If you didn’t watch any of the games in the Pakistan vs. South Africa T20I series, but saw the series result, you might think 2-1 win to Pakistan was inevitable. Pakistan playing at home, against a very inexperienced South African line up. But despite the outcome, the games were actually closely matched.
The biggest positive South Africa can take from the series was the performance of Tabraiz Shamsi, who was the joint leading wicket-taker in the series, with 6 wickets, along with fellow countryman Dwaine Pretorius. For a spinner, bowling in those crucial middle overs, when batsman are looking to accelerate, to have an economy rate of under 6, and average of 10.16 is phenomenal. He has improved in consistency and accuracy, and shown he will be a great threat in the T20 World Cup later this year.
Dwaine Pretorius also enjoyed a promising series, averaging 10.5 at an economy rate of 7. Pretorius is such an important player for South Africa. He’s not quick, but that is not a prerequisite to be successful in international cricket. He bowls consistently, a good line and length, and he nails those yorkers exceptionally well, especially at the death.
While it was good to see David Miller with a significant contribution in the final game, scoring 85*, how long are we going to have to wait for another performance like that? For all his experience, performing well in one out of three games is not the consistency required. Out of all the games Miller plays, odds are that eventually it’ll be his day, but is it worth it keeping a young player out, hoping for another elusive “Miller Time” innings? He is not a player South Africa can rely on to always put in a solid performance. The time has come to move on from Miller and put their time and effort into a young and exciting player and give them a chance.
The performance of Andile Phehlukwayo was disappointing. Seen as a very important middle order player and all-rounder, Phehlukwayo scored just 14 runs in the series, and took 3 wickets at 33 with an economy rate of over 10. For a player known for his consistency and death bowling prowess, this is surely a series he’d like to forget.
It was really encouraging to see Glenton Stuurman make his T20I debut, but it was disappointing that he was dropped after just one game, and not given another opportunity. It should be remembered it was his first international match, and away from home, nerves would be expected. International cricket has a steep learning curve and T20 internationals aren’t easy to make your debut as they are so fast paced and batsmen are looking for any opportunity to score and they would likely target the debutant, so he needs to be given more time. Hopefully he will be given another chance to play because that’s the only way he’ll learn and improve.
While South Africa did well to give Stuurman his debut, it was disheartening that others were not. Given that the T20 World Cup is just six months away, and in India, this was the perfect opportunity to give other, new players a chance, namely Ryan Rickelton. It is frustrating that they take these young players on tour, away from their franchises, to just sit on the bench or carry drinks. And yes, they say that being in the team environment is a benefit, but there’s only so much you can learn without being on the field. The quicker he gets into the playing XI, along with Kyle Verreynne, the quicker South Africa will be able to start building for the future.
For being such an inexperienced side, the players will have gained valuable experience from this series and can take the positives into the next series.
South Africa have a chance to settle the score when the teams meet again in a couple months’ time, this time in South Africa. That is sure to be a very exciting series, and will be interesting to see how Pakistan fare on the bouncy South African pitches.