SA Cricket magazine editor RYAN VREDE rates the Proteas out of 10 for their performances in the T20I series against Pakistan.
Reeza Hendricks: 6
Finished as the series’ third-highest run-scorer with 98, and a strike rate touching 128. However, he is 28 T20Is into his international career and hasn’t been the match-defining force the Proteas would have hoped he’d be. An inexperienced team needed Hendricks to get big runs more consistently.
Janneman Malan: 5
He looks the part at the top of the order but needs to kick on after getting in, which he did in two of his three innings (27 and 44). His international career is in its infancy and one hopes he grows into the immense player he has the potential to be.
Jacques Snyman: 2
Looked completely out of his depth against Pakistan’s spinners and tried to hit himself out of trouble, which deepened the desperate look of his one and only innings in the series. It could be attributed to nerves, but international cricket is an unforgiving place and he’ll know he squandered an opportunity. He has performed well at domestic level, and will hope to continue that form in the upcoming T20 competition, earning himself another crack when Pakistan tour in April.
David Miller: 8
Second only to Mohammed Rizwan in the run-scoring charts, thanks in large part to an impossibly brilliant 85* in the final match. This gave the Proteas a sniff at victory, after he came to the crease at 46-4. As the most experienced batsman in the squad, Miller needed to carry a lot of responsibility. He did.
Jon-Jon Smuts: 4
Smuts had a poor series with the bat, scoring just eight runs in two matches (seven of those in one innings). He has played 13 T20Is for the Proteas and averages just 13. For a player who has been consistently good at domestic level, he has looked an impostor at the game’s elite level. By contrast, his bowling was good. He opened the bowling in the second match, conceding just 20 runs in his four overs, then bowled three overs for 2o runs in the second. His bowling alone can’t justify his ongoing selection, though. Smuts needs to contribute consistently on both fronts if he wants to establish himself in the T20I side.
Pite van Biljon: 5
Showed his skills and temperament in a well-played 42 in the second match, a knock (and partnership with Hendricks) that proved decisive in the final analysis. He played a poor shot to get out in the final match, this after hitting three consecutive boundaries. He backed a gameplan, which is encouraging, but with experience he will learn to temper his approach. He has the potential to develop into a really good middle-order batsman.
Heinrich Klaassen: 4
Really average with the bat, gathering just 29 runs across three innings (17 of those in one innings). The team needed more from its captain and one of the most experienced batsman. His leadership was a mixed bag. He did well in the second match to choke Pakistan, but overall wasn’t the innovative and inspirational figure the team needed.
Andile Phehlukwayo: 3
Phehlukwayo is at a crossroads in his T20I career, which has stalled. He was poor with both ball and bat, betraying his obvious talent in both those facets of the game. Having bowled two deliveries shy of 10 overs, he conceded more runs than any bowler in the series (101) and at an economy rate of nearly 11 per over. His worst performance came at the death of the final match. With Pakistan needing 16 runs from 12 balls, Phehlukwayo’s over cost 20 (he bowled only four legal deliveries). He wasn’t solely to blame for the defeat – his batters have to take some responsibility – but that over spoke to where his 30-match T20I career is at present. He was dreadful with the willow, too, scoring just 15 runs across three innings. His form needs to improve or South Africa must look elsewhere.
Dwaine Pretorius: 5
Pretorius excelled with the ball in game two, crippling the hosts with his discipline and skill to take a five-for. But he then went at 11 runs per over in three overs in the final match, underlining the inconsistency that has marked his T20I career. He tried valiantly to steal victory in the death over of the first match with the bat, then had an almighty slog in the final match when his side were in trouble.
Bjorn Fortuin: 5
I thought the 26-year-old showed himself to have massive growth potential. He is highly competent across all three key disciplines in the game, exhibited through a freakishly good run-out in the second match, an economy rate of 7.85 seven across his seven overs, and a solid effort with the bat to see the Proteas home in the first match. There needs to be investment in him.
Tabraiz Shamsi: 8
I didn’t pick Shamsi in my team when the SA Cricket magazine team did so prior to the series commencing. I love that Shamsi embarrassed my opinion. He was excellent throughout, showcasing great control, variation and tactical intelligence. His 12 overs cost just five runs each on average and earned six wickets, which is an exceptional return. I’m sorry for doubting you, Tabraiz.
Lutho Sipamla: 3
Playing T20I cricket on the sub-continent can be soul-crushing for even experienced seamers. More so a rookie seamer still finding his way in international cricket. This summer Sipamla showed he is worth the investment, but this series was a hard learning curve. He took just one wicket in nine overs, conceding 89 runs at nearly 10 per over. He has time to grow and learn, and I hope he does both.
Junior Dala: 2
Played the first game against an inspired Mohammed Rizwan, who took him for 20 off one of his two overs. I felt for Dala in the moment, but he is an experienced bowler (albeit not in T20I cricket where he has played just 10 matches) who should have had the skills to counter the onslaught.
Glenton Stuurman: 2
Replaced Dala for the second match, but suffered the same fate, running into Rizwan, who was brutal. His two overs cost 28 runs. It was a harsh introduction to international cricket for the debutant.