South Africa: Proteas All-Rounders Emerge As Key to Cwc Cause

(file photo).

Cardiff — Saturday's routine victory over Afghanistan at Sophia Gardens, as skipper Faf du Plessis said, has given the Proteas a much-needed lift at a crucial time in their Cricket World Cup campaign.

It was South Africa's first win of the competition, moving them up to seventh on the log with 3 points from 5 matches.

There can be no slip-ups moving forward, and next up is a testing clash against the highly-rated New Zealand at Edgbaston on Wednesday that is another must-win if the Proteas are to make a play at securing a semi-final berth.

While the gulf in quality between South Africa and Afghanistan was clear to see throughout the contest, the Proteas still ticked some boxes that needed ticking.

Imran Tahir's 4/29 and Quinton de Kock's 68 were the standout individual displays, but perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the win from a South African perspective was the continued form of all-rounders Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris .

It was never the Proteas' plan to go into the World Cup with two specialist all-rounders in their matchday XI, but with injuries to key personnel like Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi, those plans have changed.

Phehlukwayo has been South Africa's most consistent and reliable performer at the World Cup so far, and his 2/18 (8) on Saturday was yet another effort that proves his worth to this side.

Where the Proteas have advertised themselves as a side built around pace, Phehlukwayo's control in variation has given him the edge at the tournament and made him him a difficult batsman to get away.

He now has 6 World Cup wickets, but even more impressive than that is the economy rate of 4.46 he boasts after getting through 34.3 overs.

Morris, meanwhile, continues to improve.

Not in South Africa's original 15-man squad, the 32-year-old replaced Anrich Nortje just a couple of weeks before the competition.

He has now jumped ahead of Dwaine Pretorius in the pecking order, and that is because he has hit his straps with the ball.

With his speeds up, Morris seems to have found a level of control that has sometimes been missing during what has been a stuttering Proteas career so far.

Like Phehlukwayo, Morris was in the wickets on Saturday, eventually leaving with figures of 3/13 from his 6.1 overs.

"I've really been impressed with Morri," Du Plessis told media after Saturday's victory.

"When he came in during his first couple of weeks with the side, was a little bit off his game.

"But he's turned it around completely and he's bowling really well in practices. He's hungry. He's performing well.

"He's consistent, and that's something that probably has not always been there with him. So that's really good signs for him. He's putting in a performance after performance."

Turning his attention to the 23-year-old Phehlukwayo, Du Plessis acknowledged that he had been the Proteas' most consistent performer in England.

"He's been really good with the ball," said Du Plessis.

"Surprisingly, every single game he does get wickets.

"I feel like he's picked up a yard (of pace) again. He's not running in quick obviously, but he's definitely bowling, not floating, so the ball is coming out well.

"If he can hit that same spot and use his short ball every now and then, he's an effective bowler. So really, really pleased with the way he's going.

"I feel like there's more intensity with him hitting the crease and hitting the wicket, and the same thing with Morris.

"They are seem to be moving in the right direction with their game in terms of consistency."

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ...

Source: Sport24

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