The Proteas were impressive at times during the three-match series loss to England. ANDRE HUISAMEN highlights which players enhanced their reputations and who took a knock.
The focus leading up to England’s tour of South Africa was mainly on where Bavuma will fit into the Test team. When Rassie van der Dussen took his chance in the first Test in Centurion, a media storm erupted on where and if the right-hander has a spot in the Test XI. His performances at the top of the order in both the recent ODI and T20I series was a breath of fresh air for South African cricket. Many thought he was not able to play an attacking game, yet he all but secured his place for the T20I World Cup after his form last week.
Quinton de Kock
Faf du Plessis’ announcement that he will step down as captain of the T20 team all but ensured that De Kock will captain the Proteas in Australia. By far the Proteas’ best player in all formats against England, the left-hander was absolutely lethal with the bat in the three T20Is and, along with Bavuma, gave South Africa a platform to work from in every innings. His clean hitting presents a massive advantage to the team and he is extremely dangerous in this format.
It’s been a real encouragement to see him back in the Proteas set-up and his performances in the T20 series bodes well for the future. Ngidi finished as the leading wicket-taker with eight scalps and his match-winning display in East London would’ve given him a great deal of confidence in the lead-up to the World Cup in October. He proved on Sunday that he can adapt when under pressure and his slower ball variation was perfectly executed over the three matches. It emerged as his strong point against arguably the best batting unit in the world. Hopefully, he can go on to be as consistent in the upcoming series against Australia.
Usually the strongest format of his game, Smuts failed to stamp his authority on the two T2oIs that he played in. He struggled in an unfamiliar role of batting lower in the order when there is a smaller margin for getting oneself set before launching an all-out attack. His 20 off 20 deliveries in the first match and 13 off 12 in the second didn’t help his cause of securing a regular spot in the team. Heinrich Klaassen’s batting display on Sunday proved what is expected, leaving Smuts with a a tough task to get back into the frame again.
He bowled well in helping South Africa win the first match in East London but in Durban on Friday, Hendricks was exposed and ultimately dropped from Sunday’s match. He conceded 45 runs in three overs in the second T20I at Kingsmead, which helped England post an imposing total when they should’ve been restricted to under 200. Hendricks was really impressive in the ODI series but he will need to show improvement in the series against Australia if he wants any chance of being included in the World Cup squad.
It might be unfair to judge or criticise him after seeing so little of him yet in this format. Unfortunately this series was about taking your chances, no matter how small, and Fortuin had no real impact on the two matches he played in. It was always going to be tough bowling spin on Sunday’s wicket in Centurion and De Kock’s decision to deploy Fortuin for only one over showed that he failed in that approach. He went for 14 runs in the over he bowled. One can only hope that his talent gets showcased in the series against Australia and that he proves what he is capable of.
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