South Africa is prepared for the almost 360 degree change in conditions expected for the second T20 International against India at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Monday. The series has moved 2 000 km from the cooler temperatures of Dharamsala to the hot and humid climate of east India. Farhaan Behardien says: ‘We understand that the dimensions of the field are slightly bigger. We are not as high up from an altitude point so the ball won’t travel as far. We are going to have to prepare accordingly, we may have to run a lot more ones and twos. Running between the wickets will be important from a batter’s point of view. From a bowler’s view we may need to protect certain pockets of the field because of the bigger dimensions and plans. It is a lot warmer here so we will have to be smart with the way that we manage our energy.’
The Proteas and Indians were almost even in terms of boundaries scored in the first T20I, but it was the number of twos (13 compared to four by the hosts) run by the batsmen that gave the visitors the advantage. Half of the tally was run by Behardien and JP Duminy during their unbeaten 105-run partnership, which was buoyed by good communication between the all-rounders. Behardien says: ‘Batting with JP is always a bit of a blessing. He has been here so many times, especially playing in the IPL for Delhi, I’ve also learnt a lot from David Miller and AB De Villiers. Back home before the series I spent a lot of time with my franchise coach Rob Walter, we prepped a lot for spin and it helped, especially in those middle overs in a T20. India generally bowl spin in that period so it was nice to stay calm and JP had a calming influence over me.’
Duminy says: ‘We have batted together a few times and I think our communication has improved every game. Our main focus was to build on the partnership; the run-rate was at the 13-run mark and our focus every over was to try and keep it as close to that mark as possible’ The match will also be the first T20I match for the venue and Indian Premier League (IPL) scores for day-night matches average around 160 for either team batting first or second.