By Wisden India staff in Mirpur
“He deserves all the credit he gets,” says South Africa captain about Virat Kohli
One of the major problems for South Africa was that India blunted Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir, their two high-impact bowlers, putting the rest under serious pressure.
“I think Imran bowled really well. His figures were good. Obviously from a tactical point of view they made sure not to give Imran wickets. When he does get wickets his tail is up and he bowls really well,” said du Plessis soon after the loss. “It’s hard to expect Dale every time to be a match-winner. He’s also human. He’s going to have days when he’s not just cleaning guys up. Dale bowled well tonight, but the batsmen were up to the task and they played him very well. You have to give credit to them. Dale and Imran are our danger men, and India’s batsmen handled them very well.”
A direct result of the pressure applied was the number of extras South Africa’s bowlers conceded, nine wides to be precise, and this was one area that du Plessis stressed on. “If you’re looking to win a World Cup, it’s really important that you do the small things and the basics well and that’s definitely one of the things tonight that was a real, not a match-changer, but it put us on the back foot. Nine extra balls, not just the extra run but you have to consider the amount of runs that they score from that extra ball,” he said.
“So you’re probably looking at a 15-20-run game swing just by bowling nine wides. You want to win close games, beat quality opposition like India, you’ve got to make sure those one per centers you do really well. When the pressure is really high, you can almost afford five wides but as soon as it goes to the nine-ten mark you’re under pressure from the word go. Unfortunate it didn’t happen for us today, you can’t blame the ball, it was just a little bit of ill discipline.”
While the extras certainly contributed, Kohli’s class was the clear difference between the two teams. “It was a fantastic knock, we all know how good Kohli is; he’s done it so many times. As a fielding captain or on the bowling side, you always know in the back of your mind that Virat is a real danger, a real threat,” said du Plessis. “So, we tried to get him out but tonight he was too good for us, he played a really good knock, paced the innings really well and he saw them home, so we have to give credit to him. He’s a really good batsman and he played some really good shots. He deserves all the credit he gets.”
Du Plessis also stuck to his guns about using AB de Villiers at the No. 5 position on the day, insisting that it was not so much about which position he batted in, but at what moment in the innings he went out to the middle. “As I said before the game, statistically AB is at his best when he comes in with ten overs to go. You might see him as our best batsman, but statistically he does better at that time,” said du Plessis. “He’s batted No. 3 a few times and his stats are not as good as when he comes in around the tenth over. For us, it’s very clear that he needs to bat in that time. Certainly tonight, myself and JP (Duminy) batted unbelievably quickly … could AB have batted quicker than that? I don’t know.”