Playing in his eighth T20I for South Africa, Dane Paterson took two key wickets against Zimbabwe at Senwes Park to earn the Player of the Match honours and set up a six-wicket win for the Proteas.
Paterson picked up a wicket with his second ball, knocking over Solomon Mire’s off-stump, and conceding just four runs off the over. The second over mimicked the first. In both overs, he kept the pressure on the Zimbabwe batsmen, bowling 10 dot balls and being hit for two fours.
‘I was quite surprised that there was a bit of nip in the wicket. With the first wicket, I just can’t believe how low the ball kept to [Sean] Williams, but I’m quite happy. I’m always happy getting wickets,’ said Paterson.
Dangerman Williams hit the Proteas opening bowler through extra cover for four off the first ball of his third over, but the next ball, he cramped Williams for space and knocked over his leg-stump. The four balls that followed to Elton Chigumbura were all dot balls.
‘Once we create a lot of dots, it adds a lot of pressure on batsmen and essentially they need to make the play, so I think as a bowling unit we’ve bowled pretty well today,’ said Paterson, whose control and the pressure-building were exemplary. He bowled the most dot balls in the match, with 17 blanks coming from his allocated 24 deliveries. The Proteas, as a unit, bowled 61 dot balls off their 120 balls in the innings.
The last-over flurry went for 11 runs which, under the circumstances, was a reasonable effort by Paterson.
‘Even in franchise games, we don’t look for swing, we just try to hit the deck as hard as possible and tonight again it showed that just hitting a hard length [ensured] we were successful,’ he said.
‘We decided to hit “top of a length” and it worked out for us as a bowling unit. I think everybody in the bowling unit is a Man of the Match as I see it,’ laughed Paterson, before adding a word of caution about complacency ahead of the final match of Zimbabwe’s tour.
‘Zimbabwe is not there to be underestimated as they could come back with a bang and suddenly the series is 2-1, but it would be nice to get a 3-0,’ he said. ‘[The series win] means a lot to the team. What team doesn’t like winning, especially with the focus on white-ball cricket? The guys want momentum, so it’s a good win.’
Having taken his opportunity to impress the selectors at Senwes Park, Paterson said that making it into the World Cup squad was a definite goal for him.
‘I am just leaving all the hard work out there and the performances will speak for themselves,’ he concluded.
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