Some will argue that matches in home conditions aren’t ideal preparation for a major tournament taking place in the sub-continent but the Proteas can take a few lessons from their success over England on the weekend.
If their performance in Cape Town in the opening T20 game of the series was scratchy with last gasp-heroics needed to rescue them, the showing by the side in the second and final game at the Wanderers on the weekend was the complete opposite.
The bowlers managed to snuff out England’s innings quickly, as Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler were stamping their authority, before the batsmen, AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla to be exact, blew the tourists away and made a mockery of the target.
It was an important mental boost for the Proteas given that they meet the same opposition in their opener of the ICC World T20 in Mumbai next month and will provide a lift ahead of three matches in the space of six days against Australia beginning on March 4.
“For us, you always want to imprint something on a team, so that when they meet you again, they will remember the result,” captain Faf du Plessis said after his side’s nine wicket win on the weekend.
The destructive showing by De Villiers, who blasted the fastest T20 half-century by a South African batsman with his 21 ball effort, gave further impetus to the idea that the right-hander is going to open the batting in India.
Who his partner will be at the other end remains to be seen with Hashim Amla the likely frontrunner after his unbeaten 69 off 38 balls and the manner in which he accelerated his innings which could leave Quinton de Kock, rested for the series against England, carrying drinks.
“It’s great to have options. I’d like to have AB to the top so there is only one spot,” Du Plessis said of the selection situation.
The Proteas kept the same XI for both T20 internationals against England and it looks to be their strongest possible side within the 15-man squad but there’s every chance that the players who haven’t featured with get a run against Australia.
“For me the great thing about our squad is that we’re going with 15 players who can on any day be as strong as any guy playing in their place. Competition like that is great because you take a lot of options,” Du Plessis said.
“We’ve got Australia to come now so possibly look to rotate a few players if and when we can to try and get the whole squad to play some cricket.”