A career-best 6-58 in 10 overs was great reward for the hard work Lungi Ngidi has been putting into his cricket lately.
The tall fast bowler spearheaded the Proteas bowling attack, creating a solid foundation for the batsmen to guide South Africa to a six-wicket win over Australia in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.
It subsequently meant a first series win of the summer and a first for Mark Boucher as head coach of the national team.
Ngidi’s revival this year by coming back from injury and delivering consistent performances with the ball culminated in Wednesday’s excellent showing.
And, according to the 23-year-old, Boucher and the rest of the coaching staff gave him the responsibility to go for the big and valuable breakthroughs in the Australian lineup.
‘I was given the challenge before the game by Coach. He said if I could knock over the big three, that was one of the challenges he gave to me today, so I came out with that mentality and it seems to have worked pretty well.’
Ngidi’s variations have worked brilliantly so far this summer in the series against England and now Australia, reaping reward in both the T20 and ODI formats.
It again brought dividend on Wednesday when he led the charge by restricting the Australian middle and lower order with some excellent off-cutters towards the end of their innings.
‘I used a bit of a cross seam, which was very beneficial and at the back end of the innings I tried to do the lower-order batsmen with the odd slower ball.
‘We’ve been told to work pretty hard on our death bowling and with the last few games, it is something where teams can really be tested, coming out with those skills and being able to restrict teams and take wickets was really key for us at the back end,’ said Ngidi.
Ngidi has now taken 10 wickets in the two ODIs with Saturday’s final encounter set to be played at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom.
‘I’ve been very confident lately with a few games under the belt now, so I’m just looking to keep the momentum going.’
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