T20 World Cup: We 'Stood Up' In Crunch Situations, Says Shamsi After SA's 4Th Straight Win

(MENAFN- IANS) Kingstown, June 15 (IANS) South Africa spinner Tabraiz Shamsi feels the team excelled in pressure situations in each of their group stage matches in the T20 World Cup. Proteas will enter the Super Eight Stage of the tournament with a four-match unbeaten streak after prevailing over Nepal in a thrilling encounter.

South Africa were under immense pressure to defend 115 against Nepal in St Vincent as the Asian nation fell just one run short of winning score. For Proteas, Shamshi scalped four-fer and was named Player of the Match.

“It's a little bit closer than we've needed it to be. It has been a bit different because we spent the whole day almost doing nothing and there (in New York), we'd be playing first thing in the morning," Shamsi said after the match.

"Moving forward some things may change. It's one of the big challenges of cricket, being open-minded and adapting.”

Group D saw South Africa emerge victorious in all their matches, yet their path to success was fraught with close encounters and low-scoring affairs. The tone was set in their opener against Sri Lanka, where they bowled out their opponents for a meagre 77 runs.

This was followed by a dramatic chase against the Netherlands, where South Africa recovered from a precarious 12 for 4 to chase down 104, and subsequent defences of 113 against Bangladesh and 115 against Nepal.

"We've been put under pressure in every single game and we have stood up to it," Shamsi said.

The struggles of South Africa's top order have been particularly glaring. Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, and Aiden Markram have collectively managed only 129 runs from 12 innings, averaging a paltry 10.75. This performance ranks them among the worst in the tournament, only surpassing the top orders of Uganda, Papua New Guinea, and Ireland. The match against Nepal brought this issue into sharp focus, as all seven wickets that fell were bagged by Nepalese spinners Dipendra Singh Airee and Khushal Bhurtel, exposing South Africa's old vulnerability to spin.

The Caribbean conditions necessitated a shift in strategy, away from their reliance on pace to embracing spin. Shamsi highlighted this shift, praising the fast bowlers for their efforts in New York but acknowledging that slower bowlers would need to take the lead in the Caribbean.

“Our fast bowlers did a great job in New York but our slower bowlers will have to take up the mantle now," he said.

South Africa had anticipated this, including three specialist spinners in their squad. However, they had only fielded one per game thus far, with Keshav Maharaj playing in New York and Shamsi in St Vincent. Markram conceded that both should have played against Nepal, hinting at a potential role for left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin, known for his new-ball exploits, in the Super Eight.

As South Africa advanced to the Super Eight, they carried the hopes of breaking their historical pattern of faltering in crunch moments. Shamsi's confidence in the team's unity and clarity of roles suggested a new-found belief. "When this team is rolling, everybody knows their roles," he concluded.



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