SACricketmag.com’s KHALID MOHIDIN rates the Proteas players after their victory in the first T20I at Buffalo Park in East London.
The Proteas won the first T20I but not without a scare, their batters once again failing to post a total worthy of the quality in their side.
Their innings was held together by 29-year-old debutant Rassie van der Dussen who hit a half-century to bind the Proteas’ innings.
Their bowlers, however, saved the day again thanks to an exquisite bowling performance from Imran Tahir whose five-for helped the Proteas secure a 34-run win.
1. Quinton de Kock – 5
After being rested in the ODIs against Zimbabwe, De Kock was slotted in at the top of the order. He looked up for it when he got on one knee and cut a full outside off delivery from Chris Mpofu perfectly through the backward point region for four. Unfortunately, he couldn’t kick on and lost his scalp to the same bowler, slicing a length delivery to deep midwicket. Although his batting wasn’t up to scratch, De Kock’s performance with the gloves was solid. He took two magnificent catches that showed agility, bravery and instinct – three crucial qualities of being a world-class keeper.
2. Gihahn Cloete – 2
A disappointing performance by the debutant. Attempting to shake off evident nerves, poor shot selection saw him edge Kyle Jarvis to the slips for two. Hopefully, the 26-year-old Warriors man can show his true ability if given a second chance in the second T20I.
3. Faf du Plessis – 6
The Proteas skipper was on fire, timing the ball beautifully and sparking the Proteas’ recovery after being 11-2 after 1.3 overs. Du Plessis’ 20-ball 34 included five fours and two sixes, taking the Proteas past the 50-run mark. Unfortunately, he lost his wicket at a crucial time, leaving debutant Van der Dussen in an anxious position to save the Proteas from yet another top-order collapse.
4. Rassie van der Dussen – 9
Considering the pressure on the Lions man to perform, Van Der Dussen was sensational. He stuck to his gameplan by scoring 44-ball 56 (five fours, one six) to drag the Proteas to 149 before becoming Zimbabwe’s fifth victim. His maiden half-century was part of a crucial 87-run partnership with David Miller as the Proteas fought their way back into the match. Unfortunately, he could not stick it out to the end losing his wicket with two overs to go.
5. David Miller – 6.5
Miller played the perfect supporting role to Van Der Dussen, his 34-ball 39 was crucial to the Proteas kicking on. Somewhat subdued to his normal quick-scoring self, Miller contributed one four and two sixes to the pair’s 87-run partnership before losing his wicket with the Proteas on 139 on the last ball of the 17th over.
6. Christiaan Jonker – 3
Jonker only managed eight, before middling a drive straight to Hamilton Masakadza for a blinder at extra cover. He was evidently disappointed as he left the middle, having timed the shot cleanly, especially after clearing the ropes over midwicket two balls earlier.
7. Andile Phehlukwayo – 5
The all-rounder found himself in the position to give the Proteas an extra boost with the bat in the last two overs, but the 22-year-old only scored four runs (no boundaries) from the eight balls he faced. He did, however, do the other half of his job effectively, taking 2-25 in 3.2 overs at an economy of 7.50. One of his victims was the dangerous Peter Moor, who hit five sixes and a four for his 21-ball 44.
8. Junior Dala – 6
Dala was effective but slightly expensive. He bowled three overs, went for an economy rate of 8.33 and finished with figures of 2-25. Dala was responsible for ending Zimbabwe’s record eight-wicket 53-run partnership between Moor and Brandon Mavuta, dismissing the latter for a 14-ball 28.
9. Lungi Ngidi – 7
Our cover star, Ngidi, took one wicket but was crucial to throttling Zimbabwe. He bowled three overs and only went for seven runs, taking the wicket of Jarvis in the process. He finished with an economy rate of 2.33, a difficult task in the T20 format.
10. Imran Tahir – 10
Tahir once again was exquisite and took his spot at the top of the all-time wicket-taking charts for South Africans in T20s. He finished with amazing figures of 5-23 in four overs, opened the bowling and still managed to hold down an economy rate of 5.75. Tahir’s performance was marked by two braces, one at the start of the fourth over and one towards the end of the 12th, giving himself two clear chances at taking a hattrick. His performance was crucial to the Proteas defending their mediocre total and knocking Zimbabwe to 6-65 after 12 overs.
11. Tabraiz Shamsi – 3
Shamsi once again was in the shadow of Tahir. Moor destroyed him in the 15th over, as the spinner conceded four consecutive sixes to sum up his struggles to find consistency with his line and length. The 28-year-old ended as the Proteas’ most expensive bowler with figures of 0-43 and an economy rate of 10.75.
Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images