South African all-rounder –Farhaan Behardien believes that the Proteas batsmen have to play smart cricket, as well as, have to be smart with shot-selection in the Cape Town in the T20 International series decider on Saturday (24 February) to clinch the series against India.
However, India have never played T20 cricket at Newlands while the hosts don’t have a good record at the ground but both teams are familiar with the conditions.
According to a report in Press Trust of India, Behardien told reporters on the eve of the third T20I, “In the Highveld (Centurion) the ball flies and can go for six much more easily. Here we have to be slightly smarter as the ball does not travel that far. Maybe we need to target a flatter trajectory. Maybe the twos become important. The Newlands pitch hasn't changed much over the last two years. It is good. Some of the shots that go for six at Highveld can be caught at the boundary here.”
He further explained, “Last time we played here, we made 170 and Sri Lanka chased it. We had a few dropped catches and the wind was a bit swirling. I reckon between 160 and 180 will be the ideal score. The ball might swing a bit, as it is a 6 pm start. There could be some shape on offer. 160 is a very competitive score depending we play two spinners or they play two spinners. Like I said the ball here doesn't travel as much as in Highveld. So one or two mishits here, you can pick a couple of wickets whereas in Johannesburg, with the kind of momentum, you can see the ball travel to the boundary.”
Indian wrist-spin duo Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal picked up 33 wickets together in the ODI series, but Behardien said the hosts have played them well and he is confident they will do well in the final against India. He stated, “Our batsmen have a different mindset going into T20 cricket. It is down to us to get that ascendancy back from the ODI series. I believe we have played them better. In the T20s the guys have been in some form. I have no doubt we will do better (tomorrow).”
He further added, “Yes we have struggled against Kuldeep. He was in form and took his chances, whenever we tried to do something against him. We also gave away a few wickets. In the battle across the board, he took that ascendancy and he was good form. I am not sure if we struggled to pick them. I think their pace has been good and have bowled a bit slower. Not many bowlers in our country bowl that slow. Wickets are quite good here so our spinners bowl with flatter pace on the ball.”
Behardien signed off by saying, “Tomorrow is a big game. We learned a lot from Johannesburg and we applied that in Centurion. As long as we keep improving, we will do better. We are playing against a strong outfit but we have a plan. We had a good training session today. We will be fighting tooth and nail to win tomorrow.”