Via Morne Morkel’s Column in ICC media
South Africa bounced back beautifully from the defeat to Australia with a brave win against the West Indies. It was an important game for them mentally. You can’t afford two defeats in a row in Group 1 of the Super 12s and they would’ve been very nervous about going up against a powerful West Indies side.
The Proteas executed very well with the ball, putting the West Indies under a lot of pressure and Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen were clinical with the bat.
You need one solid partnership to break the back of the chase and Rassie has been exceptional for the team since he came into the fold.
Aiden is maturing every game he plays. He is excellent in the field, adds a lot of value with the ball and is especially solid with the bat now. I’d like to see him bat at the top of the order in the near future but he has slotted in perfectly to that No.4 position and is doing a great job.
South Africa have a very dangerous bowling attack that covers all bases, good spin options and pace on the ball. I’m very impressed with Dwaine Pretorius executing through the tough, death overs. The luxury of having a bowling line-up like that is you can contain teams and defend totals.
When I won the 2014 IPL with Kolkata Knight Riders, our bowling could do that and that makes it easier to set up a winning blueprint and makes the captain’s job easier. Every time Reeza Hendricks puts on the Proteas shirt he plays his heart out and that showed against the West Indies. He has tons of first-class experience but had limited game time coming into the match, so to play like that – scoring 39 off 30 balls at the top – shows his quality.
So now South Africa turn their attention to Sri Lanka, who are playing some really good cricket and are definitely a dark horse in this tournament. They’ve got a good bowling attack and they chased down a high score of 172 to beat Bangladesh, so although they lost to Australia, it’s still going to be a huge challenge for the Proteas.
South Africa can take confidence from the fact they have played a lot of cricket against Sri Lanka and know what to expect from their spin bowlers, so they definitely have what it takes to come out on top.
It’s going to be a close game and will likely come down to the small margins and whoever does the basics well.