In bilateral T20I cricket, no team has ever won more than 12 consecutive games.
The beauty of the game’s smallest version is that anything is possible and often happens.
This is what South Africa will be contemplating after their top order was completely destroyed in bowler-friendly circumstances in the opening T20I match against India on Wednesday night at Greenfield Stadium.
They will be aware that being reduced to 9/5 is an exception rather than the rule.
The biggest concern going into Sunday’s second T20I in Guwahati is that it will follow a record-low T20I total of 87 from the Proteas’ last trip to India.
Furthermore, their inability to cope with seam and swing is proving to be their downfall rather than the customary lack of acumen against the turning ball.
When hero Jasprit Bumrah was forced to withdraw from the series due to injury this week, India hardly missed a beat since they had recently managed to assemble such a formidable collection of seam bowlers.
Furthermore, they have the resources to rely on individuals like Deepak Chahar, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, and Mohammed Siraj while resting attack leaders Bhuvuneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami.
Despite T20I cricket’s dependence on numbers and combinations that determine outcomes, the fundamental idea of a strong start in the Powerplay still holds true. And for South Africa to advance through their innings, they just need to figure out how to handle the new ball.
The Proteas left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who unexpectedly scored the most runs in the first game with 41, said, “I don’t think we want to linger too much on what has happened, but it is something that we can address moving ahead and maybe we can fix that.”
“I believe that there is a problem with the new ball and the way we are using it. There is a lot of swing, so maybe we should modify our strategies and outlook before moving forward.
“I really believe we need to reevaluate the application we displayed up front and find strategies to counter the swing,” the speaker said.
A solution may be found halfway between choosing the appropriate folks and having the proper aptitude.
Reeza Hendricks’ exclusion from the starting XI went somewhat against the grain, even though coach Mark Boucher and captain Temba Bavuma had stated in the lead-up to the match that they were trying to work out combinations ahead of this month’s T20 World Cup and would, therefore, be moving around some of the players.
The Lions’ opening batsman is in the best shape of his life. He has scored four half-centuries in his previous five Twenty20 internationals, and he continued this trend in Namibia’s Global T20, where he contributed 77, 31, 55, and 94* in four matches.
And everyone is aware that it is ideal to ride the wave all the way to the finish when the tide is flowing in your favor in this way.
Of course, Bavuma’s comeback from injury has to be accommodated, but Quinton de Kock’s opportunity to step down from his position is quickly coming.
With just a week left until the international jamboree Down Under, De Kock has to do something radical to get himself back in gear. It may prompt a double move, with Heinrich Klaasen moving into the middle-order and perhaps jeopardizing young Tristan Stubbs’ middle-order berth.