India v South Africa, World T20, semi-final April 2, 2014

Duminy braces for India spin test

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'We are humble in our winnings' - de Kock

The thought may not be comforting to their supporters but South Africa are getting themselves into a spin ahead of their WorldT20 semi-final against India. They had Shane Warne in the nets offering advice to Imran Tahir, as he has done at Hampshire in the past, and the batsmen are getting their dancing shoes in preparation for India's spinners.

"We know it's going to be a big challenge for us. We want to put up a big performance against their spinners," JP Duminy said. "We know that their spinners will be a key component to their team."

India will have at least a trio of frontline tweakers taking on South Africa, with Amit Mishra an obvious threat. "He has been on top form for India in this tournament and we definitely not going to take him lightly," Duminy said. "The guys have played against him and we kind of know what to expect."

As a team, South Africa have only come up against Mishra twice and that was more than 10 years ago in two ODIs in 2003. But individually, many of them have faced him in the IPL and they will draw on that knowledge when they meet him again. They will also have to dig into the archives to remind themselves of how to approach batting in conditions which suit spin, which is what the Dhaka surface promises to do.

South Africa have come from Chittagong where Hashim Amla admitted, "the wickets had a bit more pace and bounce in it," and minimal turn. He has spotted a "bit of a difference," in tracks in Dhaka but even if he didn't, the evidence is clear.

Mishra has made merry there, being named Man of the Match in two of India's four games. He is third on the list of wicket-takers of all teams who did not have to qualify for the Super Ten and his nine scalps have come at an average of 8.77. Samuel Badree has taken 10 wickets in Dhaka at an average of 9. The returns of those two legspinners will have Imran Tahir drooling.

Despite playing the first four matches in Chittagong, he is still the leading wicket-taker of the teams that did not play in the qualifying stage - his 11 wickets have come at an average of 9.18.

Before South Africa bank on him, they have to blunt the opposition's aces and that seems to be on their minds more than their own advantage for now. There's good reason for that because they have, often incorrectly, been labelled a line-up that can be outspun so the focus is on preventing that.

Although South Africa have some of the best players of spin around in their squad - Amla wristiness works wonders, AB de Villiers' and Duminy's quick feet do the same - there are some concerns. Quinton de Kock and David Miller have sometimes struggled against players who turn the ball and India will see weak links in both but Amla does not think they will find one, at least not in de Kock. "He is a fearless cricketer and is working very hard to put in a big performance," Amla said.

Not only will Amla have to lead the resistance against spin but he will also have to lead by example in approach. His calmness is something every member of the South African squad will want to emulate in a crunch situation. They are at their own crossroads because this is the stage at which they have knocked out of every ICC event they have played in the last 16 years - the knockouts.

This time South Africa have advanced towards them in uncharacteristic fashion. The banged down the back door in three matches and scrapped their way to victory. Other teams would be nervous given that history. South Africa are optimistic. "We will be taking a lot of confidence from those games that we came on top of because in two of those games, we were not meant to win," Duminy said.

Against both New Zealand and Netherlands, South Africa's bowlers engineered unlikely triumphs after the opposition batsmen were on course to overhaul them. South Africa found a way and they hope to find another one against India.

"The ways to win a game out of nothing is definitely something we will take a confidence from," Duminy said. "But this is a new game It's a big game - the semi-final of a World Cup. It doesn't get bigger than this." It actually does. There is a final after that.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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