Home > Features >

South Africa’s tactical blunders against India cost them in ICC World T20 2014 semi-final

By the time Dale Steyn (centre) was brought back into the attack in the 15th over, India had already got into a relatively comfortable situation © AFP
By the time Dale Steyn (centre) was brought back into the attack in the 15th over, India had already got into a relatively comfortable situation © AFP

Yet another of South Africa’s campaigns in an ICC tournament ended in the knock-out stage. Abhishek Mukherjee tries to find out where things went wrong for South Africa.

Following their home debacle against Australia, few people had really expected South Africa to win the ICC World T20 2014, given the fact that it was played in Bangladesh. But then, few people had given them a chance in the inaugural ICC KnockOut Trophy in 1998 (now the Champions Trophy) in the same country, and they had clicked.

When they lost their first match of the tournament against Sri Lanka by a mere three runs, it seemed that the old ghosts were back to torment them: as usual, they cannot handle pressure — was the verdict. They turned things around afterwards: a fiery spell from Dale Steyn helped snatch a two-run victory from New Zealand; a surprisingly rampant Netherlands was stopped by Imran Tahir, resulting in a six-run win; and England was dished out a three-run defeat as well.

It seemed that South Africa had found a way around the usual hurdles.

But then, they came up to an all-conquering behemoth called Virat Kohli: clinical in approach, jaw-dropping in strokeplay, and disdainful in attitude, he helped India pull off what turned out to be a rather easy win in the semi-final at Mirpur: the first South African win in a knockout match world-tournament (World Cup or ICC World T20) remained elusive.

Where did South Africa go wrong on April 4? Let us try to examine:

Not picking Aaron Phangiso

It is difficult to say whether Phangiso’s selection would have made things different, but on hindsight it seems that the selection of Beuran Hendricks was probably an error: in the previous match against England, Hendricks had gone for 50 runs off his four overs.

Phangiso is certainly no Rangana Herath or Shakib Al Hasan, but memories of his match-winning performance against New Zealand at St George’s Park last season on an unhelpful track did make the fans hopeful. He may have tested the Indian batting line-up as well, who have three right-hand batsmen at the top, and Yuvraj Singh, scheduled to bat at No 4, has never been a great player of spin.

Hendricks did a decent job, but the wickets he picked up [those of Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina] were certainly not earned.

Picking de Kock and getting him to open

The selection of Quinton de Kock had probably more to do with his form against India in December 2013 than anything else. Prior to the semi-final, he had scored 56 runs at 14.50 and a strike-rate of 95.1. The numbers do not make you confident, but the team management stuck to the youngster.

The youngster’s poor form continued: de Kock almost inside-edged the third ball to the stumps and fell the next ball.

Holding de Villiers back

AB de Villiers could have done a Kohli on April 4: he had decimated England the previous day with a 28-ball 69; instead, he found himself coming out with a shade over six overs left. Given his impeccable technique against spinners, Faf du Plessis was probably the right man to walk out at No 3, but holding de Villiers back till late in the innings was hardly logical.

One may have argued that MS Dhoni had Ravichandran Ashwin ready the moment de Villiers would come out to bat: “Ravichandran Ashwin was brilliant. We kept him back for AB de Villiers. We didn’t want to give him pace,” said Dhoni in the post-match presentation.

Playing according to the opposition’s strategy is not a bad thing to do — but creating your strategy and make the opposition respond to it is probably the better idea. De Villiers may have played out Ashwin’s initial overs, then got his eye in and launched a furious onslaught to take the score past the 200-run mark. Had he walked out in the sixth over at the fall of Hashim Amla’s wicket, it was a possible option.

Opening the bowling with JP Duminy and Albie Morkel

With two strokeplayers at the top, it was a good idea to get two slow bowlers to deliver the goods for you: the problem was in the fact that JP Duminy’s economy rate in T20Is was 7.58 before the match, and Albie Morkel’s, 8.19. An experiment with Duminy was still acceptable, but after he conceded 14 in the first over getting Morkel on was logic-defying.

Morkel ended up conceding nine more; and India were away.

Holding Steyn back

With India on 80 for two after 10 overs (28 had come off the last five) and a new batsman [Yuvraj] at the crease, one would probably have expected Steyn to be brought back. Instead, du Plessis brought back Duminy, playing into Kohli’s hands; he was hit for a six first ball by Kohli and the pressure was lifted.

By the time Steyn was brought back in the 15th over, Yuvraj had got his eye in.

Changing Steyn’s ends

With Tahir picking up Yuvraj, India required 40 from the last four overs. The match was certain to go for a close finish; it seemed obvious that Steyn should be given as much bowling as possible (the general thumb-rule is, barring exceptional circumstances, the best bowler should always get the penultimate over; otherwise the match may have been decided before the final over starts).

Instead, du Plessis summoned Wayne Parnell, and Raina, albeit aided by some fortunate edges, put South Africa out of the match in that single over.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

West Indies tour of India 2014, Practice match

Oct 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Mumbai

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Brisbane

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014  at Bengaluru

Barbados won by 6 wkts (D/L method)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014  at Bengaluru

Perth Scorchers won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 29, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 36 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Hobart Hurricanes won by 6 wkts

Photos

KKR vs Dolphins, CLT20 2014

Videos

Arjuna Ranatunga shares his views on U-19 cricket

Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka Live Cricket Score Asian Games 2014 semi-final: Rain interrupts play

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Hobart Hurricanes, 1st Semi final, CLT20 2014: Hobart likely XI

Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings, 2nd Semifinal, CLT20 2014: CSK likely XI

Gandhi Jayanti: Mahatma Gandhi’s cricket connections and an XI

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK), 2nd Semifinal, CLT20 2014: KXIP likely XI

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Barbados Tridents Cape Cobras Champions League T20 2014 CLT20 CLT20 2014 Dolphins India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab KKR vs Dolphins Kolkata Knight Riders

Australia undergo grueling practice session ahead of UAE tour

Live Scorecard: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Hobart Hurricanes, 1st Semi final, CLT20 2014

Live Cricket Score: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Hobart Hurricanes, 1st Semi final, CLT20 2014

Live Streaming: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Hobart Hurricanes, 1st Semi final, CLT20 2014

HPCA still awaits security clearance for India-West Indies 4th ODI

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), CLT20 2014 2nd semi-final: Key battles

Australia’s ODI team faces a dilemma for the first time in 30 years

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Hobart Hurricanes, 1st Semi final, CLT20 2014: Hobart likely XI

Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings, 2nd Semifinal, CLT20 2014: CSK likely XI

Gandhi Jayanti: Mahatma Gandhi’s cricket connections and an XI

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

671 Posts | 6 Fans

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab- Final Match Highlights from IPL 2014

iOS 8 reportedly causing Bluetooth connectivity issues: Report

Internet in Iran, a daily struggle against censorship

Asian Games 2014: Indian men’s kabaddi team in 7th consecutive final

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), CLT20 2014 2nd semi-final: Key battles

NGOs pursue education for all

Devotees perform Kumari puja across Bengal

Ebola in Liberia: First staffer dies of ‘probable’ Ebola, says UN

Bang Bang movie review: Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif’s chemistry makes this action flick worth watching!

Revealed: Sonam Kapoor looking daintier than ever for Prem Ratan Dhan Payo!

Asian Games 2014 Live Updates: Defending Champions India through to Kabaddi Finals of both men and women events respectively

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here