Proteas v India, 2nd T20: 5 talking points

Virat Kohli and Quinton de Kock (Getty)
Virat Kohli and Quinton de Kock (Getty)

Cape Town - As the Proteas look to resurrect after a dismal 2019 World Cup campaign, Enoch Nkwe will already have questions over the make-up of his top order following Wednesday's crushing seven-wicket loss to India in Mohali. 

In his first assignment as interim team director, Nkwe looked on as South Africa were comfortably outplayed by their hosts.

With the first of three T20Is washed out on Sunday, the Proteas are 1-0 down in the series with Sunday's finale in Bangalore to come. 

The Proteas, quite simply, never got anywhere near posting a competitive enough total with debutant Temba Bavuma (49 off 43) and veteran David Miller (18 off 15) gobbling up too many deliveries with not enough reward at the back-end of the innings. 

By the end of their 20 overs, South Africa had carded a modest 149/5 and it was never going to be enough. 

Skipper Quinton de Kock's 52 (37) was the clear highlight after the Proteas were asked to bat, and what happened after he was dismissed revealed exactly how much work this new-look side has ahead if they are to realistically challenge at the T20 World Cup in Australia in October next year. 

Here are FIVE talking points from the fixture:

1. Over-reliance on De Kock

When De Kock was out thanks to an impressive catch from Virat Kohli, South Africa were 88/2 after 11.2 overs and well on their way towards a score that would have made the Indians know they were in a real contest. 

In the 8.4 overs after his dismissal, South Africa scored just 61 runs at 7.26 per over. With five wickets left in the bank at the end of the innings, that return is not acceptable. 

De Kock obviously has the ability to get the Proteas off to a cracking start, but they need more firepower in their top four. 

The worry is that in Rassie van der Dussen and Bavuma at No 3 and No 4, respectively, South Africa have too many accumulators up their order who need a bit of time to get going. 

Graeme Smith on commentary said he would like to see Miller at No 4, but it is ridiculous to think we are still debating his best batting position this late in his career. 

2. Bittersweet for Bavuma 

A T20 debut for South Africa's new Test vice-captain that was both encouraging and worrying. Bavuma is in the middle of a huge push from the CSA leadership that will see him included in all formats. He started brightly at looked well on his way to proving that he belongs in the shortest format, but his inability to score towards the end of the innings hurt the Proteas. 

Still, 49 off 43 on debut is absolutely something he can build on. 

3. Anrich Nortje's lengths 

Also on T20 debut, Nortje may have been kept awake last night by visions of Rohit Sharma belting him over midwicket for two huge sixes in his first over. 

Nortje is extremely quick, but he will have to learn soon that pace doesn't mean anything if you can't hit your lengths. 

He was too short in that first over and paid the price. 

4. A couple of superb catches 

First Kohli and then Miller produced catches of the highest order. 

The Indian skipper showed incredible athleticism to remove De Kock by covering a lot of ground to his left when it looked like he would never get there. 

Then, in India's innings, Miller went one better with an absolute pearler on the long-on fence, Shikhar Dhawan (40 off 31) belted on straight down the ground that was cruising towards the fence before Miller flung himself to his right and plucked the ball out of the air. 

In the battle of the catches, South Africa won, but the celebrations that followed were somewhat hollow given the inevitability of defeat lurking just around the corner. 

5. Proteas will be sick of seeing Kohli already

He was so very nearly out LBW to Andile Phehlukwayo early in his innings, but once he survived that he never looked bat. 

Kohli showed once again why he is considered the best white ball batsman in the world with an undefeated 72* (52) as India cruised home.

With one more T20 and a three-match Test series on the cards for next month, the prospect of bowling to Kohli will be a daunting one for this South African attack.

Regardless of the format, getting his wicket cheaply will be key to success.


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