It’s time for Amla to deliver

2014-03-24 00:00

CAPE TOWN — What to do with Hashim Amla?

Amla is one of the best batsmen in South Africa but one gets the idea that he does not fully feel at ease playing in the shorter version of the game.

That is a major problem facing South Africa in its campaign to win the World T20 tournament in Bangladesh.

It took Amla 26 balls to score 23 during Saturday’s defeat against Sri Lanka but it is the manner of his batting rather than the speed that causes questions to be asked.

Amla’s inability to rotate the running especially at the beginning of the innings, is not only to the disadvantage of the Proteas’ run tempo but also places pressure on his batting partner, Quinton de Kock, to accelerate even more. It also does not help that Amla is not at his best at the moment. He has scored four, two and 23 runs during his last three innings.

The batting order is another problem. It just does not make sense to have AB de Villiers batting at number three. He is by far SA’s best batsman and should be in front of the wickets as long as possible. JP Duminy did not do badly against the Sri Lankans at number three but there is no reason why he should not bat at number four or five.

South Africa will have to find an answer before today’s important match against New Zealand on the same Chittagong pitch where the Proteas lost over the weekend.

The Black Caps won its first match of the tournament when the gods of rain helped them beat England.

The defeat against Sri Lanka means that there is no remaining room for error left to the Proteas.

They have to win their remaining matches against New Zealand, the Netherlands and England to ensure a place in the semi-finals.

Duminy yesterday said they accept that there is more pressure on the team.

“Depending on the other results, we will probably have to win our three remaining matches,” he lefthander told ESPNcricinfo yesterday.

South Africa are also in suspense over the fitness (thigh injury) of captain Faf du Plessis.

He failed a fitness test on Saturday morning and will probably have to pass one before today’s match.

There was at least some good news following the loss to Sri Lanka.

Dale Steyn, who also underwent a fitness test, apparently bowled without any discomfort during the match.

TV: on SH2, SS 2 and SABC3 from 11.30 am.

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