Shadab Khan of Pakistan celebrates the wicket of Andile Phehlukwayo of the Proteas during the 3rd KFC T20 International match between South Africa and Pakistan at SuperSport Park on February 06 2019 in Pretoria. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LEE WARREN
Shadab Khan of Pakistan celebrates the wicket of Andile Phehlukwayo of the Proteas during the 3rd KFC T20 International match between South Africa and Pakistan at SuperSport Park on February 06 2019 in Pretoria. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LEE WARREN

SA stand-in T20 captain David Miller has admitted that they were outsmarted by Pakistan during the powerplay in their 27-run defeat at SuperSport Park on Wednesday.

After the first six overs‚ Pakistan accelerated to score 50/2, while the Proteas stuttered out of the blocks with 24/2. That proved to be SA’s undoing as they were ultimately bowled out for 141 in chasing the par target of 169.

“We thought we would bowl first and chase the target down, but it didn’t work out and they were exceptional in the powerplay with the ball‚” said Miller‚ who was named player of the series‚ looking back at the defeat that denied SA a 3-0 T20 series whitewash.

“They managed to restrict us to 20-odd runs and it was similar with the batting where I think they scored 50-odd in the powerplay. They took us in the first six overs, but overall I am happy with the fight that the boys showed in the back end.

“[Chris] Morris played a special knock [55 not out] but obviously it was not enough as we lost too many wickets in the middle.”

Miller said powerplays  are important in T20 cricket because talented openers take advantage of the field restrictions to score boundaries that could take the game away.

“You can look at other‚ different parts of the game but definitely the first six overs make a massive difference in T20 cricket. Especially when there is a 30 runs-odd difference and you end up losing by 27 runs. There are lots of other moments in the middle and at the back end, but you set out the game nicely in the first six to dictate from there.

“To beat the No. 1-ranked T20 side in the world is a huge achievement even though the result on Wednesday was a bit disappointing. We will take a 2-1 series win and run with it and I am really proud of the boys.”

Miller dismissed the notion that the decision to bat second was the wrong one because there have only been two out of eight successful chases in T20s at SuperSport Park.

Fast bowler Beuran Hendricks‚ who returned with best bowling figures of 4/14‚ does not fancy his chances of making the World Cup squad.

“I am not looking that far ahead, for me it is just taking it one game at a time‚” said Hendricks.

“I have a certain set of skills that I like to put forward in games and there are different situations that require different skills. I have a different type of skill in the bowling attack, but I still have to put numbers on the board and perform.

“Over the past two years‚ I was hampered by injuries and I had to work hard to reach my current fitness level. It was more about making sure that I stay on the right path and work hard with the trainers where we set a fitness target.

“It is about just preparations and lots of hard work has gone into setting goals and trying to achieve them. I am fortunate that I am on a good run of form at the moment and hopefully it will continue into the domestic limited-overs season.”