AB de Villiers admitted that the Proteas were the weaker side in their opening T20 match against England at the Rose Bowl.
The Proteas were embarrassed on Wednesday night, with both the bat and the ball, setting a modest 143-run target off their 20 overs. This was due to a highly under-performing batting display from South Africa, who were pinned back at 32-3 after four overs.
De Villiers (65 off 58 balls) and Farhaan Behardien (64 off 52 balls) staged a half-strength comeback, but the Proteas skipper admitted it was nowhere good enough to keep his side in the contest.
‘It was a slow start, we lost a couple of wickets [early on],’ De Villiers said to the media after their nine-wicket defeat.
‘Looking back, it was probably the best time for us to bat, in the first six overs. It got really slow and was very difficult to hit through the line after that.
‘I felt really good from the word go, I felt that we could cash in in the first six, but unfortunately, we had to rebuild for a few overs to try get a partnership going again.
‘They bowled pretty well and I’m happy to say, we were outplayed tonight.
‘I think Fudgie [Behardien] and I did OK to bring it back and when we tried to take it to them, but it was very difficult to get it away and get it over the ”V”.
‘We tried all our skills, but unfortunately we came about 20-25 [runs] short. It would have looked a different game if we got 20-odd more.’
The Proteas’ bowling display was as unthreatening as their batting, taking only one wicket through Andile Phehlukwayo in the fourth over. Wayne Parnell, in particular, had a shocking performance.
Parnell’s second over, along with the dropped catch from Behardien in the 13th over, summed up the game for South Africa. The left-arm seamer ended with figures of 0-26 in two overs, conceding 23 runs in his second, allowing the out-of-form Jason Roy to smash him for a six, followed by three consecutive fours.
The Proteas spinners could not get the same results as Liam Dawson and Mason Crane, who squeezed SA by only conceding 17 and 24 runs off their four overs respectively. In contrast, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi and Jon-Jon Smuts conceded 37, 23 and 20 in their respective three overs each.
De Villiers, however, didn’t seem worried by England’s spinners and revealed that they would bat better against them in the second T20I.
‘I think we will play better against them in the next game.
‘I picked his [Dawson] deliveries out, he gave us a few deliveries to hit which is normal for a leg spinner.
‘I think he played well in his first game and it’s nice to see youngsters like that come through.’