Batting woes for the Proteas

2014-03-30 14:00

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Is there a formula for T20 batting? If so, the Proteas have yet to find one, based on their opening three games of the ICC World T20, writes Khanyiso Tshwaku.

South Africa’s progress in the ICC World T20 could be read differently.

What cannot be disputed is the absolute lack of responsibility for their batting.

A team stacked with the batting talent of South Africa cannot be proud of their record – not being able to pass 200 in their last 25 matches, especially in a format where the dice are heavily loaded in favour of the batsmen.

But that is the reality and the past four matches have more than exposed their mental frailties.

The Proteas are unable to find a strategy that suits them and the varying conditions they find themselves in.

Central to South Africa’s batting failure is the nondelivery of blue-chip players AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis.

They have not gone past 30 in 15 combined innings, which equates to 15 matches. That is a poor return.

South Africa’s opening partnership of Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock should shoulder some of the responsibility as well.

They have not provided the kind of quality starts they produce in 50-over cricket.

With just 120 legal deliveries to negotiate, early wicket losses are not train smashes, as England showed in their exhilarating six-wicket win against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

It gave their best T20 batsmen, Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan the opportunity to maximise the number of balls remaining to overhaul the massive target set by Sri Lanka.

Too much of the work has been left to JP Duminy, even though he is the most experienced of the Proteas, while the two Titans’ stars seem to walk in, hit and giggle, not digging in or resolving to take the Proteas to greater heights.

They are part of the crew that has struggled for runs and the time for them to own up has come.

The Netherlands’ nail-biter, a game that should not have been as close as it was, was the perfect example of frittered starts and buck-passing.

It left the lower order with too much to do, especially when a template was set on pitches that have been a tad on the slow side, which does not make for easy stroke play.

Against slow bowling, batsmen have to manufacture their own power, which makes finding gaps even more difficult.

When there was a platform, even against a middling team like the Netherlands, there was no inclination to take the game away or be ruthless.

While a good start is a necessity, it is how the innings is finished that is the most important part.

The Proteas need full responsibility from their star middle order players to maximise David Miller and Albie Morkel’s skills.

The more that key duo fails, the more Miller’s and Morkel’s limitations will be exposed.

As good as the bowling attack has been, even cats only have nine lives.

Batting stats

SA’s T20 troubles

March 30 2012 – The last time SA scored 200 (215/4 vs India at the Wanderers)

Top scorers: Colin Ingram 78, Jacques Kallis 61 170/6 - SA’s highest total since then May 10 2010 The last time AB de Villiers scored a T20I 50, 53 vs the West Indies in Gros Islet, St Lucia

39*De Villiers’ highest T20I score in two years, vs New Zealand in Hamilton, February 19 2012

2The number of half-centuries scored by

De Villiers against test nations in the ICC World T20

58*Faf du Plessis’ highest score in the past seven matches, vs Pakistan in Dubai, November 15 2013

0The matches De Villiers and Du Plessis together have participated in where SA scored 200+

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