Proteas mix and match against Dutch

2011-03-02 08:59

Mohali, India – The South African cricket team is likely to adopt a flexible bowling approach when they meet the Netherlands tomorrow in a bid to find the right combination before bigger World Cup games.

The Proteas, known for relying on pace, sprang a major surprise when they included three spinners during their seven-wicket victory over the West Indies in their opening match in Delhi.

An encounter against the Netherlands, who have lost both of their matches, will provide South Africa with a chance to assess bowling options before their key clash against a resurgent England in Chennai on Sunday.

Skipper Graeme Smith has already said his team will be more flexible in their approach this time around, in an attempt to reach the World Cup final for the first time.

“Sometimes when you come up with things and it works out, it’s a great thing.

It (spin) worked for us against the West Indies and we will reassess going into the next game (against the Netherlands),” said Smith.

“There is also a bit of an unknown factor about us this time. Many of the boys have not been in the side for a long time, so there will be more of an element of surprise about us this time than in other World Cups.”

South Africa, semifinalists in 1992, 1999 and 2007, surprised the West Indies when Smith opened the attack with off-spinner Johan Botha, who dismissed free-stroking Chris Gayle in his opening over.

Smith defied the pace tradition when he used spinners Botha, Imran Tahir and Robin Peterson for 29 overs against the West Indies.

Pakistan-born leg-spinner Tahir made a sensational four-wicket World Cup debut, sparking a collapse that saw the West Indies lose their last nine wickets for a meagre 109 runs.

South Africa then showed why they are the strong contenders for the title this time as they achieved a 223-run target without any hiccup, with AB de Villiers smashing an unbeaten century.

Paceman Dale Steyn’s form augurs well after he grabbed three wickets with shrewd variations.

“You’ve got to be street smart I suppose when you bowl in India.

You can’t bowl the same pace at the same place as the guys will work you out,” said the fast bowler.

Inconsistency is the main problem for the Netherlands, who shone against England but were brittle against the West Indies. They will now be keen to put in an improved all-round show.

The Netherlands managed to stretch England in their opening match, thanks to Ryan Ten Doeschate’s superb all-round performance.

The Dutchman enjoyed one of his best moments in one-day internationals when he dominated the England attack with a 110-ball, 119-run stand to help his side set a challenging 293-run target.

He was to test England again as a seamer when he took two of the four wickets to fall, but lacked support from the other end as England comfortably achieved a big target.

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