T20 ‘killer blow’ feared

2013-08-02 00:00

TODAY’S first of three T20 clashes between the Proteas and Sri Lanka in Colombo has about as much interest as a damp squib trying to ignite a Guy Fawkes celebration.

Faf du Plessis, battling with his own form following a dismal one-day series that saw 57 runs in five visits to the crease for an average of 11,40, will be hard-pressed to gee-up his troops from a nightmare that refuses to go away.

With one-day skipper AB de Villiers finally conceding that Sri Lanka were in a different league throughout the series, one fears the same in the T20 matches.

Perhaps the only plus is there being only three matches and it’s a quick, instant death on the field, without having to linger too long waiting for the final killer blow.

South Africa supporters — and we must be down to the last of a dying breed at this point — are surely sick and tired of all the talk about consistency, combinations, partnerships and balance to name a few words that are fast becoming the most devilish when talking about the game from the Protea viewpoint.

Yet, there is not much for Du Plessis to build on.

The ODI team lie shattered and ­ruined and Du Plessis is tasked with being the “Superman”, ready to swoop down and conquer all that is not good and standing in our way, preventing total victory.

Looking for whatever positives can be found, Du Plessis is more than happy to welcome Henry Davids, David Wiese, Imran Tahir and Wayne Parnell into the fold, in the hope of all hopes they will ignite the squib into a destroying thundercracker.

“These players will bring fresh energy which the team needs now after what has happened in the one-day series,” said Du Plessis.

“We have to dig deep. That is important with pride at stake. We want to compete and win.”

Tahir, making his debut in the Protea T20 outfit, offers some variation in what has been a rather defunct spinning attack and Du Plessis is excited with what he brings.

“He is an attacking spinner and gets wickets. We need to match the Sri Lankans in that department and it gives us another option in the team,” said Du Plessis.

“David [Wiese] and Henry [Davids] are explosive with the bat and add an attacking mindset to the team. Wayne [Parnell] has recovered from a groin injury and also offers pace up front.”

Sri Lanka have recalled fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara after missing the ODI series with a dislocated finger. Mahela Jayawardene and Lasith Malinga, rested for Wednesday’s final ODI, have been recalled while there is no place for left-arm spinner Ragana Herath.

This leaves the spinning duties to Ajantha Mendis, Sachitra Senanayake and Jeevan Mendis.

Play starts 7 pm (SA time).

Protea T20 squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Farhaan Behardien, Henry Davids, Quinton De Kock, AB De Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, David Wiese.

Sri Lanka T20 squad: Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Lasith Malinga, Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Sachithra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis.

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