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South Africa pacers failed to execute short-ball strategy in first T20: Junior Dala

Rookie pacer Junior Dala admitted that the South African bowling unit’s execution in the first T20 against India wasn’t up to the mark and they need to be “more proactive” in the second game of the series.

cricket Updated: Feb 20, 2018 21:55 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Centurion
India vs South Africa,South Africa vs India,Junior Dala
South Africa pacer Junior Dala took two wickets in the first T20 against India, which the hosts lost by 28 runs. (BCCI )

An important piece of statistic in the previous match on Sunday was that 33% of the runs by Shikhar Dhawan (72) were scored off pull shots, laying emphasis once again on whether South Africa’s short-pitched bowling strategy failed against Virat Kohli’s men. (SOUTH AFRICA vs INDIA FULL COVERAGE)

Junior Dala, South Africa’s debutant pacer, who opened the bowling admitted that they failed to assess the wicket early and India could judge the wicket as they bowled second and could adjust.

“When you play T20 cricket, you have to assess the wicket very early. We sort of had a game-plan and we all stuck to it. The Indians also saw us bowl. So in hindsight, they saw what we did and how the wicket was and could adjust. We backed our game-plan, whether it was wrong or right. It is something we truly believed in. If they were four down, we wouldn’t have talked about it,” said Dala.

(Read | Catch in the contest - India fielding way ahead of South Africa)

Dala toed the line that South Africa skipper JP Duminy had taken – that there is nothing wrong with the game-plan of bowling short balls and it is just that they didn’t execute it properly. “With any game-plan, if you don’t execute well, it always looks bad. As bowlers we were honest with each other. But perhaps we didn’t execute the plan well enough. It boils down to execution.”

India won the match in the first few overs as they raced to a huge total. And although Dala did reasonably well in his first two overs, conceding 18 runs and picking up two important wickets of Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina, it was Dane Paterson who leaked runs at the other end. Paterson gave away 31 runs in his two overs.

(Read | Virat Kohli achieves rare feat in ICC rankings, Jasprit Bumrah joint-top in ODIs)

“We just need to be a lot more proactive. In the first three overs, if there are a lot of cut balls or pull balls, maybe we change it a bit lot sooner,” he said.

Dala said the biggest challenge is to communicate any change in strategy quickly.

“In T20 cricket, it is so difficult to convey a message or communicate. It is something we can improve on. We are a young side and we can get caught up with the moment.”

Dala also conceded that he felt a bit nervous. “I was a bit nervous. Maybe, it was too much adrenaline.”

First Published: Feb 20, 2018 19:39 IST