Menís ODI WC: One thing we did well is we never lost wickets in clusters, says Rassie van der Dussen

by IANS |

Ahmedabad, Nov 11 (IANS) In the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup, South Africa haven’t had a great time batting second as compared to their batting first exploits. Barring a nervy one-wicket win over Pakistan, South Africa had been on the losing side in chases against Netherlands and India.

But at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday, South Africa successfully chased down 245 against Afghanistan and seal a five-wicket win in their last league match before semi-finals arrive. The successful chase was spearheaded by Rassie van der Dussen, who made an unbeaten 76 off 95 balls.

“Coming into this match, we wanted to put ourselves in that situation. So if we won the toss we would have bowled anyway, because we wanted to put ourselves in that situation, knowing that they've got a really strong spin attack especially. I think it was largely controlled. There were one or two nervy moments, but it's always in the chases like that.”

“You've just got to communicate well to the guys coming in. One thing we did well is we never lost wickets in clusters. Everyone that came in put up a bit of a partnership and ended it closer. By doing that, they were never really in the game. Even though it might have looked when we needed about 50-50, with five wickets in hand, you're going to get there nine times out of ten,” he said in the post-match press conference.

Even as Afghanistan continued to take scalps, van der Dussen was rock-solid and his patient approach ultimately paid off in acing the chase. He shared a stand of 50 runs with Aiden Markram while stitching a 43-run partnership with David Miller. He was also involved in an unbeaten 65-run partnership with Andile Phehlukwayo to take South Africa over the line in 47.3 overs.

“This innings was a bit like a chess match - with their spinners bowling at certain times and we knew the their three main spinners was the biggest threat and at stages we had to gear down a little bit.”

“The communication to Andile coming in there was they have to take wickets now so they're going to bowl their best bowlers now so tough it out. I gave him some good plans in terms of how the wicket was playing and he managed to get through that and then as soon as those three guys bowled out we knew we could target the other guys,” added van der Dussen.

South Africa’s next challenge in the World Cup, in all likelihood, will be playing against five-time champions Australia in the second semifinal at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday. The Proteas had won the previous meeting against Australia in the league stage by 134 runs in Lucknow.

But South Africa last appeared in the semifinal of the World Cup in 2015 and majority of the players haven’t got much experience of playing knockout matches. Van der Dussen admitted that Australia know the feeling of playing knockout cricket more, but backed his team to continue their winning mindset.

“I think it will probably be different in the sense that a lot of their guys have been in those situations before and have a good reference of how it is having won the World Cup and having played in the semi-final two (four) years ago. So, in terms of that, they'll probably know what it's about a bit more.”

“But it's on the day, it's what team rocks up, is switched on, and executes their plans. We came into this tournament knowing that if we get a chance to win, we need to win because we've missed out on semi-final spots by very small margins. It was the same - that second game against Australia, we came into that.”

“From the start it's been almost like a must-win type of mindset for us. So, I don't think too much will be different. It will be a good game; they're a great team. They've played a lot of cricket in the last few months. Some of the guys are playing well. Some of our guys are playing well and it's going to be a good game,” he concluded.

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