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JP Duminy defends South Africa’s short-ball policy against India in Johannesburg

JP Duminy said that the South Africa bowlers did not stick to their plan and that made life easier for the Indian batsmen during the first T20 encounter in Johannesburg on Sunday.

cricket Updated: Feb 19, 2018 12:03 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Johannesburg
South Africa vs India,JP Duminy,Indian cricket team
JP Duminy said that it was the South Africa batsmen, not the bowlers, who fell short during the first T20 against India in Johannesburg on Sunday.(AFP)

South Africa kept to their strategy of using the short balls to make the India batsmen uncomfortable. Unfortunately for them, it were the short balls that the Indians tamed with most ease. (HIGHLIGHTS)

While India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar felt that past reputation may have prompted the Proteas to try that, he said that they have been able to counter it this time around. (SCORECARD)

Most of the questions throughout Sunday’s pressers revolved around the difference in length of the bowlers of the two sides and whether the Proteas had erred by directing the short ones at India continuously.

But home captain JP Duminy insisted that Indians still have a weakness against that length.

READ | Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar help India tame South Africa in first T20

“I don’t think they have played it very well. It comes down to execution of our skills. If we execute a plan well, it’s potentially going to work, but unfortunately with our plans in place, we didn’t execute as well as we’d have liked,” said the South Africa T20 skipper whose poor form has been a cause of worry. Duminy had failed in ODIs and he flopped on Sunday too.

In fact, none of the Proteas have accepted that their bowling has lacked zing first up. Although they have been restricting India, especially towards the end, they have been unable to pick wickets even as Indian bowlers have been using smart tactics.

Duminy added that it is the batting that failed them again.

“I thought it was a decent total to chase down especially at this venue. They were 100 after 8 overs, so at that point you’re looking at probably 220 or 240, and I thought the way the guys came back was exceptional. I was pretty happy with chasing 204. Unfortunately from the batting perspective, that’s been our Achilles heel throughout this Indian tour in the short format. As players and as senior batters we have to take responsibility for that, we’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror, ask how we can improve and get better,” he said.

READ | South Africa never got partnerships going: JP Duminy after loss in 1st T20

Batsman Reeza Hendricks, who top-scored for the home side with 70, said that the tactics were thought about by the skipper Duminy.

“As a unit, JP discussed the plans and everyone bought into it, our seamers bought in to it. It was the captain’s idea, the team’s idea, obviously it did not work out. Indians obviously changed their plans and obviously got their plans different to ours and executed it well,” said Hendricks.

Another department where the South Africans have fallen behind was catching. They dropped a couple of sitters on Sunday after having missed a few in the one-dayers. Even though there were some blinders, especially from Aiden Markram, they have had problems in holding on to the ball on many occasions.

READ | Virat Kohli allays injury-related fears after India win T20I opener vs South Africa

“The standard we set for ourselves, we know we have to take those opportunities. But the game of cricket is that when you are down and out there are certain things that don’t go your way, and those kind of things tend to pop up. It’s not lack of practice or motivation and determination to do well. Unfortunately, it just hasn’t gone our way and I can guarantee you the guys will be out there trying to correct it. But when you are under pressure, you have to make sure you execute, whether it’s with bat, ball or in the field. We pride ourselves on that and definitely want to get that right next time around.”

First Published: Feb 19, 2018 08:47 IST