More bowling blues as Proteas slip to series defeat in Jamaica

Quinton de Kock scored 41 off only 17 balls, but despite the good start he and Reeza Hendricks provided, the Proteas still slipped to a 16-run defeat in the second T20 International against the West Indies on Saturday.
Quinton de Kock scored 41 off only 17 balls, but despite the good start he and Reeza Hendricks provided, the Proteas still slipped to a 16-run defeat in the second T20 International against the West Indies on Saturday.
Image: Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters

South Africa’s inexperienced middle order failed to build on an outrageous start by their openers, allowing the West Indies to claim a 16-run victory in the second T20 International, thereby wrapping up the series with one match still left to play. 

Despite an opening partnership of 81 in just five overs, the Proteas got bogged down by the West Indies’ two spinners, Roston Chase and Gudakesh Motie, falling short of their target of 208 at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, on Saturday night. 

While a series loss is never good for confidence, that South Africa’s entire middle order for the World Cup is missing this series because of the Indian Premier League, along with three other likely starters including skipper Aiden Markram, lends some perspective.

“There are no concerns [about the World Cup]. We don’t have a full strength team, [though] that’s not an excuse,” said Quinton de Kock.

“In my international career, I think we’ve won every series going into a World Cup but we’ve never won a World Cup. So from that experience, I don’t know, maybe it will do something good for us hopefully it does.

“For me, [the series loss] doesn’t mean much.”

Again South Africa struggled with the ball. Whereas the problems were in the power play in the first match, on Saturday night, they conceded 68 runs in the final five overs with Chase, who’d bided his time making 67 off 38 balls, producing a knock laced with creative shot-making. 

But the Proteas will look back at their own errors, which for the most part involved an inability to bowl the right lengths and a few costly misses in the field.

“We’re not too happy with that bowling performance, we let them get 20 runs too much again,” said South Africa’s stand-in skipper Rassie van der Dussen.

“Our seamers couldn’t find answers for their batters, we left a few runs out there and then we were under pressure with the bat.”

Of major concern will be the form and confidence of Anrich Nortjé, who conceded 47 runs in his four overs and failed to take a wicket, though he did have Chase dropped by debutant Nqaba Peter in the 18th over. While Nortje might count himself unlucky, with Chase executing superbly, including a reverse flick past third man for four, the fast bowler struggled with his line.

The back problems that saw him miss all of last season may be a thing of the past but he seems to still be learning to trust himself. 

South Africa started reasonably well with the ball, with Bjorn Fortuin dismissing Johnson Charles for only 7. But Nortje, who’d conceded 13 runs in the third over of the innings, then went for 16 in the sixth as West Indies notched up 51 runs in the power play.

Peter, 21, who caught the eye for the Lions in the T20 Challenge, grabbed a wicket with his fourth ball, when he had West Indies’ stand-in skipper Brandon King caught at long on for 36, allowing the Proteas to maintain a measure of control. He finished with 2/32, once again impressing with his control, while Fortuin picked 1/21. 

De Kock smashed his way back into some form, making 41 off 17 balls with some violent shot-making that included four sixes. Along with Reeza Hendricks, who employed more elegant methods in making 34 off 18, the openers sought to provide a start that would relieve some pressure on a batting order missing the power and experience of David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen and Tristan Stubbs. 

Once they were dismissed, within three balls of each other, still inside the power play, South Africa struggled to assert themselves with Matthew Breetzke making 12 off 16 balls and Ryan Rickelton 19 off 17.

There was one period in which they failed to score a boundary off 36 balls, and while the required run rate was just 8.78 at the end of the power play, by the start of the 15th over it had shot up to 12. Van der Dussen struck a few lusty blows to reach 30, but the lack of experience in the middle order proved costly. 

“Obviously a lot of the guys have never played here, they are going through a learning curve,” De Kock said. “Usually you can start well here and then through the middle period it gets harder [to score].

“We spoke about it, but it is still hard for guys who’ve never done it before to then go out and do it. Hopefully they take lessons from what has happened, and I hope for them they do better.”

The last match will also be played at Sabina Park, on Sunday (9pm SA time).


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