World T20 2014

Trio of problems for South Africa to ponder

Problems, they say, come in threes and that's exactly the number of questions still hanging over South Africa's batting line-up

Firdose Moonda

March 26, 2014

Comments: 65 | Text size: A | A

Hashim Amla pulls, New Zealand v South Africa, World T20, Group 1, Chittagong, March 24, 2014
South Africa try to use Hashim Amla as a controlling presence © AFP
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Players/Officials: Hashim Amla | AB de Villiers | David Miller
Series/Tournaments: World T20
Teams: South Africa

Problems, they say, come in threes and that's exactly the number of questions still hanging over South Africa's batting line-up. Despite posting their highest total at a World T20 since the 2010 edition on Monday and keeping themselves alive in the competition, the spotlight remains on Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and David Miller.

The concerns surrounding the trio do not concern their quality but question why they are being deployed in their current positions. Amla is seen as too slow a starter to open, de Villiers too explosive a player to be left for the middle order and Miller as too inexperienced to be a come-in-and-tee-off finisher. Despite public protestations Faf du Plessis explained South Africa won't deviate from where they play de Villiers because they believe he is best utilised at No. 4 but will he rethink the Amla and Miller roles? And does he even have to?

An obvious argument against Amla's inclusion is that he just doesn't approach the game like a T20 player and specifically like a T20 opener. Unlike David Warner or Chris Gayle, Amla does not make an entrance as excitable as an over-sugared jelly baby, he does not jump about, swing his arms and stretch his legs while waiting for the ball to be delivered and he does not bludgeon anything. The only thing emphatic about him is his wristiness and even that is inherently subtle.

Those characteristics point to a slow strike rate, a no-no in this format, but a closer examination reveals Amla does not meander along without purpose. He balances the demands of fronting up first in this format with anchoring an innings, albeit in the shallow waters of a T20 game. The most recent domestic season is clear evidence of that.

Amla, in his first summer with the Cobras, was the third-highest run scorer and played fewer matches than anyone else in the top 10. He featured in eight games and accumulated 317 runs with a top-score of 84. His strike-rate was 143.43 and he was able to score at that speed despite losing his opening partner inside the first two overs in five of those matches. That points to Amla's ability to hold things together and move the team forward when they are in trouble, something he has to do at national level as well.

In both South Africa's matches at this World T20 so far, Amla has outlasted Quinton de Kock and paved the way for the middle-order to strike out. He has done what he said he would before the competition started. "Not a lot changes for me. There might be a few more expansive shots but the basics of the game are still there," he said when South Africa arrived in Bangladesh. "I'll just try and fit into my role in the team and play good cricket shots with the odd swipe here and there. We've got guys like AB de Villiers and David Miller who can hit the ball a really long way. So, not a lot will change for me, but hopefully I'll have a quicker strike-rate."

In South Africa's opening match against Sri Lanka, Amla was the only one of his team-mates with a strike-rate under 100. In the second game against New Zealand, South Africa had only two contributors who scored more than 20. Amla was one, JP Duminy the other and Amla's strike-rate of 102.50 was little over half Duminy's, which sat at 200.

But it's not a crisis for Amla because that is the role South Africa want him to play. They need him to provide stability for others to bat with freedom and he admitted he is still growing into the position. "I haven't played a lot of international T20 games," he said. "I haven't quite got the experience so I almost feel every game is a learning experience for me."

Amla, whose international career is a decade old, has only played 23 international T20s, the same number as Miller, who debuted in 2010. Miller was picked on the strength of his ability to accelerate but has yet to do that in a T20 for South Africa. His highest score is 36, made against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, and he has not gone past 25 in his last six innings.

Miller is not fulfilling his obvious potential, something which was again on display in the domestic T20 competition. He was the top-scorer with 383 runs from 12 innings and came at a strike rate of 153.20 and included four fifties, one of which ballooned to an unbeaten 93 and took the Dolphins to victory in their playoff.

The bulk of Miller's runs, including two of his half-centuries, came when he was batting at No. 4 and was not under too much pressure. Apart from one occasion when the Dolphins were 13 for 2 against the Warriors and Miller's 60 off 40 balls rescued them, when there was a mini-collapse upfront, Miller was caught in it as well. His other three fifties came when there were at least 70 runs on the board and around 10 overs left in the innings.

Miller does not get that much time at the crease for South Africa. He comes in at No. 6 and is expected to spend no time having a sighter and just go big. Albie Morkel has shown he can do that to some extent - he has heaved from the get-go in both matches and fallen on his sword shortly after - but Miller seems to a little more time and a little more certainty and he knows it.

"I've been batting six, and there have been different situations the whole time. It's difficult to get something going in certain situations," he said before the tournament started. "I haven't done as well as I wanted to do but I feel it's around the corner. If I bat up the order, I want to make a difference with that promotion. If I get two overs, I want to make a difference in those two overs."

Miller has a much greater chance of the latter happening than the former and he will have to work much harder to make the difference he wants. South Africa may be expecting too much too soon from him but if Amla can give de Villiers something to launch from and de Villiers can combine with Miller to set off the fireworks, solutions, like problems, could also come in threes for South Africa.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by   on (March 27, 2014, 8:41 GMT)

Amla should be dropped . It's as simple as that . With Amla opening SA just waste the powerplay . And also since he is so slow the other batsmen are forced to go for the big shot even more often . Their batting line up already has enough depth without him . I totally agree with @Dark Man X . They should be willing to experiment with their batting line up and take chances . Their batting order should be something like 1.De qock 2. Faf 3. AB 4.Miller 5. Dumminy 6. Albie morker

Posted by Wessel on (March 27, 2014, 8:35 GMT)

AB has very underwhelming record in international T20. In 51 innings only four fifties and an average of 21.

Posted by SoyQuearns on (March 27, 2014, 3:59 GMT)

Amla started slowly in Tests, he'll figure it out, he's one of the best batsmen I've ever seen.

I predict that Amla will be excellent at this format, he just needs time and space to figure it out.

Those who direct me to the fact there'd be more appropriate places than a world cup, sure, I take your point, however at the same time this will accelerate his progress.

This is a special cricketer.

AB is awesome, the best in the world on a general level (and having watched his efforts with RCB I know his potential at t20).

AB also averaged 36 in both Test and ODI not so long ago, and now he's the best in the world at both (ignoring the minute fluctuations at any given stage).

Relatively speaking, Amla and AB are at the start of their t20i careers, Miller basically at the start of his career full-stop.

All 3 of these players will settle, in their current positions, and slay at this level. Watch this space.

Posted by fiddlerv90 on (March 26, 2014, 22:29 GMT)

Amla should be deployed at #6 to sharpen up de broken arrow. But i doubt that de top order without Amla would struggle. He is our weakness in a power-play and that leaves us struggling to post high scores.

Posted by Supa_SAFFA on (March 26, 2014, 19:50 GMT)

I like the idea of a floating line-up that sends players in according to the needs of the game. The most versatile batsmen would go to the top of the order, quality players that can either hold an innings together or take apart the bowling as needed. My 1/2/3/4 would be De Kock/Faf/Duminy/De Villiers, not in a fixed order, but keeping a left-hand/right-hand combination at the crease. Then would come the finishers, 5/6/7 being Miller/Morkel/Amla depending on the nature of the game, even promoted to the top order under circumstances. Use Amla to stabilize the innings or chase down a low total, and use A.Morkel/Miller to hit the ball out of the park in a big chase. I won't comment on the bowlers except to say that now that we've seen Tahir smack 6 runs off Malinga, that leaves Tsotsobe as the only bunny around.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 17:50 GMT)

Opposition captain at team meeting "Guys, the strategy for this game is simple. KEEP AMLA IN AND GIVE HIM THE STRIKE. Drop catches off him. Do not run him out. He will create so much pressure on his team mates, that they will throw their wickets away trying to hit sixes. This games is as good as won if we keep Amla in.".

Posted by aahahaa on (March 26, 2014, 15:55 GMT)

DeKock Faf AB Miller Duminy 6? Albie Parnell Steyn Hendricks / Morkel Tahir. You should have brought Van Zyl, Delport, Roussouw or even Davids or Harmer.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 15:15 GMT)

Ok so if Amla aint going anywhere... this would be my batting lineup.

1. De Kock 2. Amla 3. AB 4. Miller 5. Faf 6. Duminy 7. A Morkel 8. Parnell/ MMorkel 9. Steyn 10. Lonwabo 11. Tahir

Any thoughts on this team? This is a short tournament and we have to go big or go home. Would rather loose by being experimential then loose with the old conservative batting order...

Posted by theCricketPurist on (March 26, 2014, 13:17 GMT)

The batting order is fine. The reason why amla has been exposed in this manner is because dekock hasnt delivered in the first two games. Amla plays the anchor role while others around him are expected to find the boundaries.

Of course if we can bring in parnell at 8 (in place of either tsotsobe or morne) then the lineup will get more depth. The tail is too long for a t20 setup.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 12:47 GMT)

problem with SA is, they do not do changes to their already set line up. same as Eng. Sanath J from SL was a bowler given the chance to open, he changed the way how the game is played. Shahid Afridi was promoted to come in at 3 in his second game, He smashed the fastest 100 in ODIs. Take a chance Saffers, Send miller in with Q de, let Amla bat at 4, Let ur best player AB bat at 3, If they fail, U have JP and Faf to get u back on track. Thats how u win World cups. by rattling oppositions plans!

Posted by creebo777 on (March 26, 2014, 12:34 GMT)

I think we still need a death bowler,beuran hendricks can bowl yorkers,slower balls so pick him,something morne morkel doesnt have and with his bounch so easy for teams to hit,we also lack an extra batsman so parnell should also play besides lonwabo,morne terrible in the field so easy to take ones and twos off them

Posted by tapanlamba1986 on (March 26, 2014, 12:33 GMT)

Amla can only do one of two things: open or sit out. No other position really suits him. And he's doing alright. It's the big hitters that have failed SA. If not for Duminy, SA would've certainly lost against NZ. Faf Duplessis is the person who should go down the order and allow Miller to bat at No. 3.

Posted by Mambahunter on (March 26, 2014, 12:33 GMT)

The team should be:

1. Q De Kock. 2. F Du Plessis 3. AB De Villiers 4. Amla 5. Miller 6. JP Duminy 7. Albie Morkel 8. W Parnell 9. D Steyn 10. K Abbott 11. I Tahir.

Amla and Duminy should slide up and down the batting line-up according to match situation ie. 2 early wickets and amla comes in at 4, otherwise miller at 4. Albie after good start should maybe slot in at 5. Abbott and Steyn to bowl final 4 overs. Parnell gives another power hitter option at 7 or 8 and more firepower in the bowling at the start and in the middle. He is also a mush better fielder than tsotsobe or morne morkel.

Posted by creebo777 on (March 26, 2014, 12:27 GMT)

Oh please theres nothing wrong with the batting order,duminy came in at 5 and still scored 86 with a strike rate of 200,abdv almost wants to hit everything,if he wants to play like that let him open in the powerplays but then wants gona happen with amla? I think our batting order is fine now that duminy is in form,both matches we had scores over 160,i do think its not easy for miller and albie to come in the last 5 overs and hit it from ball one

Posted by mzm149 on (March 26, 2014, 12:18 GMT)

Actually Amla doesn't fit in this batting line up. There are many players like AB, Faf and JP who can stabilize innings in case of collapse. In case Amla has to play he should play at number 4.

1. de Kock 2. Miller 3. de Villiers 4. Amla 5. Duminy 6. du Plessis

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 12:14 GMT)

remember when de villiers used to open? he was very good at it, as he is at practically everything. leave amla where he is if he wants to be - the sainted kallis always started an innings early and then speeded up, and that is amla's role in the post-jacques era. but i haven't been impressed by de kock asa t20 opener. let him bat where de villiers does now. which will leave us time for miller to come right. he will, eventually

Posted by Mr.CricketJKNotHussey on (March 26, 2014, 12:12 GMT)

Miller needs some time to build an innings. DeVilliers and Albie are much more experienced at finishing. I'm not saying Miller is a better player and he is most definitely seen as a future finisher, but right now, it may benefit SA to bring him in a bit early and gain some experience. AB's unique style and Albie's power make it easier for them to score towards the death. The top order is fine, with de Kock showing good promise, and Amla playing the anchor role. Amla just needs to start accelerating after setting a platform. Faf and Duminy are fine at 4/5. SA need to make the best use of these players since they don't really have backups for them.

Posted by crazytaurean on (March 26, 2014, 12:10 GMT)

Amla lends that solidity what Kallis could have brought. He is Ok at No 2 with Quinton, as long as he doesnt play too slowly. The batting line up looks fine. Would have been great to see Ontong and Petersen in action.

Posted by landl47 on (March 26, 2014, 11:58 GMT)

Amla's an awkward fit in T20 and Miller's really not that good. Neither of those will change, no matter what positions they bat. SA should be 0-2 and would be but for Steyn, who showed again what a Hall-of-Famer he is against NZ.

By the way, Firdose, I'm not sure if you've ever watched Chris Gayle, but 'excitable as an over-sugared jelly baby' is about the last description I'd apply to him. He just stands there and whacks sixes- the rest of the time it's hard to know whether he's awake.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 11:41 GMT)

The batting order works fine the way it is. Miller's job is to come in down the order and to go from ball one. Most of the time he won't succeed but he just needs to come off once, Albie is the same. Amla is the perfect opening partner for de Kock, he needs to go from ball one and Amla needs to create the platform. The one problem we have is our tail is too long and when we lose quick wickets upfront we are put under pressure not to lose more wickets. Parnell needs to come back in place of Morne or Lopsy. they are both good bowlers but we need the extra batsman if something goes wrong. T20 is a game of small margins and is a bit of a lottery, there are no guarantees even for the best sides. Any one of 6 teams can win this world cup.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 10:52 GMT)

Once SA was my second favorites after SL, but years after i was thinking that they are not performing well on big occasions. to my knowledge, there are many reasons behind this. SA are naturally a good team and their talent is very high. But they are not performing as a unit. They have batsman like Amla, AB, (had players like Kallis, Smith, Garry) and few other who are top in world cricket. But they don'd realize how to perform as a unit and according to the situation. They dont read the game well. Garry as a opening batsman scored many runs but most of them are not match winning. He played well for his own records but for the team they were in vain. same happened with other batsman as well. See Sangakkara, Dhoni, Kholi and players like Mathews, they play to the occasion and wins the matches. They need to understand that. Good luck SA.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 10:47 GMT)

this is a method most teams have picked up from Misbah. one guy bats through while others play around him ensuring they get a decent total in case thing do jot ho as per plan

Posted by klusenercronje on (March 26, 2014, 10:23 GMT)

If Saffers want to lift the trophy this time,they should have the following line up in order: De Kock,Du Plessis,DeVilliers,Duminy,Miller,Amla,Albie,Parnell,Steyn,Morkel,Tahir Amla should play a role as Mckenzie does for Highveld lions,anchoring in the middle.There is no point of anchoring the innings during power play .This is just a 20 overs game and if overs are divided a player gets 2 overs to bat each.To be champions you need to be smart. ; talent +smartness=success.The latter is seriously lacking

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 10:18 GMT)

One idea might be to try Miller as an opener with De Kock to take advantage of the powerplay. If one gets out early, send in Amla.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 10:07 GMT)

I wonder what for is this all hoolah about Amla's batting. He is doing exactly what he has to do, what he is there for. if His strike rate in ODI's is any sign then this man knows how to up the ante. And all of us know his form is a bit off and his timing just not cmoing into full flow. But this champ is still going around with 100 strike rate. Look at Gayle and Samuels, man they are big big hitters but what has come to them when the form is awry. Faff bear with Amla, he is as important as De villers....

Posted by sab1824 on (March 26, 2014, 9:47 GMT)

As per my opinion, du plessis will open with de Kock and phangiso will have to paly in morne morkel's place.because asian pitches purely dominate by spinners so team line up should be 1.de kock 2. du plessis 3. Miller 4. de villers 5. duminy 6. behardien 7.albie morkel 8. steyn 9. imran tahir 10. hendricks/psotsobe 11. phangiso. Amla is a good player in one day and test cricket so south africa will go for above line up to win this twenty20 world cup. also du plessis have to think perfectly about the bowling options when will spinners and pacers have to bowl depends upon sit.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 9:42 GMT)

If that's the role Amla was asked to play then I have no problems with it but from where I sit, I see a lot of balls in the first 6 overs that could be slogged sweeped to the fine leg boundary only turned around the corner for singles off of his bat. I think SA need to try a different approach in the next game. Maybe Faf should open with de Kock, AB come in 1 down and Amla come in at 4 if stability is needed. If not, send in the big hitters. With depth bowling like they have (Steyn apart), runs will be crucial. Morkel doesn't have the t20 length, Tsotsobe is hot and cold, and Tahir's best ball looks like the wide one which gets the batsman stumped. Changes need to be made in that department too.

Posted by SURYA.K.R on (March 26, 2014, 9:40 GMT)

I think test players like Amla has the ability to T20 cricket because of their temperament. You cant rely on Miller every time in the death because of once in a bloom moon innings of 37-ball 100 in IPL. He is inconsistent. Slogging the ball is not T20 cricket, but utilising the 120 balls on the merit of the ball is T20 cricket

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 9:40 GMT)

After 3 months on South African wickets the boys would have been a bit rusty on the Asian wickets. look how the aussies fair. give the boys time and amla will come good .. form is temporary but class is perminant

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 9:31 GMT)

I am a massive supporter of Amla, he is an incredible player and would be in my T20 XI. But I'm not against the idea of De Kock and De Villiers opening. Yes De Villiers is probably best suited to come in at 4, but imagine if both AB and De Kock get going and dominate the bowlers. It would not be dull to be a SA supporter, that's for sure!

It would also solve the problem of potentially not allowing your best batsman from facing enough deliveries.

SA's biggest problem is utilising the appropriate bowling tactics - constantly bowling short or back of a length is suited to Test matches, not T20 - and even then it is baffling that guys like Morkel don't understand the basic differences between surprising the batsman, intimidation the batsman or actually taking the wicket. Morkel worked over Mitchell Johnson and Michael Clarke in recent Tests, but failed to execute the feat by taking their wickets... not a single yorker.

That is just bad bowling.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 9:30 GMT)

Morne Morkel (only a test bowler) blows too hot & then too cold so better he stay off the field. Only a miracle kept SA in the competition. Hendricks in for Tsotsobe & Parnell for Morkel. What a pity we still have kwotas. RSA would have had easily the best team in Bangladesh. Johan Botha,Tahir & Duminy to spin. Steyn,Hendricks & Abbott to blast.

Posted by subratachakrabarty on (March 26, 2014, 9:29 GMT)

Very well said Rohit. In fact, the rationale behind putting Amla at No. 4 is too good and I think, if they do it as u said, SA batting line up will have depth. The batting order displayed by SamWintson92 is absolutely remarkable and I think this is exactly what Proteas should do if they are serious about winning the game and staying alive in this prestigious tournament.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (March 26, 2014, 9:05 GMT)

Those saying Amla must open to 'stablise' the innings need to look again at the SL game. We are playing in the subcontinent, where some of the best batting conditions are in the first 6 overs with the field up. SL had good spinners for the middle overs and Malinga for the death - surely the best time to get ahead of the rate was the first 6 overs against bowlers like Matthews? Instead Amla went below a run a ball and the middle order had to get 10 an over at the end against Malinga, very difficult.

The author says Amla 'outlasted' De Kock but De Kock made more runs and went above the required rate, if Amla had scored at that rate too SA would have won.

I think the idea of an anchor is old fashioned in T20, other teams just attack all the time. If we play another team with good spinners, like Pakistan, we NEED to go big in the first 6 overs.

Posted by twistatwistaa on (March 26, 2014, 9:02 GMT)

devillers has to play his part otherwise no batting combination would work he and miller are there as a big hitter and they are consistantly failing,

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 9:01 GMT)

I think the biggest problem lies in our bowling attack. Amla, AB and Miller are fine where they are.

There was an interesting piece in one of our newspapers the other day questioning the exclusion of Kyle Abbott - arguably one of the best death bowlers in the country - from the squad.

Morne Morkel is simply not the right fit for this format, Tahir can be effective when he's on song and Steyn has just proven his worth. Abbott also has the ability to swing the bat a bit, which would helpful consideringhow long the tail is.

Posted by Lloydster on (March 26, 2014, 8:57 GMT)

I agree with @ MrGarreth, SA have lost the plot on numerous occasions by not selecting the correct bowlers, playing batters out of depth/form, not using different strategy's on merit- playing safe until they choke. Why bowl Morkel when he is being clobbered at 18 runs an over? Our bowling often fails us at competitions like this- historically so have they not learned any thing from the past.

Posted by SamWintson92 on (March 26, 2014, 8:46 GMT)

1. Explaining Amla: In ODIs the striking rate of Amla is over 90 because he can hit bad balls for fours and turn the good balls into bad balls with his shot making. But he doesn't play big shots i.e. slog & that's required in T20s for getting the striking rate high & make use of the first 6 overs powerplay. 2. I'm witnessing, some teams aren't fully utilizing the first 6 overs. The teams must go hard in the first 6 overs at the expense of at least 2 wickets. 3. I agree, I'll also not open with Amla. Rather send him at 4 if 2 wickets falls early and when the team needs to steady the ship. If it's around 10 over then will send De Villiers at 4 & won't bat Amla. 4. I'm not liking Tsotsobe in the XI. Sou should include Hendricks in place of Tsotsobe, an excellent death bowlers & proved it in the Aus T20Is.

The batting order should be: 1 De Kock (WK) 2 Du Plessis (C) 3 Duminy 4 Amla 5 De Villiers 6 Miller 7 A Morkel 8 Steyn 9 M Morkel 10 Tahir 11 Hendricks.

Posted by KhilenNaidoo on (March 26, 2014, 8:24 GMT)

Amla is doing his job well at the top. Amla, Quinton, Faf, AB, JP, Miller, Morkel, Imran, Hendriks, Steyn, Morne. This is the side that should be playing.

2 depth bowlers required.

Miller and Morkel were selected to hit the ball out the ground. Miller has failed many times already now, even in one day games when he did have 10 overs to go, still could not do it. But with practise and experience he can in time. All he needs is to click in one game and the confidence will follow.

The only aspect that should change is the depth bowling, Hendricks should play and he can bat a bit. Steyn cant do it in everygame.

Posted by ahmadmobeenqazi on (March 26, 2014, 8:13 GMT)

A quick glance at the SA's squad would tell you that apart from Amla and De Kock, there is no other specialist opener. It can be argued that the option of a make-shift opener exists and that in this format, would not bring substantial risks if applied. However, this is a World Cup where playing safe definitely comes first (except when playing dead rubber games). A capable defensive batter, in my opinion is a blessing as he can give you stability in the top order, which is always a good thing. Compare it to Pakistan, who have an average of 37-2 in the first six overs. Whether or not they recover is another story, but the absence of a stable top order batsmen is quite evident. So Amla should not be replaced, I think. AB meanwhile, bats aggressively and possesses arguably the widest selection of shots. So, yes, No.4 must not become a fixture for him. Rather, he may be promoted if the circumstances encourage. Miller, with JP, can destroy bowlers in the last overs on his day, so No.6 is ok.

Posted by checkOnCricket on (March 26, 2014, 8:04 GMT)

i Too accept Rohit Ramesh's team Combination but might suggest a slight change. Instead of JP to come at 1 down it would be better if we could bring in Miller who is again a hitter. So by this way , The top 3 players would have the liberty to go after the bowling in the PP with the thought that 3 of the Senior Players in the form of Amla, Duminy and ABD are available incase of any collapse to resurrect...

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 8:02 GMT)

Don't worry about the form of amla, De villiers and Miller the killer. On his day any one from them win matches by single handly for SA. So Cheers for SA, Go SA Go

Posted by kamran.afzal on (March 26, 2014, 8:00 GMT)

Why don' they use du Plessis as an opener instead of Amla. He has done it very successfully for Chennai Super Kings, although admittedly against weaker attacks. But he can do that. Amla at 3 can provide stability if a wicket falls early. de Villiers, like Kohli, can be a little circumspect at the start of the innings; and if Kohli has been doing so well coming 1 or 2 down, de Villiers can do alright at number 4 too. He just seems to be taking too much pressure to accelerate too quickly.

Posted by twistatwistaa on (March 26, 2014, 7:43 GMT)

rohit ramesh you made an intresting point , thats the best batting order and for amla he is a free flowing batsman, good against spin as well with his delicate touch here and there suited at num 4 when spinner are in operation( african batsman dont play spinners well execption amla) at number 4 amla would be surrounded by big hitters and gaps everywhere so he could easily rotate strike which he finds it difficult in fielding restriction

Posted by Gareth_Bain on (March 26, 2014, 7:26 GMT)

Miller shouldn't be near this side in the first place...

Posted by MrGarreth on (March 26, 2014, 7:24 GMT)

I tend to agree with some of the other's comments. The bowling is more of a concern for me. We need at least one depth bowler to help out Steyn. Either Parnell or Hendricks would be perfect. Both are depth specialists. Would probably go for Parnell because of his ability with the bat. We've been sorely lacking at 8. Unfortunately he wont play against Netherlands but that's not such a big ideal (at least it shouldn't be). Batting is a concern too but more from the point of view that it's not a well planned lineup. SA seem to think that the ODI blueprint can be pasted into the T20 one where as most teams have figured out that it doesn't work like that. Your biggest hitters HAVE TO face the most overs. De Villiers and Miller must be at 3 and 4 if we are to follow this philosophy. Our tendency to take the conservative route concerns me particularly IF we reach the semis where it is all or nothing.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 7:09 GMT)

I think the best strategy would be to have De Kock and Faf open with Duminy at 3 and Amla at 4. If 2 early wickets fall Amla can come and resurrect the innings. If the second wicket falls say after the 11th over then De Villiers, Miller and Morkel can promote themselves to up the scoring rate. The idea comes from the way CSK used Badrinath. Using a technically sound player at 4 gives the top order the insurance to play some shots and take advantage of the field restrictions which Amla is not quite at doing. Amla at number 4 means more positive cricket and a better score with their bowling attack they should be comfortable defending.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 6:55 GMT)

amla can lil more aggressive.. & dekcock needs to put his hand up. .. sa just have to stay focused & play their natural game... & Parnell needs to be bring in. .. sa has got a chance. .a real chance.. I don't think jp is going to stop. , he is back in 2009 mode & iam very happy for him..., hash need to put bat on ball & put de kcock on strike in the pp.. if its a bad ball but it away. .: & dekcock need to the aggressor. ., after pp amla can try taking on spinners. .& rotate strike for pacers. . & leave last 10 overs to ab,Miller,morkel & jp

Posted by twistatwistaa on (March 26, 2014, 6:52 GMT)

amla failed bcaz big hitters didnt do there job well ,devillers decock and miller failed in both the opening matches, it was bcaz of amla that they got some platform in there match against kewis,what will happen now is there is so much of pressure on amla to do big hitting and he is sure too fail because of that, otherwise it should be big hitters do there job and he just plays proper cricketing shot. poor batting of decock devillers and miller is going to have impact on amlas game, my african 11 would be amla,decock,faf, jp dumminy, miller, abd,albie morkel,steyn, m morkel,ttsobe, tahir

Posted by wapuser on (March 26, 2014, 6:39 GMT)

Amla is fulfilling his task quite right.His and Qdk opening is best but Qdk needs to play some explosive shots what SA wants.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 6:21 GMT)

When India won the 1st T20 world cup it was Gambhir who opened the innings and did the same role what Faf is talking about Amla, But Gambir was paired with Sehwag so it compliment really good, i think if decock succeed in his role of attacking at the beginning they will be good but decock is new .

Posted by tariqshah on (March 26, 2014, 6:16 GMT)

South Africa must not tinker with their batting lineup too much. They are fine just the way they are. The only change in the batting order I would consider is sending Miller at no. 3 to give him more time to acclimatise before breaking loose. So yes, I would have Miller at 3 and Du Plessis at 6 or 7. Also, I would replace Tsotsobe with Parnell. Lineup: Amla, De Kock, Miller, De Villiers, Duminy, Du Plessis, A.Morkel, Parnell, Steyn, Tahir & M.Morkel.

Posted by vallavarayar on (March 26, 2014, 6:13 GMT)

Open with AB and QdK. Amla comes next, followed by Miller. Duminy is as good a finisher as any.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 26, 2014, 6:07 GMT)

Amla is batting too high up. Its quite simple really. He doesnt have the ability or skill to effectively hit over the top often enough, which is required in T20 during the powerplay.

So in effect his inability to hit over the top puts loads of pressure on De Kock and the person batting at 3. SA strategic approach to tournaments and winning games has always been ultra conservative. I dont know why - maybe due to isolation. Management has basically taken and ODI formula of making all the runs in the last few overs and applied it to T20 - it doesnt work. Miller is totally wasted down at 6. There is no doubt in the class of Amla but he should not be occupying the crease during the power-play. Simple.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (March 26, 2014, 6:07 GMT)

What we need to understand is the tournament is played in Bangladesh where the pitches are low and slow. It is not very easy for batsmen outside the subcontinent to adjust to it quickly and play the strokes freely. Spinners are making run scoring difficult. Amla is world class batsmen and one gets the feeling he is not cut out for the hard slogs and cow corner hits of T20. SAF has Faf, AB, Duminy, Miller and Albie in the middle order who are some of the best T20 players in the world. Just get a feeling that having not won the ICC trophy is playing on their mind and some of them like AB and Faf are trying too hard. With this batting lineup backed by red hot Steyn and in form Tahir they should take down any opposition. They need to look at Morne and Lonabo who are misfiring big times and may be look to strengthen the bowling by including another spinner and Parnell. If SAF keep their head, they should reach semis and from then on its anybody's game.

Posted by Poodie on (March 26, 2014, 5:44 GMT)

Amla is fine in the T20 side and fine where he is. SA have been banking on Alma being stable (which he has) and de Kock being explosive (which he hasn't) but it will click together soon I think. De Kock needs to show the world what he can do. The only change I think is that AB needs to move from 4 to 3.

The bigger concern is our bowling. Steyn's brilliance masked a very weak attack against NZ. I've never seen Lospy bowl well, maybe I miss his good games. I think he and Morne need to go in favor of some all-rounders. Parnell and a spinner who can bat.

Posted by AltafPatel on (March 26, 2014, 5:40 GMT)

There is no doubt about AB position, he can prove him anytime. Amla is obviously question for T20 format right from beginning of the tournament. You can't consider Miller as he has been playing international cricket for almost 4 years and performed well in IPL as well. Instead they should look into Morne and replace him with in-form Parnel whose inclusion will give Morne rest as he has been playing all formats of games for so long, and will also give extra batsman option in case they require in situation.

Posted by highveldhillbilly on (March 26, 2014, 5:39 GMT)

The article has it all wrong the main issues isn't the batting or the batting line up, it's the bowlers. Drop Morkel and Tsotsobe and replace with Hendricks and Parnell - strengthens the bowling, the batting and the fielding. With regards to the batting line up - Amla must open, no problem there, he's done his job in the last 2 T20s. The main problem is that neither Faf, AB nor Miller have fired yet - don't confuse poor form from the middle order with the wrong batting line up.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 5:20 GMT)

I would like to see Phangiso in playing 11 at the cost of Morne/Tsotsobe specially vs Natherland because they are weak against spin bowling. It might works for South Africa as it is working for India right now.

Posted by checkOnCricket on (March 26, 2014, 5:08 GMT)

I feel SA batting order might have to be refined but they have a good batting line up. The problem for them is their bowling. Just consider if Steyn was not having 3 overs in the depth against NZ then we would have lost the match for sure as two set batsmen were there with Taylor going well..

We need one more Strike Bowler with atleast half the capabilities of steyn. Morne was really fitting that role but i think he lost his direction. Tahir picks up wickets but not that effective. Albie canot be relied at all with the bowling . Duminy can fill in a part timer role but not everytime he picks up wickets...

Need some one like Van Der Merwe or Langevelt or even Kyle Abbot like bowlers who can pick up 1 - 2 wickets in every match consistently... Can also try Philander / Ryan Mclaren to fill the role of Tsotsobe

Posted by KunzMan on (March 26, 2014, 4:40 GMT)

Amla is required by SA as there is no other option available right now. What he needs to ensure is a strike rate of around 110. The difference is it should have more singles / lesser dot balls interspersed with an odd boundary here and there. This keeps the strike rotating and the more attacking batsmen can have more balls to play and hit out. The problem till now has been his strike rate of 100-105 has had those exquisite cover drives mixed amongst lot of dot balls. And we all know these dot balls create pressure.

SA XI should be: Amla, QdC, Faf, AB, JP, Miller, Albie, Parnell, Steyn, Tahir, Hendricks / Tsotsobe. Would give Morne Morkel one last chance for this series, unless he gets his length right against the Dutch, has to sit out.

Posted by Andre117 on (March 26, 2014, 4:25 GMT)

The problem is we are being outplayed by teams with big-hitters right through the batting order. There is no place for a "hold up one end" guy in T20 cricket. In a world cup you're not gonna win many games with 170. We will need the odd 190+ and we will struggle to get that if Amla can't get his strikerate over 130.We could afford that if we had guys in the middle-order with 140+ strikerates but we don't. We need to change our T20 strategy or fit in guys like Levy who are "go big or go home" players.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 4:18 GMT)

I would be happy if Amla proves critics wrong, and hence a corollary that good test batsmen are good T20 batsmen.

Posted by checkOnCricket on (March 26, 2014, 4:18 GMT)

if there is a collpase like that happened for Bangladesh , Amla is the kind of cricketer who would makes sure that the team plays the entire 20 overs and would post atleast a decent score to defend.

My Line up would be

Miller,Abd , Amla, Duminy, Faf, Decock, Parnell, Morne, Steyn , Tahir, Totsobe

If any one of the Openers gets out early Amla can come in and provide stability to the middle order

Posted by SHER-A-PANJAB on (March 26, 2014, 3:52 GMT)

Yes ,Amla is a slow striker if he takes one end with his equal run rate then other batting line -up should go around him because within few days SA can not send there some new players ,He is a match saver or RSA 'saver so far .........If FAF drops M. Morkell then Hendricks could be called in or Parnell ....In B,Desh you can not hit the ball as you wish .I think batting order ( latest one ) is perfect so far ,carry on FAF .....win all matches to hold the trophy .....good luck

Posted by   on (March 26, 2014, 3:41 GMT)

Devillers, Decock, Amla, Duminy, Miller, Duplessis, Morkel, Parnell, Steyn, Morkel, Tahir. this is the best batting order.

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Tournament Results
India v Sri Lanka at Dhaka - Apr 6, 2014
Sri Lanka won by 6 wickets (with 13 balls remaining)
India v South Africa at Dhaka - Apr 4, 2014
India won by 6 wickets (with 5 balls remaining)
Sri Lanka v West Indies at Dhaka - Apr 3, 2014
Sri Lanka won by 27 runs (D/L method)
Pakistan v West Indies at Dhaka - Apr 1, 2014
West Indies won by 84 runs
Bangladesh v Australia at Dhaka - Apr 1, 2014
Australia won by 7 wickets (with 15 balls remaining)
More results »
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