Klaasen after loss to Pakistan: ‘Interesting that Proteas are playing good cricket’
South Africa captain Heinrich Klaasen has said that they let themselves down by losing key wickets in the middle overs in their narrow and exciting three-run loss to Pakistan in the first T20 on Thursday.
After they were set a target of 170 to win at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore‚ the Proteas started their chase with openers Reeza Hendricks and Janneman Malan laying a solid foundation with a partnership of 53‚ but the middle order collapsed.
South Africa’s momentum was seriously affected when they lost the wickets of David Miller (6) Klaasen (12)‚ Hendricks (54) and Andile Phehlukwayo (14) during crucial stages of the match.
“Definitely‚ four runs for two wickets didn’t help in the middle phase‚” Klaasen said‚ referring to the dismissals of Hendricks and Phehlukwayo that came in quick succession.
“They put us on the back foot especially chasing a score of 170. I thought they were about 10 runs short and I was quite pleased with their score.
“But in that situation‚ I thought we went four overs for 20 runs and two wickets down and that put us under pressure massively. So‚ hopefully in the next game we can raise the intensity in the middle phase and we can go over the line.”
Despite Phehlukwayo and Jacques Snyman dropping Pakistan centurion Mohammad Rizwan twice in the 90s‚ Klaasen said he was happy with the team’s overall fielding performance.
“We were quite pleased with the fielding bar the two dropped catches towards the end of the match because that’s what’s cost us.” He said.
“We are young but that’s not an excuse because when you play professional cricket you must be at a certain level. It doesn’t matter what age you are‚ you must be in a position to throw your body around.
“The standard is high‚ we don’t like losing but made it difficult for ourselves. One of the two things with the bowling didn’t go according to plan but we will go back reassess those few overs. But I was happy with the way the bowlers went.
“It was just those four to five overs in the middle where we made life very difficult for ourselves because we could have chased between seven and 10 in the last over and we could have easily gone over the line because the wicket actually played very well. It is interesting to see that we are playing good cricket.”
The Proteas need to bounce back strongly if they are to win the remaining two matches that takes place in quick succession on Saturday and Sunday so that they return home with something to show for their troubles on the subcontinent.