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Rob Walter is hoping his bowlers can face some pressure situations at the 'death' of the innings. Picture: RICHARD HUGGINSGALLO IMAGES
Rob Walter is hoping his bowlers can face some pressure situations at the 'death' of the innings. Picture: RICHARD HUGGINSGALLO IMAGES

The Proteas are not satisfied that their bowlers have been put under enough pressure at the T20 World Cup, but with Nepal their next opponents it’s likely they won’t be properly tested again until the Super Eights phase. 

Although having to defend 113 runs against Bangladesh and having that match go down to the last over created some stress, it is not the kind head coach Rob Walter believes they will face in the latter stages of the tournament. 

“There were certain areas that the games never led us to, like a ‘death phase’ where two set batters are putting us under pressure,” said Walter.

Bangladesh got close, but Kagiso Rabada broke the crucial partnership between Mahmudullah and Towhid Hridoy at the start of the 18th over in SA’s previous group match. By the time Keshav Maharaj started the 20th over, he was bowling to a new batter in Jaker Ali. 

Leaving aside Maharaj’s three full tosses, which Bangladesh’s batters failed to hit, SA’s bowling in the last four overs of that match deserved a tick. Ottniel Baartman did an excellent job, conceding just seven runs in the penultimate over, leaving Maharaj to defend eleven.

But Walter’s desire for a more stressful “death” period for the bowlers is understandable. “World cricket has shown that if you have two set batters on a good wicket, then it is a really tough thing to manage, so we want to be able to brush up on that.”

Nepal are unlikely to allow room for that aspect of SA’s game to be improved. In their only completed match in the group stages, the Nepalese were bowled out for 106 by the Netherlands. Against SA’s high-powered attack, even in conditions which won’t be as favourable to seam-bowling, as was the case in New York, Nepal shouldn’t be a threat. 

Rather, those pressure moments Walter is looking for will most likely arise in the Super Eights.

The Proteas held two training sessions at Arnos Vale Stadium on Thursday, one in the morning and the other in the evening under lights.

The venue in St Vincent has hosted just two T20 Internationals, both in 2013, and has not been used in the Caribbean Premier League. The last international match there was a Test in 2014. But players from the Dutch and Bangladesh teams, who play there, seemed pleased to be playing at a proper cricket venue after the problems experienced by all the batters in New York. 

Although pleased that the Proteas have secured qualification for the Super Eight phase, Walter is more interested in how his team — especially the top-order batters — perform against Nepal on Saturday (1.30am SA time) than what awaits next week. 

“I want the players to respond to the conditions in front of them and figure out a method to win, which I think we did well in New York,” he said. 

“There are three massive games in the Super Eights in five days, with travel in between. That is going to be a massive week. The pressure won’t get less from here.”

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