South Africa’s improved fielding has contributed greatly to them going 2-0 up in the T20 series against India.
The two teams face each other on Thursday for the third and final T20I. South Africa will be keen to make a clean sweep and win the series 3-0, but they are likely to rest one or two players while India will want to salvage some pride and confidence after going 2-0 down.
The Proteas had an uncharacteristically poor performance in the field against New Zealand last month but seem to have found their rhythm with three crucial game-changing run-outs of big-hitters Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the last two matches.
David Miller says the squad has placed a lot of emphasis on the discipline, which he believes comes down to small margins and good assessment of the ground dimensions.
‘To be honest, our fielding in the last couple of months hasn’t been up to standard as a team, so in the buildup to this series we’ve been working really hard on our fielding,’ Miller said in Kolkata ahead of the third T20I.
”We pride ourselves in the field. It’s also about looking at the venue a day before the game which helps us find out from where it’s easy to throw. A lot of times in India you can throw it to the keeper in one bounce because the grounds are hard. We have got to assess the situation on the day.
I picked up the ball and just tried to throw the stumps down,’ he said of Rohit Sharma’s dismissal in the previous match. ‘If it happens, it happens. I’ve not been hitting the stumps for a while, I kept on coming close. It’s nice to get a run-out and at that time, it was a big wicket. The little moments like that is what we need as a team in the T20s, ODIs and Tests.’
Although the selectors may look to rest some players, Miller says taking a clean sweep in the series is the main priority, especially at the iconic Eden Gardens which will also host the final of the ICC World Twenty20 next year.
‘We are 2-0 up and are determined to make it 3-0,’ he said. ‘Momentum and confidence is a big thing in international cricket. I think our preparation has been really good, if you prepare well you enter the game with a lot of trust and confidence. We’ve been trying to check all the boxes and hopefully we come out on top.
‘The series win is really big. We came here with a lot of expectation to do well, we have put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform. India are an amazing T20 side with huge players. It gives us a lot of confidence moving forward coming close to the World Twenty20.’