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Turning loss into gain: Five lessons SA can take from the T20 into the ODI series

Turning loss into gain: Five lessons SA can take from the T20 into the ODI series

The T20 series against Australia brought with it plenty of lessons for South Africa’s one-day team. The five-match ODI series is only due to start on Friday, and ANTOINETTE MULLER picks five lessons the one-day team can take from their loss in the T20 games.

On the surface, other than the colourful clothing, Twenty20 cricket and one-day cricket don’t have much in common. T20 is brash and in-your-face and the one-day format is having an identity crisis. Observed in smaller nuggets, though, many lessons transcend the two formats. From building stable partnerships to bowling under pressure, the two formats offer teams a chance to scratch the surface and assess their weaknesses.

South Africa lost their third and final T20 against Australia on Sunday, after being hammered in the second match on Friday.

Having got off to a good start against Australia on Sunday, South Africa fell away towards the latter part of the innings. They went from 88-2 after 11.1 overs to managing just 145-6 in 20 overs and the most reliable bowler of the series, Wayne Parnell, had a bad day at the office. South Africa lost a thriller by two wickets with just one ball remaining.

For both teams, the series offered fringe players the opportunity to stake a claim ahead of the one-day series due to start on Friday. For South Africa in particular, it exposed the weaknesses they already knew they had. As the preparation for the World Cup kicks into high gear, here are five considerations the ODI squad can take from the T20 series loss.

The David Miller question still lingers

David Miller simply can’t seem to catch a break. On Sunday, he was promoted up the order and given time to settle with just under nine overs to go. Miller’s role, usually as a “finisher”, has changed quite often, but he has never quite lived up to expectations. Even when batting higher up, he showed all the right signs of playing a blitzkrieg innings, but he’s yet to play that one big innings in international cricket that becomes a turning point in his career. Miller is part of the one-day team and will get plenty of opportunity to prove why he should be part of the squad, but if he fails yet again, it might be time to consider a change.

Kyle Abbott needs to move away from the fringes

Kyle Abbott is considered to be one of South Africa’s best death bowlers and he led the attack in the T20 series with great chutzpah. Yet he remains on the fringes of the limited overs team. Abbott finished the series with four wickets at an average of 14.50 and an economy rate of 5.89, and surely can worm his way into the one-day team during the course of the upcoming series. With death bowling being such a massive problem for South Africa, Abbott’s ability to land the perfect yorker time and time again could be a great asset and if the purpose of the upcoming series is to test out combinations, then Abbott has to be given a chance to prove his worth in the one-day format.

Reeza Hendricks makes his opportunity count

Despite making a duck on debut, Reeza Hendricks soon proved why he is rated as one of the future stars of South African cricket. His 49 off 48 in the third T20 showed that he had the patience to play the anchor role when required and he knows exactly how to combine boundary hitting with building a partnership. While his Knights teammate Rilee Rossouw has been given the nod ahead of him, Hendricks could very well oust Roussouw from the back-up batting soon, provided he keeps on performing on the domestic circuit.

JP Duminy will be missed

JP Duminy has been ruled out of the one-day series with a knee injury and has been instructed to rest for at least six weeks. Farhaan Behardien has been ushered into the squad as a replacement, but Duminy’s absence adds a whole new selection dilemma to South Africa’s batting conundrum. Duminy has become the go-to all-rounder over the last few months, with his spin offering South Africa an extra bowling option and an extra dimension to the team. The batting line-up is already thin, with Ryan McLaren at seven and the struggling David Miller at six. They will have a tough time in the one-day series against Australia. It will mean that five bowlers will each have to bowl ten overs and the pressure on the top order will be far greater. Duminy will recover from his injury before the World Cup, but this is exactly the kind of challenge South Africa needs in order to test their depth.

David Wiese might still muscle his way into the side

With Duminy’s absence in mind, David Wiese could yet muscle his way into the one-day team. If you had not seen him bat prior to the T20 on Sunday, you probably wouldn’t consider Wiese to be an all-rounder, but he has had a solid domesitc career. He averages 38.29 on first-class cricket and just over 34.00 in List A cricket. A strike-rate of 114.16 also adds to his reputation as being a lower order hitter. He might not replace Duminy, but he could be a pragmatic replacement for Miller. DM

Photo: South Africa’s Kyle Abbott bowls during a practice session ahead of their first test cricket match against Sri Lanka in Galle July 15, 2014. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

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