ICC World Twenty20
Kirsten happy with progress
Cape Town - Proteas’ coach Gary Kirsten is satisfied with the progress the T20 squad is making ahead of their ICC World Twenty20 challenge.
The Proteas won their warm-up match against New Zealand by nine runs on Monday, and have made steady improvements since preparations began in June earlier this year.
“It was a very good exercise for us,” Kirsten said after the win. “I said from the outset that the importance of our tour to Zimbabwe was to play more warm-up games to get a feel for what our combinations are and what our strategies are going to be.
“I think we definitely got a lot closer to that, we move into the tournament and it’s really about getting our thinking and execution right in the moments that count.”
The win was highlighted by the Proteas’ finishing, with both the batsmen and the bowlers taking it away from the opposition in the dying overs. Albie Morkel (15 off 4 balls) and Farhaan Behardien (24 off 12 balls) scored 24 runs off the last seven balls of the innings to lift the Proteas to 186. At the other end Dale Steyn’s three wickets for five runs in the 18th over took New Zealand out of the game.
“I’m glad we had a close game and we had to defend a score, it worked out really well from that perspective,” Kirsten said.
“I think our execution was fairly good throughout the game, Taylor came in and played a good knock, for us it’s about being clearer in those situations about what each bowler is looking to do, and giving himself the best chance to set that up right.”
The coaching staff’s decision to open with Faf du Plessis and Richard Levi had a two-pronged effect, according to Kirsten.
“Faf (du Plessis) has done well in the IPL batting at the top of the order, so we wanted to give ourselves some options at the top. He also wanted to get in batting a little bit, he is a great player and he hasn’t had much chance to bat over the last month or so. He played nicely so I was pleased with that.
“They played the spin well,” Kirsten said about his openers. “That is something that we worked a lot on. We had four overs of spin upfront in the power play and that’s going to be important in this tournament. Each guy has done a lot of thinking of how he want to play spin and there were some good signs.”