Proteas captain Quinton de Kock was a pleased man after his side beat England in a nail-biting finish in the opening T20I in East London on Wednesday evening, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
The South African bowlers showed nerves of steel at the death to get the Proteas back in the game in the final few overs when England looked set for a comfortable victory.
Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi accounted for three wickets in the final over as the Proteas edged the visitors by a single run and De Kock was relieved with the determination and fight his players showed to pull off a victory.
‘It was very tight, but we knew halfway through the stage where we were as a bowling unit. We just made sure that if we kept to our basics and understood what to get done, that we could end up winning this anyway. We understood also as team that here in East London the wicket starts getting tough to bat on in the last five overs, so we just held on and great to see that the boys fought back so well,’ said De Kock.
The 27-year-old wicketkeeper, captaining the side for the first time in a T20I series, admits he had full confidence in his bowlers to get the job done towards the end.
‘I was still calm. I knew what needed to be done – win or lose, it is something that you can control. Just the way we went about it pleased me and I knew if we were going to do that then we will win anyway.’
De Kock opened the batting alongside Temba Bavuma, who was promoted up the order after batting at No 3 in the recent ODIs, with the pair making a blistering start to the Proteas innings.
Good bowling by England in the final stages of the South African innings restricted the home side to 177-8 after 20 overs.
De Kock, though, was delighted with the current form and resilience Bavuma has been offering the team in limited-overs cricket.
‘Temba batted really well. He has worked really hard during the Mzansi League, and now coming back for the Proteas, and he has done really well for us. It is great to see him play like this at the moment,’ De Kock said.
The captain is eager to claim a series win over England when they face off in the second T2oI in Durban on Friday, before the series and England’s tour of South Africa concludes in Centurion on Sunday.
‘It is really important that we stay ruthless during this whole series and that we make sure we keep doing the right things. Hopefully we can get a series win in the next game.’
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