Andile Phehlukwayo is the Proteas’ No 1 bowling all-rounder and it shows in his big match temperament, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
The Proteas dominated in the limited-overs series’ against Pakistan. They won the ODI series 3-2 and took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match T20I series on Sunday at the Wanderers.
Phehlukwayo was key in a handful of games, showing his versatility and ability to hold his nerve when the pressure was on. He took 4-22 and scored 69 to level the five-match ODI series at 1-1 in Durban, and squeezed the opposition well in the middle overs. In the T20Is he bowled incredibly at the death, swinging the pendulum in the Proteas’ favour just when it looked as if the opposition was starting to climb on top.
With the bat in particular, in the past, he has been in situations where he needed to finish off the game did so successfully – famously by hitting 42 not out against Australia in a chase of 371 to win the game with four balls remaining.
He found himself in that position against Pakistan again in the second T20I on Sunday, but this time with the ball. He removed the dangerous Asif Ali in the 18th over with Pakistan needing 31 off 15 balls. He then bettered this by taking a brace when Pakistan needed nine from three, to guarantee a victory and the series for the Proteas.
This ability has become a part of his game and mentality as a cricketer.
‘I always land up in those situations and I do really enjoy them,’ Phehlukwayo said on Sunday. ‘Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t, and you get criticised. When it doesn’t [go your way] you need to pick your head up, go to the training grounds and remember the things that went well.
‘At the Dolphins I was put into those positions a lot when Lance [Klusener] was there. So you learn to take responsibility and ownership, and if you are put in the situation, you want to achieve.
‘I think every player wants to win big moments, it won’t always go your way, but I think the more often you are in those situations [the bigger the chance] you will hopefully get it right. If you train hard and do all your basics, hopefully, it will go your way.
‘Those are the type of moments that are going to happen in the World Cup – big crowds, tough situations, the best team in the world it, it’s going to happen once – I think we will take that in and remember it. More often than not if we are in those situations and we win, it’s good for us to remember that feeling.
‘But even if it doesn’t go our way, we also need to learn from those type of situations. That’s always nice to go back to the dressing room and debate about what went wrong and what went right, and at the end of the day that’s the only thing you can control.’
The Proteas take on Pakistan in the final T20I on Wednesday.
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