Faf du Plessis says South Africa’s skill levels when bowling in the batting powerplay has let them down and needs to improve.
The Proteas won their first game of the World T20 tournament by beating Afghanistan by 37 runs in Mumbai on Sunday. As the was the case against England, the batting was again the highlight of their performance in racking up 209, but the bowlers struggled in the batting powerplay as Afghanistan kept up with the asking rate for the first 10 overs of their innings.
‘Our first three overs was very disappointing,’ Du Plessis admitted at his post-match press conference.
‘Obviously there was some very good shots, but we need to be a lot better, it’s as simple as that. We have to improve. The batsmen can play great shots, but our skill levels are just letting us a little bit down in that first three so a lot of work in that first three or four overs for us lies ahead. But we are going to different conditions now where things will change a lot and will play a lot differently.
‘It’s a big challenge for the guys bowling in the first six overs, it’s tough. But I do think still there are areas where we are just a little bit soft in our execution and that we need to improve on.’
South Africa failed to successfully defend 229 against England on Friday, so they raised some eyebrows when they replaced the experienced Dale Steyn in favour of all-rounder David Wiese. Du Plessis explained the reasoning behind the decision.
‘We played here the other night, and the thinking behind the wicket was that for seamers who skid on, especially in the first six overs, there is not much swing,’ he said.
‘And [Dale] goes down as quite a skiddy bowler. A wicket like this wouldn’t suit him as much. We wanted to bring in a guy like David Wiese who bring a little bit of variation. The wicket looked a bit browner as well so we thought pace off the ball would help and he also strengthens our batting even more so it was the right decision for us as a team.’
Asked if Steyn was back to his best after a lengthy injury lay-off during the summer in South Africa, Du Plessis said they had to adapt to the conditions.
‘He played really well in the two games we had against Australia and in the warm-ups he bowled well. But for us we’re a team who will make selections based on the pitches that we play on. Obviously we move now away from this [conditions]. The thinking will then change again. You have to as a team be able to adapt to conditions.
‘We need to make a mental and technical shift for rest of the tournament.’
After Afghanistan reached 105-3 in the first 10 overs, Du Plessis admitted that he got worried.
‘I did worry a bit, because that is not the way I wanted to start. I wanted us to show a bit of intensity with the ball,’ he said.
‘But I knew that their run-rate would slow down because I had Imran [Tahir], who doesn’t normally go for a lot of runs, in as a banker and you always know if you get wickets it will slow the run-rate down quickly.’