Cricket-South Africa ditch aggressive T20 mindset to solve pitch puzzle

  • Cricket
  • Tuesday, 11 Jun 2024

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - ICC T20 World Cup 2024 - Group D - Netherlands v South Africa - Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, New York, United States - June 8, 2024 South Africa's Marco Jansen celebrates with teammates REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

(Reuters) - South Africa look to have found a way to negotiate the tricky pitches being offered up by T20 World Cup co-hosts the United States by dialling down the aggressive batting approach traditionally associated with the format.

The 20-team showpiece in the U.S. and West Indies has been a low-scoring competition so far, with only Australia managing to breach the 200-mark once, and the governing International Cricket Council (ICC) has acknowledged the drop-in pitch in New York has not been up to standard.

The lack of big scores is in stark contrast with the recent Indian Premier League, where franchises routinely broke the 200-mark and Sunrisers Hyderabad posted a staggering 287-3 against Royal Challengers Bengaluru on April 15.

South Africa effectively clinched a place in the Super Eight stage of the tournament following a four-run win against Bangladesh in a Group D thriller on Monday.

Electing to bat, they limped to 113-6 and restricted Bangladesh to 109-7 to register their third successive victory.

South Africa were reeling at 23-4 before Klaasen (46) and David Miller (29) combined in a 79-run stand.

"Our mindset is not even close to T20 cricket," player-of-the-match Klaasen told reporters at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium.

"You just want to get in and find a way to bat at a run-a-ball."

Even the tournament's most anticipated match proved a low-scoring affair, with India dismissed for 119 but still managing to beat arch-rivals Pakistan in Sunday's blockbuster in New York.

"You can't just stand there and smack it all over the park," Klaasen said.

"We had more or less of a one-day mindset, myself and David in the middle, and that seemed to be working."

While a string of low-scoring matches may not be the best way to promote cricket in a new market like the U.S., Klaasen said the tournament was a lot more competitive.

"Obviously if you have to showcase it to the world and sell it, I don't think it's a great selling product. But for cricket, it's tight competition," the middle order batter said.

"It brings the other teams and the higher teams very close to each other, so the game is open to any team that does the basics of cricket very well."

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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