South African spinner admits that the team might need to take a look at some of the decisions it took against Pakistan
Robin Peterson bowled a wonderful spell of controlled, sometimes exceptional, left-arm spin bowling to take 2 for 15 from his four overs, but his heroics weren’t enough for South Africa to snatch victory against Pakistan in the ICC World Twenty20 Group 2 Super Eights clash.
Pakistan was in all kinds of trouble at 76 for 7, chasing 134 for victory, when Umar Gul, known more for his bowling skills, struck a bruising 32 to steer his team home. Peterson was understandably disappointed that his team hadn’t gotten over the line – Pakistan squeaked home by two wickets – but he chose to give credit where it was due.
“You have got to give credit to Umar Gul,” he said. “It’s not every day that someone plays a special innings like that, and that too under pressure. A lot of credit must go to the way they played as well. There was a lot of pressure on them. Gul played an incredible knock. He caught us surprise and things went his way tonight.”
Peterson was asked if South Africa who went in with two specialist spinners in himself and Johan Botha, ought to have bowled more overs of spin or included more spinners. “I think it was enough personally, to be honest,” he said of the number of slow bowlers AB de Villiers had at his disposal. “We had three of them. JP Duminy is quite an experienced T20 bowler. Hindsight is the perfect thing. It’s difficult to say if we could have bowled Johan more (Botha bowled just two overs).
“AB made the calls at the time, brought on the bowlers at the time that he thought were going to make an impact. It’s difficult to say. We just stuck to our game plans tonight. Maybe we need to revisit one or two things and sort of move forward from here.”
South Africa was set back by losing three wickets inside the Power Play overs. “I thought JP and Farhaan (Behardien) batted beautifully, put us in a position from where we could actually set a challenging total,” said Peterson. “We knew the wicket was going to get a little bit slower. We thought what we posted tonight was going to be slightly below par but we knew we were in with a chance to sort of defend that.”
South Africa’s propensity to buckle under pressure is bound to come up every time the team stumbles to defeats of this nature. “It’s probably something that has plagued us in the past,” Peterson said. “But this is a different tournament, another opportunity to get it right. We are doing things a little bit differently behind the scenes, so hopefully things will go better for us in this tournament. We are obviously disappointed by the result but we still have two games to go.”
South Africa must win its remaining two games to make a serious pitch for a semi-final spot. Next up for it, on Sunday afternoon, is Australia, with India its final Group 2 opponent on Tuesday night.