India v South Africa, World T20, semi-final April 3, 2014

Du Plessis ready to risk suspension


Faf du Plessis, South Africa's captain, is prepared to risk being suspended for the World T20 final if it means overseeing victory against India. Du Plessis has twice been penalised for South Africa's slow over-rates in the tournament and was banned for their final group game against England, but said he would prioritise winning their semi-final above his own availability.

Du Plessis was not fit enough to lead in South Africa's opening World T20 game against Sri Lanka, with AB de Villiers captaining in his stead. He returned to take the reins for wins against New Zealand and Netherlands, both games resulting in close finishes, and on each occasion South Africa were deemed to have been two overs short.

"I'll always be on the side of looking at the situation in front of you now," du Plessis said when asked whether he would try to ensure South Africa kept time better. "You can't be playing or making decisions like it's in the future.

"When it comes to crunch time it's important that you take your time and make sure you and the bowler are very clear in your decision making, I feel that's the best way to go. With the conditions here maybe favouring spin a bit more, we can get some more overs out of JP and that will also make sure the over rate is a bit quicker."

In Chittagong, South Africa relied largely on their pace attack and Imran Tahir, although JP Duminy was also called upon. The dew caused problems for maintaining the over rate at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury and Sri Lanka's Dinesh Chandimal was suspended for the same offence during the Super 10 stage.

Du Plessis' stance contrasts with a strategy employed by Sri Lanka at the last World T20, when Kumar Sangakkara assumed official captaincy duties in place of Mahela Jayawardene, who could have faced a suspension, for their final Super 8 match against England.

Tahir and Duminy are likely to be South Africa's main slow-bowling options against India, with du Plessis referring to their "best eleven". However, with the Mirpur surface likely to offer greater purchase for spinners, Aaron Phangiso could come into contention. Du Plessis indicated the women's semi-final between South Africa and England played beforehand would inform their thinking.

"That decision we'll make tomorrow," du Plessis said. "We've decided that because there's a game before us, the ladies are playing, so we'll assess how the wicket is playing. If there's excessive spin, we'll definitely look at that option and if it's a good wicket we'll pick our best eleven."

The difference between the surfaces in Chittagong and Dhaka has been a talking point during the tournament, with South Africa and Sri Lanka, the qualifiers from Group 1, having to make a swift adjustment to the new conditions. India's spinners have taken a stranglehold on the opposition during four comprehensive wins and although du Plessis did not want to overplay the advantage, he conceded South Africa would be underdogs again - a status further enhanced by their dismal record in knockout competition.

"It's a huge thing," du Plessis said. "Obviously the wicket has been playing completely different to Chittagong, we've played all our games there and India have played all their games here, so from a conditions point of view they're much more used to it than we are. We've put in some hard practice on really abrasive surfaces, making sure that we almost over practice, with the ball spinning too much, so we get used to the spin. I think the wicket won't be that bad, I think it's been playing quite decently. I watched the game the other night and it looked like a good cricket wicket."

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dolly on April 4, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    Come on SA ... You can do it. Beat these overated dust bowl flat tract bullies . Let pace dominate . This spin bowling nonesense is killing cricket .

  • Dummy4 on April 4, 2014, 12:54 GMT

    SA need at least 165 to make this match a little bit competitive. On the other hand, Indian top order has been milking bowlers for the most part of the tournament. If SA can get ride of top 3 quickly, that will be a real test for the mighty chasers.

  • Dummy4 on April 4, 2014, 12:45 GMT

    It's all about ABD and Hashim Amla, if they played well SA will win otherwise it seems home run for India...

  • Android on April 4, 2014, 12:13 GMT

    I hope india will win.....all the best to all the is very difficult time for indian team and to prove their honesty....dhoni have to prove more.....india goooo....get the cup and make indian fans to...forget all the past....

  • sachit on April 4, 2014, 11:42 GMT

    A LOT depends on AB , he has ample experience in these conditions having played in IPL and would know most of the Indian bowlers well. SA beat SL ( then #1 ranked team) on their own turf 2-1 a few months back.So they should draw some inspiration from that also.It's not impossible all they need is not to crack up. India won more of their games chasing. they did beat an abject Australian side batting first but I think SA are likelier to lose chasing, so that presents a very interesting situation. May the best team(SA) win.

  • Priyantha on April 4, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    @swauzzie - No matter it's mud pitch or concrete pitch , IND will win today ... GO India GO.. Subcontinent need T20 Title.

  • hibbatur on April 4, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    Come on SA you are Number 1! Beat the Indians they cant play Steyn, win a major title for your country.

  • Dummy4 on April 4, 2014, 8:47 GMT

    certainly india will win,if you go by the stats

  • Richard on April 4, 2014, 8:38 GMT

    Du Plessis prepared to risk suspension? Am I missing something here ? Why not just nominate a Captain for the day, someone who is a more marginal player and would not be missed much if dropped. He doesn't have to do anything on the field. Gamesmanship? - yes. Punishmentsfor slow over rates should have more effective punishments. Like adding extra runs to opposition.. that would speed them up a bit !!

  • Dummy4 on April 4, 2014, 7:48 GMT

    Play out Mishra and try and get atleast 20 runs off him by virtue of singles and dont give him a wicket. Absolutely no slogging against Mishra. Ashwin and Jadeja can easily be tamed.

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