Proteas, Aussies set to dish up a humdinger
A limited-overs series is once more decided in the final game
It is amazing what pulling off a stunning victory will do for a team.
The Proteas scraped the bottom of the performance barrel on Friday at The Wanderers, but mustered up enough resolve to outflank Australia in Port Elizabeth a few days later.
A mouthwatering T20 series finale has now been set up for a hot Newlands on Wednesday evening.
Once again‚ in the SA summer‚ a limited-overs series will be decided in the final game and SA will hope to be on the winning side this time round.
Proteas assistant coach Enoch Nkwe hopes the team will be able to channel the accuracy and confidence from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.
SA reined Australia in to a point where the win at St George’s Park looked far more comfortable than it should have been.
However‚ it was a wonderful win from a side that was soundly beaten in Johannesburg.
“It does help to win and go into the finale with this group of guys,” said Nkwe.
“Things could have been worse‚ but we have a lot more confidence and the win has put us in a position of strength going into Wednesday’s game and take it like a knockout game‚” Nkwe said.
“We won on a coastal wicket in Port Elizabeth. By the looks of things‚ the wicket here may be similar‚ which will help with our confidence.”
Nkwe understands the deflating and disappointing nature of the T20 defeat on Friday, when SA surrendered the game without much fight. But he’s happy that the quick turnaround between matches gives them little time to reflect on that hammering.
“We were honest with ourselves after Johannesburg. We had a deep‚ honest chat in Port Elizabeth in terms of where we’re at as a squad.
“After that poor performance‚ we did accept that we let ourselves down. But there’s always an opportunity as T20 does not give you too much time to dwell on negatives‚” Nkwe said.
“You have to be professional enough to put behind you what went wrong‚ be able to look at what we got right and be able to find the confidence to fix what went wrong.
“It was a matter of change of mind-set and approach while instilling belief and confidence in the group for them to just play.”
Temba Bavuma’s fitness is still an issue‚ but Nkwe has seen it as an opportunity to give other players a run and test combinations before October’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
Bavuma’s absence from both T20s allowed for Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen to be tried out as openers.
“You can look at that perspective and say they have been missed‚ but we have good enough players who are flexible enough to bat in different positions.
“We’ve looked at it as an opportunity to see who are the other players who can adapt to different positions‚” Nkwe said.
“We know we’ve got a World Cup coming so we have to try different combinations to see what works out. In saying that‚ Temba has been playing well. Hopefully‚ he’ll be back in the mix as soon as possible.”