Faf du Plessis think it’s unfair to pin the blame for the Proteas’ defeat by England on Beuran Hendricks.
The Proteas were in a strong position as the match neared its conclusion, with England needing 51 off the last four overs.
Kagiso Rabada, who conceded just six runs in the 15th over, set up a position from which the Proteas were expected to win.
However, Hendricks produced a horror show in the 16th, one that included a ball that was bowled so far down the leg side that it got closer to fine leg than it did wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.
He conceded 28 runs in an over that turned the match in England’s favour. Until then they had been struggling to hit the ball cleanly on a pitch that had slowed down significantly.
However, Du Plessis, speaking at the post-match media conference, sought to deflect blame from Hendricks.
‘The game of T20 almost guarantees that someone is going to go on the night,’ he said. ‘I wouldn’t look too much into it if one guy goes for runs because that’s the nature of the beast when you play T20 cricket.
‘Tomorrow he could get an opportunity to bowl in the exact same areas and he gets a fiver. I wouldn’t judge him too harshly. Tonight wasn’t his night and they played well against him. He’ll learn from it and come back strong.’
The selectors now have to decide whether to persist with Hendricks ahead of Sunday’s second T20I in Paarl. Anrich Nortje, who excelled in the Indian Premier League, is the strongest alternative.