SA wary of spin attack

THE Proteas are preparing for a strong spin onslaught from India in the semifinal of the ICC T20 World Cup in Dhaka on Friday. The Proteas held their first training session yesterday since arriving in the capital of Bangladesh two days ago, and set about honing their skills and strategy ahead of the clash against their subcontinent rivals. “We know it’s going to be a big challenge for us,” JP Duminy said at a media session. “Their spinners have been doing exceptionally well in this tournament but I think we have the armoury to put in a big performance. “We know what to expect. We have played against them a number of times and we have had good success against them. We know its semifinal time in a World Cup – it doesn’t get bigger than this; so we are going to have to produce something good.” Imran Tahir is the second-highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 11 scalps, and is followed by India’s Amit Mishra, with nine. The dew has not been a factor in the matches played in Dhaka, but the wickets have been conducive to spin compared to the seam-friendly environment in Chittagong. “The conditions here are different,” Duminy said. “There isn’t much dew around and the wicket takes a bit more turn. We are going to have to prepare accordingly. We know we are predominately going to face spin against India.” The Proteas are still on a high from their performances in the group stages, particularly their convincing win against England to seal their semifinal spot.

Those performances, however, will count for nothing on Friday, as both teams start from zero with an opportunity for a place in the final. “It’s a new game, whatever has happened is in the past,” Duminy said. “We are up for the challenge and, hopefully, we will come up on top.” Meanwhile, before the weekend, Wayne Parnell and Aaron Phangiso were the only members of SA’s squad who had not seen action in any of their team’s three group games. Then Parnell was given his chance in the crunch clash against England on Saturday. He took it, knocking over the top order and removing the dangerous Alex Hales and Moeen Ali with consecutive deliveries. It was a signature Parnell performance, all verve and no fear; an emphatic display of confidence more stirred than shaken by his midweek trip to Mumbai to appear on a drugs charge. From the bench, all Phangiso could do was look on. As a slow bowler who is about control and calm, he is not made of the same sassy stuff as Parnell. All they have in common is that they both use their left arms to bowl. But could they both be in SA’s lineup for the semifinal? As the leading wicket-taker in the tournament proper, Imran Tahir’s place in the side is secure. But SA, who have played all of their group games in Chittagong, might be tempted to augment a spin attack that also features JP Duminy with Phangiso because Dhaka has offered the slow bowlers more. However, with Faf du Plessis set to return from his suspension for a slow over-rate at the expense of Farhaan Behardien, SA will not be keen to tinker more than necessary.