WT20 : Morris holds nerve to give Proteas last-ball win
The Oxigen Proteas leave it for the last over to beat India in a warm-up match
The Oxigen Proteas bowlers were given the perfect practice script in their last-ball four-run win against India in their ICC World T20 warm-up match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday. Chris Morris was tasked with defending 14 runs off the last over against MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, who are arguably the best finishing pair in world cricket, and held his nerve to give the Proteas the win and a positive start to preparations for the tournament.
A relieved Morris recalled the final over, and believes the match was a valuable practice session for the squad ahead of the tournament opener against England on Friday.
“We have our plans to each batsman,” he explained. “We do a lot of studying behind the scenes so it was a nice practice run, also very nerve-wrecking. We know how dangerous MS Dhoni can be, I have played against him a few times and we know he can clear the boundary quite easily. It was good practice and I was just happy I could nail parts of what I wanted to do in that last over. I’m happy the result went in our favour but it could have gone either way.”
The other standout bowlers were Dale Steyn ( 1/ 36) and Kyle Abbott (1/32), who made good use of the seam-friendly conditions, while Imran Tahir (1/25) excelled with his sturdy consistency. Proteas captain, Faf du Plessis, highlighted the struggles the bowlers have faced while defending totals in the last series against Australia, and would have been proud of the progress shown, although there is still room for improvement.
Earlier, JP Duminy top-scored with 67 off 44 balls to make a significant return to form, while Quinton de Kock continued with his purple patch to smash 56 off 33 balls before retiring out. The pair put on a 77-run third-wicket partnership, after the early departures of Hashim Amla and Du Plessis. The rest of the line-up chipped in with cameos to lift the Proteas to 196 after South Africa won the toss and elected to bat.
AB de Villiers and Kagiso Rabada were rested for the match, which also saw Aaron Phangiso bowl his first over of international cricket since the adjustment to his action. South Africa play their second and final warm-up match against a local team on Tuesday at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai.