South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen in action
South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen turns one on the square during their chase of West Indies target of 144 at the Dubai International Stadium. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: The day began on an unusal note for South Africa when the playing XIs of the two sides were announced yesterday. Quinton de Kock, the most accomplished batsman in their line-up, had pulled out due to ‘personal reasons,’ in their Super-12 game — reasons which did not remain personal for too long.

However, new heroes emerges during their eight-wicket win against the West Indies — throwing the two-time champions’ campaign in jeopardy now. Two losses in as many matches and the teams still to play being Australia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, it’s difficult to see the Caribbeans salvage their campaign from here onwards.

If South Africa had looked undercooked while going down to Australia in their opening game in Abu Dhabi, they had plenty to take heart from their outing yesterday.

Skipper Temba Bavuma seemed to have come in with a gameplan to contain the free-stroking West Indians. Opening the attack with Kagiso Rabada was the part-time spin of Aiden Markram, and the ploy suddenly worked in the powerplay as the latter was able to contain openers Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons.


Lewis soon broke free through to get a blazing half-century but Proteas could still keep the pressure on with two quality spinners in the left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj. While Shamsi, the No.1 ranked bowler in T20s had been under a lot of scrutiny in recent times, the left-arm orthodox Maharaj often goes under the radar. A tight line and the flattish trajectory helped him contain the rival batsmen as wickets kept falling in regular intervals.

There had been enough concern about how the South African batting, which folded up for 118 against Australia, would hold up against a competent attack. However, opener Reeza Hendricks was unfazed by the early loss of his captain and along with Rassie van der Dussen, the duo played some mature, risk-free cricket to put up a valuable 57-run partnership for the second wicket and put their chase on track.

Batting leader

Aiden Markram, one of the two most experienced batsmen in this Proteas’ line-up along with David Miller in the absence of De Kock, played the role of a batting leader and reached a a well-desrved, unbeaten half-century.

Going ahead, it remains to be seen how Cricket South Africa manages to handle the situation arising out of De Kock’s pullout.

They have taken cognizance of the fact that the former captain did not take part in taking the knee — an action which goes against their directive of the symbolic stance against racism and discrimination.

It’s time for the rainbow nation to hold its own — not only for their campaign in this tournament on the short term but also for the future!