South Africa in New Zealand 2011-12 February 27, 2012

SA 'comfortable' after early successes - Duminy


With the ghosts of the 2011 World Cup quarter-final nearly exorcised, JP Duminy has described South Africa's position as "comfortable", ahead of what could be the series-deciding ODI in Napier. South Africa won the preceding three-match Twenty20 series, pulling off a spectacular win in the third game in Auckland, and hold a 1-0 lead in the ODI rubber.

The two previous wins on tour have been wrested from difficult, high pressure situations, situations in which South Africa have historically shown a tendency to crumble. On this trip, so far, they have proved themselves capable of overcoming. "There were a few nervy moments but we got through it, which is a good thing," Duminy said of the first ODI. "The situation called for a bit of pressure to be absorbed and [for us to] express ourselves at the end, which we did nicely."

After keeping New Zealand to 253 for 9, South Africa stumbled to 35 for 3, needing cool heads and a partnership to return to solid ground. Duminy subsequently shared in a 90-run stand with AB de Villiers, to put the team in a winning position.

He credited de Villiers with seeing him through the difficulties at the crease, with swing in the air and New Zealand gearing up for their usual scrap. "If it wasn't for AB, I probably would have thrown it away," Duminy said.

Duminy's 46 came off 74 balls and he looked far from the confident player who had dictated proceedings during the Twenty20s. Instead of middling the ball, he found the edge more often but survived only to offer Rob Nicol a return-catch off the leading edge just short of a fighting half-century. "It's a bit difficult to explain what happened," Duminy said. "My preparations going into the first ODI were pretty good. I was hitting the ball nicely."

His tentative approach in Wellington, he said, was a result of circumstances rather than uneasiness. "The situation was different [from the Twenty20], I had a bit more freedom to play my natural game in the Twenty20," Duminy said. "I knew I just had to knuckle down and bat time, and if I got through that initial period, we'd be okay."

Duminy hopes for a more authoritative stint at the crease in Napier, which has been talked off as a pitch packed with runs. "I've heard it's a good batting track, so we'll have to put a solid total on the board if we bat first, and chase it down well if we bat second," he said.

What he doesn't know is where he will feature in the batting order. South Africa have stuck to rotating their No. 4 batsman, using de Villiers, Duminy and Faf du Plessis in the role. So far, all three have thrived there and Duminy appears to be taking steps to make it his own, but understands there is no guarantee he will continue to bat there. "I am enjoying the position. I prefer to bat at No. 4 but I've been batting No. 5 for most of my ODI career," he said. "If the opportunity arises more in the future, hopefully I can grab it with both hands."

Despite the changing nature of the South Africa line-up, Duminy said the team is settling into a good rhythm and want to close out the series on Wednesday. "We've got a bit of momentum behind us now, so hopefully we can knock the series off in the next game," he said.

There may not be much of a crowd to witness the match, certainly not as many as there were during the Twenty20, but Duminy said the low-key atmosphere was not an issue for South Africa. "We create our own intensity out there," he said. "There's a bit of a better atmosphere if there are more people in the stadium, but we are professional enough to create our own atmosphere in the field and that's what we thrive on."

Edited by Nikita Bastian

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 1, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    The game should be on "SMASHED EM BRO" because "SA SMASHED NZ BRO"

  • Tso on February 28, 2012, 7:26 GMT

    I can't help but feel that JP will produce very important knock in the up-coming ODI tommorow. I don't think that this New Zealand team has got the bowlers to restrict the Proteas to a total under 300, given the current form of the NZ bowlers. The Proteas only need Amla and Smith to fire at the top, then the rest of the batting line up can demolish the likes of the mediocre Southee and Franklin. Can't wait for tommorow :-)

  • Dummy4 on February 28, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    @ Spelele - It is so obvious your knowledge of cricket is seriously lacking. NZ are maybe not as packed with talent as the Proteas, but to call them a third rate team is disrespectful. They pushed SA hard in all but 1 game, sure we won the first ODI comfortably in the end, but only after soaking up lots of pressure. Please refrain from posting such stupid comments. btw, motions not emotions??

  • Kevin on February 28, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    @ Spelele, if SA are miles ahead of the kiwis why did they struggle for so long to win a game in which they clearly had the better of the overhead conditions? The ball swung for SA bowlers but not for the NZ bowlers. If you think Mills, Southee and Bracewell can't swing the ball, you are in for a nasty surprise. From what I saw, the seam presentation from the NZ bowlers was as good as that from SA, it was only the atmospheric conditions that had changed, stopping the ball from swinging. If NZ had bowled first, SA would probably have lost. Even NZ batsmen can hit straight deliveries for six! I think NZ did well to post 250 given the early movement they faced. Lets see how SA go against the moving ball. If NZ bowlers get the same swing conditions I think they will do better with it than the SA bowlers did.

  • Girik on February 28, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    @Spelele, you do realise cricket fans outside RSA can also insult your country in a rude way. If the Kiwis want to they can mention the word "choker" in every single comment they write. But they don't unless a choke actually happens. Please give more respect to them. If the actual Saffer players also have this much disrespect for other teams, they won't get into the World T20 final yet again.

  • Duncan on February 27, 2012, 20:02 GMT

    Come on @Spelele that is not in the spirit of cricket, and anyway wont you look silly if SA lose the next two? Not that I want them to lose, I want nothing more than for SA to crush the NZ team's spirit through good play, while being real gents about it at the same time!

  • Dummy4 on February 27, 2012, 18:48 GMT

    @ Spelele.......U should really look deep into the matches before saying that the kiwis are just a 3rd rate team.....They beat the proteas In the 1st t20......They had it in the bag in the 3rd one too(If it was not for jesse ryder) And also remember that the kiwis were the only non Asian country that went into the Semi finals of the world cup.......That too after comprehensively defeating the proteas.

  • Andre on February 27, 2012, 18:18 GMT

    That's disrespectful Spelele. "Going through the emotions"?? What the hell?

  • ras on February 27, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    well great job played sensibly and pulled south africa out of the hole in the last match ... i really enjoy your batting, hash, AB and jacques. keep playing good and would love to see you in the test playing eleven... have fun at Napiers and forget about the results. go proteas. :)

  • ntokozo on February 27, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    SA are miles ahead of the Kiwis. The last two ODIs will be merely SA going through the emotions really. The same will happen in the Tests. I wonder why we are playing a third rate team ahead of such a tough tour of England. A total waste if you ask me.

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