Five talking points ahead of South Africa’s match against Afghanistan in Mumbai on Sunday.
SA need to bowl better
Sounds simple enough, but clearly not easy to pull off in a match situation. The bowlers were woeful at times against England and conceding 20 wides should never be condoned. Dale Steyn, who hadn’t played a T20 international for South Africa between the previous World T20 and the recent series against Australia, was really poor and it’s quite an indictment that Faf du Plessis only allowed him to bowl two overs. Chris Morris was also a big culprit and his role in the team needs to be re-evaluated. Kagiso Rabada looked like the inexperienced 20-year old bowler that he is. Hopefully lessons were learned because another performance like that can’t be repeated.
Batting remains strong
Racking up 229 in 20 overs is no mean feat and at least the batting performance against England is a big positive to take out of that game. The balance of the top six is spot on, although having David Miller at No 5 might not be a bad idea. However, Faf du Plessis can’t continue to slow down the scoring rate, especially after a fast start by the openers.
Any possible plans of giving fringe players like Aaron Phangiso an opportunity against Afghanistan became unlikely after the England loss. Teams tend to rely on the tried and trusted when in tough situations like this with every game becoming a must-win affair. The spinners did surprisingly well in slowing down the scoring rate for both teams on Friday night so if there is a change it might be David Wiese for Chris Morris.
There were some howlers in the field against England which need to be rectified against Afghanistan. Kyle Abbott dropped a simple chance off Steyn and was also guilty of a misfield which led to a boundary. Good energy in the field is crucial in T20 cricket and something AB de Villiers often talks about when captaining the ODI side.
Any team’s confidence would take a knock after failing to defend 229 in 20 overs and South Africa will be no exception. They identified defending a total as a concern in the lead up to the tournament and those fears were realised on Friday night. It might not be a bad idea to bat first again against Afghanistan if they win the toss in a bid to get it right, but the must-win nature of the clash might prompt Du Plessis to play it safe and bowl first if he has a choice.