Pakistan in SA

Proteas to pack top-3 punch

2013-02-28 14:15
AB de Villiers (Gallo)
Durban – South Africa’s Twenty20 team plan to put many of their eggs into a top-order basket as they seek to move up from current mid-table status in the ICC rankings.

Be prepared to bob and weave if you’re in the Kingsmead crowd at the start of their innings as they begin the two-match T20 series against Pakistan here on Friday (18:00) ... the top three slots are expected to be occupied by a thumping alliance AB de Villiers, Henry Davids and captain Faf du Plessis, in that order.

Some might say it begs the question: how smartly will they be able to retain rhythm if a couple of quick wickets fall?

But a more positive view would be that the Proteas intend landing some power-punches at the crease immediately, and hoping to create irresistible impetus.

Du Plessis revealed the team’s intentions in that regard at a media briefing on Thursday, and quickly admitted to Sport24 that the De Villiers switch to opener – he will also keep wicket, at least for game one – was at least partly to create a new “Herschelle Gibbs” type of presence at the outset.

Strangely the unpredictable though clean-striking Gibbs, now 39 and a journeyman of the global T20 franchise circuit, seldom came off spectacularly at or near the top of the South African order in the format (he averaged 18 from 23 appearances) although he could strike fear into bowlers’ hearts when the mood grabbed him and more often provided front-end fireworks in the ODI arena.

“Yes, definitely. There’s only a handful of players in the world who can score centuries upfront,” said Du Plessis.

 “AB is a great striker of the ball – he can take a game away from the opposition as he’s good against both spinners and seamers; naturally a flair player.

“We just feel AB is one of the best batsmen in the world ... it’s a call we’re making just to see what we can get out of it with the next (ICC World Twenty20 tournament) in mind.

“You want your best players in as early as possible and AB is excited about the role.

“He plays proper shots at the top and will offer good balance to that opening partnership with Henry, who is more the guy who will take you on all the time.”

In his 44 T20 international appearances thus far, De Villiers has never yet batted higher than No 3, and most often at four. 

Asked about the limited-overs credentials of recent Test debut sensation Kyle Abbott, a local Dolphins favourite who seems near-certain to play on Friday, Du Plessis said: “Me knowing Kyle ... he’s obviously had a fantastic start to his Test career, but he also has a lot of skill in one-day cricket.

“I think we can be excited about what he’ll bring to the team – he’s obviously on a massive high with his confidence so he’s going to play a huge role in the coming month or so in the T20s and also the ODIs.

“We can really improve our bowling skills at the death, and here Kyle has been excellent in domestic cricket, so we will definitely use him there and see how he goes.

“He won’t offer anything in the top 7 from a batting point of view, but the nice thing is that he offers you something towards the end and can hit the ball over the rope – that’s also a crucial part of the game.”

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  pakistan in sa  |  ab de villiers  |  cricket
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Kallis stars in IPL opener

2014-04-16 21:03

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
35 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
06 July 2014
Sri Lanka v South Africa, Colombo 06:15
09 July 2014
Sri Lanka v South Africa, Pallekele International Cricket Stadium 11:00
12 July 2014
Sri Lanka v South Africa, Hambantota 06:15
Previous Results

Date Match Result
Vote

Pakistan have levelled their five-match ODI series against the Proteas. How do you see the series panning out?

 
 
Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.