JP Duminy says it was important for him to start the Indian tour off with a bang after a two-month break from the game during which time he became a father for the first time.
Duminy was South Africa’s hero on Friday night when his unbeaten 68 guided them to a seven-wicket victory over India in Dharmasala.
The left-hander, who was due a big game for the Proteas, shared a partnership of 105 runs with Farhaan Behardien (32 not out) as South Africa successfully chased down a target of 200 after India ended on 199-5.
‘I wanted want to make sure I start off with a bang,’ Duminy after the game. ‘In the last few days we spoke a lot about competing on this tour. We knew that no matter what was thrown at us, we needed to have a counter-punch and we needed to make sure that we focused on the next ball,’ Duminy said.
‘Rohit [Sharma, 106 not out] played an exceptional innings but the way we came back in the last three or four overs was good for us. At one stage, we were looking at chasing 220 and that probably would have been a winning score.’
Kyle Abbott (2-29) was the pick of the SA bowlers. The Proteas pulled things back with three good overs between the 16th and 19th overs to limit India to 199.
‘The start [of the chase] was very crucial for us. We knew that chasing a big total we needed to start off well and the key was that we didn’t lose any wickets in the first six overs. The way AB and Hash played, exceptional,’ Duminy said.
After De Villiers and Amla got out, Duminy and Behardien kept their heads and paced the innings well. The turning point came in the 16th over when Duminy smashed three sixes in a row off Axar Patel, after which the Proteas needed 44 off 24 balls with seven wickets in hand.
‘We tried our utmost to stay in the moment and understand what was required from us at that point in time. We have batted together a few times and I think our communication has improved every game. That was our main focus: to try and build on the partnership. The required run rate was around the 12 or 13 mark and our focus was to keep it around that mark,’ Duminy said.
‘But we also needed to capitalise and find a big over somewhere.’