Janneman Malan: One game can shift momentum in Proteas favour

Janneman Malan got the Proteas chase in the first T20I off to a flying start but Pakistan’s spinners put the brakes on and the South African tourists fell to a three run defeat.

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Proteas opener Janneman Malan says the team has been presented with an opportunity to turn the table on Pakistan in their T20I series.

Malan got the Proteas chase in the first T20I off to a flying start but Pakistan’s spinners put the brakes on and the South African tourists fell to a three run defeat.

Janneman Malan feels Proteas can fight back

All three matches will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore and conditions are expected to be similar, if not identical, which gives the Proteas a chance to learn from their mistakes and as Malan puts it “bounce back hard”.

“When you play at this level against Pakistan, there will always be pressure. But it is a good opportunity to bounce back hard. We have that ability. One game and then the momentum can change into the final game. So it is an opportunity to show fight and come back strong,” Malan said during a virtual press conference on Friday. 

“I think it [First T20I] was a competitive game. We came closer at the end. We were happy to have that as a chasing score but just couldn’t get there in the end. Hopefully next time we can get there,” he added.

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South Africa’s Janneman Malan is bowled out as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan watches during the first Twenty20 cricket match between Pakistan and South Africa at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on February 11, 2021. (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP) (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Pakistan dodge skidrow

The Proteas had expected the ball to begin to skid on in the latter half of the innings, but despite a wet outfield and moderate fog Pakistan’s spinner’s showed great control.

“It didn’t skid on, as expected, against the spinners. It was quite a challenge to face from the start and then we tried to capitalise against the seam. I think they adapted well in the middle to just change the game to make it more difficult for us. I just tried to back my strength against the seam. I think there is room for improvement (in facing spin). We will think about it and come up with better plans.

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Pakistan Usman Qadir (2R) celebrates with captain Babar Azam (2L) after taking the wicket of South Africa’s Janneman Malan (R) during the first Twenty20 cricket match between Pakistan and South Africa at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on February 11, 2021. (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP) (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

“It’s quite interesting weather. New conditions and the fog coming in late, so credit to them for taking catches and getting our batsmen out. It was obviously a wet outfield because of the dew and the ball was wet. It didn’t skid on however so we will take the lessons into the next couple of matches. I don’t think it is a matter of execution but we just need to come up with better plans. As a batting unit, you want to win games for your team. We are not that far from clicking,” he said.

The second T20I takes place on Saturday 13 February with the third following on Sunday; both matches start at 15:00 SAST.

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