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More Work for Proteas Ahead of Game 2

And so, the Proteas most challenging overseas assignment in their post isolation history is underway and Geoff Wakefield shares his thoughts on their first outing during the opening T20I against India on Friday. Luckily for Russell Domingo, his men came out on the right side of the opening T20I.

We knew that this tour was going to be a task like none other, for the limited overs squads in particular.

After Faf Du Plessis elected to bowl, he desperately needed his bowlers to start well. Yes, Shikhar Dhawan was run out off the 1st ball of the 4th over but Virat Kholi and centurion Rohit Sharma especially, trampled all over the Proteas.

As predicted, without South Africa’s “gun bowlers” the attack battled to contain a talented Indian top order. Indeed, India were looking beyond the 200 mark with 30 balls remaining so the way the bowlers pulled things back was commendable but still the ease with which Marchant de Lange, Chris Morris and Imran Tahir were handled is worrying going forward.

It is for that reason, I suggest throwing Eddie Leie and Albie Morkel into the mix in place of Morris and de Lange. We may lose some pace with the latter’s inclusion but with it, we get a wealth of experience and additional power hitting down the order while Leie can provide spin back-up. As India showed when they were in the field, a pair of spinners (barring Axar Patel’s last over which was dispatched for 22) can put a-strangle on nicely.

On to the batting…

I may be relatively young in years and as such have no concept of the greats of SA’s cricket Isolation and further back past, but for my money, I have never seen a Proteas limited overs opening pair, post isolation, look so fluid, calm, energetic, serene and destructive as I witnessed on Friday.

It is a shame that “THE MIGHTY #” decided on such an ill-advised second to end his stay. Sure as the sun rises in the east, he and AB would have taken SA close to victory on their own.

As it was, Farhaan Behardien continues to show the finger to his detractors, playing a calculated anchor role that allowed JP Duminy to smash South Africa home. His hattrick of maximums off Patel show what an asset knowledge of Indian wickets, through the IPL, can be.

So 1-0 Proteas, going into game two. Good position to be in. Faf will be asking more of his bowlers though. Even if the grounds are scoring friendly, if the batsmen have to rescue the situation again, that hardly seems fair, does it?

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