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The thought may not be comforting to their supporters but South Africa are getting themselves into a spin ahead of their WorldT20 semi-final against India. They had Shane Warne in the nets offering advice to Imran Tahir, as he has done at Hampshire in the past, and the batsmen are getting their dancing shoes in preparation for India’s spinners.
“We know it’s going to be a big challenge for us. We want to put up a big performance against their spinners,” JP Duminy said. “We know that their spinners will be a key component to their team.”
India will have at least a trio of frontline tweakers taking on South Africa, with Amit Mishra an obvious threat. “He has been on top form for India in this tournament and we definitely not going to take him lightly,” Duminy said. “The guys have played against him and we kind of know what to expect.”
As a team, South Africa have only come up against Mishra twice and that was more than 10 years ago in two ODIs in 2003. But individually, many of them have faced him in the IPL and they will draw on that knowledge when they meet him again. They will also have to dig into the archives to remind themselves of how to approach batting in conditions which suit spin, which is what the Dhaka surface promises to do.
South Africa have come from Chittagong where Hashim Amla admitted, “the wickets had a bit more pace and bounce in it,” and minimal turn. He has spotted a “bit of a difference,” in tracks in Dhaka but even if he didn’t, the evidence is clear.
Mishra has made merry there, being named Man of the Match in two of India’s four games. He is third on the list of wicket-takers of all teams who did not have to qualify for the Super Ten and his nine scalps have come at an average of 8.77. Samuel Badree has taken 10 wickets in Dhaka at an average of 9. The returns of those two legspinners will have Imran Tahir drooling.
Despite playing the first four matches in Chittagong, he is still the leading wicket-taker of the teams that did not play in the qualifying stage – his 11 wickets have come at an average of 9.18.