Yusuf made the difference: Smith

Yusuf made the difference: Smith

"Yusuf was probably the difference between the two teams tonight,” the South African skipper, Pathan’s former team-mate at Rajasthan Royals, conceded. “Every batter struggled to score freely tonight, and he went better than a run a ball. He timed the ball sweetly, which every other batter struggled to do, so he was the real difference. When he came in, they were under real pressure and he counter-attacked really well. Having known Yusuf, he has that potential, so well done to him tonight."

With India having snatched a 2-1 lead, South Africa find themselves playing catch-up for the first time in a month. “It’s always important to keep doing the right things,” Smith insisted. “The margins have been so small in the last two games, we could easily have been 2-1 up or 3-0 up.

“We have got to keep training hard and keep doing the right things and hopefully, things will click into place. The World Cup squad has come out, that will ease a lot of minds and stresses on the players. Hopefully, it will free up a lot of the players.”

Harbhajan Singh has had the South Africans in a bind over the last two games, not just keeping things tight but also picking up important wickets. “Harbhajan has bowled really well, you got to give him credit,” Smith pointed out. “He’s bowled tight, the wickets have helped him. He has bowled extremely well, especially at our left-handers.”

The Newlands strip, Smith said, had made life difficult for the batsmen. “The wicket was very difficult to bat on,” he noted. “It had a lot of plates on it which created a two-pace nature, making stroke-production difficult, and it also had a lot of up-and-down bounce. We thought 240 would have been a really good total, but our Power Play was poor again. We came close, but missed one or two crucial chances at the back end.”
There was praise for debutant Francois du Plessis, who impressed with a polished half-century. “It was great to see Faf come in and play so well, especially under pressure. I think he has got something special, which is good.”

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