Bangladesh vs South Africa | Tuesday 07 July | Dhaka | 09:00
Bangladesh and South Africa meet again in Dhaka for the second scheduled T20 of the tour. The Proteas eased to victory in the first contest but the task looked a difficult one at the turn of the innings. The sides were greeted by an exceptionally dry surface in Mirpur that offered no pace and only turn in patches, making run scoring tough and forcing seamers to employ a high degree of variation. Much the same is expected a mere two days later and Bangladesh will need to value their wickets more highly. The loss of them proved the difference between the two sides on Sunday.
To Win Match
South Africa 2/7
Although Bangladesh have made great strides in closing the gap between themselves and the Test playing nations, especially in the limited overs form of the game, the gulf between the Tigers and Proteas remains a significant one. This is especially true in T20 cricket, where Shakib Al Hasan is the only Bangladeshi to have made a real impact internationally. In order to counteract the deficiency in quality and experience, Bangladesh aim to play a fearless brand of cricket reliant on a solid team ethic. This was evident in patches in the opening T20. Bangladesh certainly did not die wondering in their chase of South Africa’s 148 and came out looking to dominate the bowling from the first ball. A plan to take advantage of the powerplay didn’t quite pay off and from there Bangladesh may have benefitted from slightly more conservative shot selection. They immediately looked to dominate the spinners and took eleven from Aaron Phangiso’s first over but from there Bangladesh lost their way. They didn’t handle Phangiso and Duminy as well as they would’ve planned and found themselves all out for 96 with just about an over to spare. Bangladesh would’ve felt they had a great chance of victory at the turn of the innings, having restricted South Africa to what looked to be a par score. Bangladesh employed their spinners during the powerplay and switched to their tricky seamers to choke the run-rate, well backed up by an energetic fielding performance. In the end, Bangladesh let themselves down with the bat and will be hoping for a big improvement in this area.
Faf du Plessis skippered the Proteas in spite of a broken finger not fully healed and top-scored with 79 not out, the only batsman to record a half-century in the match. He looked sharp and composed and was the anchor for South Africa to build their innings, providing a perfect illustration of leading by example. He found himself at the crease in the second over after South Africa lost AB de Villiers and although du Plessis began to tire as a result of having to sprint through for many of his runs in oppressive humidity, the South African captain made sure his side reached a competitive score. It was always going to be a difficult chase for Bangladesh due to the nature of the pitch, yet at the turn of innings there were still some doubts surrounding a South African triumph. With such a slow surface and an inexperienced attack, the worry was that the South African seamers would not adapt to the pitch. With the exception of Wayne Parnell, bowling full pace on a length, the rest of the attack brought their length back and varied their pace with aplomb. The spin contingent benefitted from the pressure created and flighted their deliveries, looking to find some grip from the crumbling surface. David Wiese was a tough customer with his leisurely cutters and his introduction spelled the end for Bangladesh. The experiment of opening the innings with AB de Villiers didn’t pay off but is perhaps a strategy worth persisting with in the short term.
As discussed, the pitch in Dhaka is not one conducive to a free-flowing game of T20 cricket. It is a tricky surface that makes singles and twos vitally important and muscling the ball to the boundary the one way to alleviate the pressure. Seam bowlers need a varied arsenal while spinners will rely on flight and awkward length. 150 is the par score usually but with the surface in the state it is, teams will feel that anything above 135 is worth defending. There is an 80% chance of rain in Dhaka with most of it likely to fall in the afternoon.
VERDICT: South Africa 2/7
The Proteas showed their ability to adapt to the perils of the subcontinent and their experience was telling in the first T20 in Dhaka. I expect some change in personnel, especially in the bowling department, but that shouldn’t affect the result of the match. However, should Beuran Hendricks be included in the starting lineup he’s well worth a punt to be Top South African Bowler at 9/2 and adds a bit of value to the day considering South Africa are priced up short favourites.