could be a problem when they find themselves in a semi-final, but they will have to find a way to overcome that fear.