Proteas’ off-spinner Johan Botha believes South Africa have yet not reached their full potential in 20-over cricket and, despite an explosive innings from Richard Levi in Hamilton on Sunday, there was still room for improvement.
“It was nice for the team that Richard played a very special innings,” Botha said ahead of the Twenty20 (T20) international series decider against New Zealand at Eden Park on Wednesday.
“That is something all of us will remember for a very long time — I think in the field, though, we still weren’t at our best — We have the opportunity to win the series and will need to be at our best if we are going to achieve that.”
The Proteas levelled the series at 1-1 as Levi, who smashed a record T20 International century off 45 balls and hit 13 sixes, guided them to an eight-wicket victory.
“We definitely want to win the series, we came here to win and that is why we play this game,” Botha said.
“It is nice to be at 1-1 here now, and I’m sure there will be a really good crowd and a lot of expectation about the game on Wednesday — It’s good to play in tight games like this — there is a series on the line and it’s almost like a quarterfinal or semifinal situation.”
“You know that it’s the big games that really matter and I’m sure that all of us are happy that it’s 1-1 now,” he added.
Botha was instrumental in restricting New Zealand to 173 runs on Sunday, returning figures of 1-22 from his four overs.
He opened the bowling with Lonwabo Tsotsobe, and was used effectively by captain AB de Villiers throughout the innings.
“I think it’s not a bad way of doing it [rotating the bowlers],” Botha said. “To bowl three of your four overs straight in T20 cricket is tough these days, so it’s nice to get one out of the way in the first six overs, then a couple just after the power play and maybe one at the end again.”
“I think that worked out nicely, but you just have to go with your feel on the day and that is what we felt yesterday — We wanted to take some pace off upfront and probably take more pace out in the middle.”