They may have had their winning run snapped by Australia on the weekend but the Proteas are excited about the prospect of a T20 series decider with the series locked at one each with a game to play.
A destructive world-record fourth wicket partnership between Glenn Maxwell and David Warner at the Wanderers drew the tourists, who managed to end a run of losses, level with tomorrow’s clash at Newlands setting up an exciting conclusion to both teams’ preparations for the ICC World T20 in a few day’s time.
“It’s nice for me to see how we do under pressure, how we react,” Proteas captain Faf du Plessis said after their five wicket loss referring to the fact that the game went down to the last ball.
“I’m not overly disappointed in the game. For me the disappointing thing is obviously, when the game is on the line you want to make sure you get the basics right,” he said referring to the extras given away at crucial times.
“It’s just one of those days where it was two really good teams fighting it out and unfortunately there had to be a loser.”
But the idea of a high-stakes game of cricket, before the rigours of an international tournament, is something that excited the Proteas skipper.
“It gives us an opportunity to have a crack at a real pressure game. It would have been nice to win the series but one all going in, it’s nice preparation wise going to the world cup to see how we react when the pressure’s on. It’s great to go to Cape Town and see how we can improve our skills,” Du Plessis said.
“With T20 cricket you’re not always going to keep winning. It’s such a fickle game. From a series point of view and from a World Cup preparation point of view its great to go in at one all and be really competitive in that last game.”
It was a tough day at the office for South Africa’s bowlers, barring Kagiso Rabada’s 2/25 and Dale Steyn’s 2/32 on his return from injury, but Du Plessis is of the opinion that the likes of David Wiese (0/58) and Imran Tahir (0/47) were always going to be up against it with conditions at the Bullring tailored for batsmen.
“You can’t always be hyper critical on every situation. Obviously a wicket like that doesn’t suit David too much. He relies on wickets to grip a bit and that’s why he’s so successful in Indian conditions.
“Imran was less effective because the ball doesn’t grip. It’s great to prepare on good wickets, he’s been exceptional for us, even days like today there’ll be a lot of learning.”
Much like they were in the opening game in Durban, where Wiese took 2/16 and Tahir 3/21, conditions at Newlands are expected to be a little more like those awaiting the sides in India.
The Proteas surely couldn’t ask for a better scenario in which to test their readiness.