Andile Phehlukwayo. Picture: REUTERS/DINUKA LIYANAWATTE
Andile Phehlukwayo. Picture: REUTERS/DINUKA LIYANAWATTE

It is not often that a bowler says he enjoys bowling at the death but Andile Phehlukwayo is a different breed.

He is the go-to man for the Proteas to wrap up matches and on Sunday at the Wanderers he defended 15 runs in the final over to help SA to a seven-run win and an unassailable 2-0 series lead.

More importantly‚ Phehlukwayo is well aware that death bowling is not just a team effort‚ and it does not always come off.

“I always land up in those situations and I really do enjoy them‚” he said.

“Sometimes it won’t go your way and you’ll be criticised.  Sometimes things will go your way and it’s really nice when it does. When it doesn’t‚ you need to pick your head up‚ go back to the training ground and remember the times it went well for you,” he said.

“You also learn from the team that bowled first when you assess the conditions, but it’s important you learn from the team that bowls first. It’s an important factor.

“All the guys bowled well and Chris Morris’s over was very important because without those two wickets‚ Hussain Talat was going really well and was seeing the ball very well.”

Tight moments in a bi-lateral T20 game are far removed from a squeaky-bum pressure scenario in a crunch World Cup game and this is something Phehlukwayo understands.

However‚ it is also important to be armed with the knowledge of knowing how those moments should be dealt with should they arise. Sunday’s nail-biting moment was one of those and Phehlukwayo said he understood the need to take in and process those moments when they took place.

“It’s crucial that we go through these moments because these are the moments we’re going to come across in the World Cup with the big crowds.

“It’s a tough situation with the best team in the world so something like this will happen again. We’ll take it in and remember it and more often than not‚ if we have these types of situations and we win‚ then that’s good to remember the feeling. When it doesn’t go our way‚ we also have to remember the situations‚” Phehlukwayo said.

“It’s always nice to go back to the dressingroom‚ sit down and debate what could have gone right and wrong and at the end of the day‚ that’s the only thing you can control.”

Phehlukwayo turns 23 in March and knows he has still has got a lot to learn in the game. Being such a young and effective death bowler means he  is a fast learner and adapts quickly to match situations.

“I’ve learnt a lot of things but there are many aspects of my game that I still need to improve and I’m growing every day‚” he said. “We share information in the dressingroom and against the opposition. You grow a lot when you share and experience things on the field‚ especially when you’re playing a lot of cricket.

“The player I was three years ago and the player I am now there’s a lot of difference from a mental perspective but the capability and ability to perform is still there. Hopefully I can still grow and produce consistent performances and that’s what I can control. You have ups and downs but that’s how the cookie crumbles.”