Sixteenth over was turning point for South Africa: Duminy
Dharamsala : South African batsman Jean-Paul Duminy, who blunted the Indian attack with his match-winning knock, said the 16th over in which the visitors gathered 22 runs turned the opening T20 cricket match in their favour.
It was Duminy who went berserk and smashed left-arm spinner Axar Patel for three consecutive sixes in that over. His 34-ball 68 not out, laced with a four and 7 sixes, earned him Man of the Match award.
Duminy carried forward the good work done by openers Hashim Amla (36) and AB de Villiers (51) to the visitors a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
“The start was crucial for us. I think the key was that we did not lose wickets in the six overs. And the way AB and Hash (Amla) played was exceptional. The turning point was the 16th over. We tried to find a big over and that was 16th,” the left-hander, who hit his eighth T20 half-century, said after the match.
South Africa lost three wickets in quick succession after the openers put on a 77-run stand but Duminy then combined with Farhaan Behardien (32 not out) to stitch 105-run unbeaten partnership for the fourth wicket.
“We tried to stay in the moment and understand what was required at particular time. We have batted together a few times and our understanding has improved. The focus was to build partnership, the required run-rate was 14-15 at that time,” he said.
Duminy said he got into rhythm very quickly and playing well in the warm up game in Palam helped him in a big way.
“The warm-up played a big part. Having two months off, you want to start off with a bang. I enjoyed the break and the warm up game was my first in two months. I needed to read the ball quickly. That worked for me in this game,” he said.
Duminy said it was not a difficult decision to field after winning the toss here but said the spin of coin may not play a big role in the following games.
“We had a fielding practice in the night and we realised that there was lot of dew and it will be a factor in this match. We have always backed our bating line up to chase any total. Cuttack may not be the same but we made the right decision in the end.”
The 31-year-old said they are very much aware that India is a tough place but there are prepared for any challenge.
“In the last week, we spoke a lot about competing on this tour. We knew no matter whatever is thrown at us, we needed to have a counter punch. He (Rohit Sharma) played an exceptional innings but the way we came in last four overs was good for us. At one stage, we were looking at chasing 220 and that could have been a winning total for India.”
Dhoni praised spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Patel and also defended his choice of the bowlers for the match.
“If there is dew that puts pressure on spinners. I think our spinners did bowl really well. If you take that one over out, he (Patel) bowled really well. It happens in T20s if batsman is set even the good bowlers go for runs. He was very consistent with his line and length, I was happy apart from that one over.
“Aravind was not a surprise package, he has done well in T20s. Also he gives you variation in bowling being a left armer. It was also rewarding what he has done consistently in T20 format. The wicket did not support him much.”
Explaining his decision of leaving out leg-spinner Amit Mishra, Dhoni said, “About Mishra, you have to consider the top-7, where you can fit. Ideally you want six proper batsmen and 7th who can bowl a bit. We are playing five specialist bowlers, all of them are equally good, I don’t see any reason where I can drop one of the spinners and get unless I want to get rid of a specialist spinner.”