Aaron Finch was one of three batsman who fell to Imran Tahir © Associated Press
Australia’s loss in the first T20 against South Africa in Durban has again raised the issue of how they handle spin in the shortest format, with legspinner Imran Tahir having turned the game with his 3 for 21 from four overs. Tahir was introduced in the eighth over and his first ball, a full toss, was struck straight to deep midwicket by Aaron Finch for 40 off 18 balls.
Until then, Australia had been on top at 71 for 2 after seven overs, but Tahir then kept the runs tight and wickets fell at both ends. Finch conceded that with the World Twenty20 in India coming up later this month, the Australians would need to adapt their approach against spin, especially if a few dot balls do slow them down.
“It’s no secret that teams are targeting us with spin and rightfully so, we haven’t played it all that well over the last little while in the shortest format,” Finch told reporters after play. “India took a lot of wickets with spin [in January] and again today, Imran took 3 for 21 and was all over us.
“It’s something where we are going to have to look to change our plans. The guys are quality players of spin, and I think it’s just about probably changing our mindsets slightly if we do have a few dot balls.”
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis scored 40 in the successful chase of 158 – a chase that started with South Africa wobbling at 17 for 2 – and he said his team had been fortunate to win after Australia’s strong start with both bat and ball.
“We shouldn’t have won from the position they got us in,” du Plessis said. “Imran is bowling so well … we pride ourselves on being even smarter when guys come at us.”
South Africa have a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, which continues in Johannesburg on Sunday, and selector Mark Waugh said Australia would aim to give every player in their squad two matches during this series as they try to discover their best XI ahead of the World T20. Allrounder Shane Watson, who left the Pakistan Super League with an abdominal injury last month, is expected to play on Sunday.
“He would have played today except he had a stomach strain so we just wanted to make sure that he was fully fit. He’ll play in the last two games,” Waugh said while commentating. “We’re probably going to give everybody two games out of three matches so we can have a look at them and give them some game time in the middle.
“We’ve played very little T20 cricket so everyone will get a game. Watson’s bowling has been very good the last three or four months. In the Big Bash he bowled well and then for Australia in the T20s against India – he was actually our best bowler. He presents the seam beautifully and he’s a bit deceptive when he hits the deck hard.”
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo