Win in Potch ODI will be less important with series lost
WINNING will be less important than usual to the Proteas in today's third one-day international against New Zealand in Potchefstroom.
The result of the match was made irrelevant by the Proteas' meltdown in Kimberley on Tuesday, when the Black Caps clinched the series by adding a 27-run victory to the one-wicket win they earned in Paarl at the weekend.
South Africa have used the first two games to experiment with their line-up ahead of their five one-day games against Pakistan and the Champions Trophy in England in June.
There is merit in this approach because it allows the assessment of available talent under match conditions, and with the Proteas in danger of playing as many as 27 ODIs by next January, they will need all the quality players they can find. But finding those players can mean taking experience and quality out of the mix.
Dale Steyn was rested for Tuesday's match, but AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla were also missing because of a suspension and an injury respectively.
Between them those players hold 263 one-day caps, a number that pales next to the 321 ODIs played by Jacques Kallis - who was rested for the series.
The rotation trend is set to continue today, when Aaron Phangiso makes his one-day debut in place of Robin Peterson, who has played 62 ODIs.
"I know the conditions and that should calm me down, and all you need in your first game is for the supporters to be behind you," Phangiso, who plays some of his matches for the Lions in Potchefstroom, said yesterday.
Phangiso cracked the nod for South Africa's T20 series against New Zealand last month by finishing as the joint second-highest wicket-taker in the Champions League T20 in October. Not the least of his achievements was clean bowling Sachin Tendulkar.
The Black Caps took 42 runs off his four overs in the second match of the series in East London, but he bounced back superbly at St George's Park to take 3-25.
Having made his name as a T20 specialist, Phangiso is looking forward to the breathing space he will have with up to 10 overs at his disposal.
"It's nice to build a spell."
PHANGISO EXCITED BY HOME DEBUT
Phangiso, who will come in for the injured Robin Peterson, says he will draw inspiration from playing at his franchise home ground, which will help quell the match-day butterflies.
“I will be more comfortable because I know the conditions really well,” he said about Senwes Park.
“It will probably calm me down, I’m more familiar with the supporters there as well and that is all you need for your first game, supporters being behind you.”
His rise to the national team came after his excellent performance for the Lions in the Champions League T20 in September, where he was the joint second-highest wicket-taker of the competition with 10 wickets at an economy rate of less than six.
“I was happy with the way that I bowled in my first game,” he said about his debut.
“Even though I got hit a bit I believe that it was out of good lengths so it didn’t bother me much, it’s not like I bowled a lot of full tosses or a lot of bad balls. I had confidence and the backing from Gary (Kirsten) and Russell (Domingo) going into the second T20 also helped a lot.” An ODI debut comes with the prospect of longer bowling spells, an opportunity that excites Phangiso as he hopes to make a good impact when given the ball.
He missed out in the first two matches of the current series, but says has used his time constructively, especially tapping into the experienced brains in the team to work on his game.
“I have been working with Robbie P (Peterson) who has shown me a couple of things, strategies that I can work around during the game and how to work out the batsmen. Gary (Kirsten) and Allan (Donald) have also been great; we have worked out some good plans.”
A “batters paradise” is expected at Senwes Park, with the wicket unlikely to offer much assistance to the spinners.
Dean Elgar has been added to the squad in place of Amla, who was withdrawn after straining his thigh.