World Cup: South Africa spin twins working in tandem | Cricket News
Maharaj, Shamsi complement each other as team eyes semis berth CHENNAI: Spinners at the MA Chidambaram Stadium are usually expected to steal the show with their tricks, but South African tweakers Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi grabbed the headlines not with their primary skill. While Shamsi had his moment under the sun with the ball too, the duo held on with the bat for the last-wicket partnership to help Proteas pip Pakistan by one wicket on Friday. “I had my pads on for a very long time. I’ve never done a press conference about my batting. Really nice to be able to help the team with the bat,” Shamsi said, soaking in the moment of victory. On the other hand, Maharaj was pleased to get the match-winning runs, hitting Mohammed Nawaz for a boundary. “I think as a cricketer, you dream of winning moments. And it was one of those moments for me. I know how big the win is for the team. So, that’s why I think the emotions were highlighted,” said Maharaj.
South Africa, who were bowling first for the second time in this World Cup, made the right call by bringing in Shamsi. In their previous four victories, their batters had set up their wins. Even though none of their bowlers had been wicket-less before this match, the Pakistan challenge in Chepauk proved to be a crucial test for the South African bowlers, especially spinners. Shamsi – a chinaman bowler – who was recalled after the Australia match in Lucknow, had a field day as he spun a web around Pakistan, claiming four wickets. Finger-spinner Maharaj was not at his usual best, but he remains one of the crucial cogs in the South African wheel. His ability to keep things tight at one end complements Shamsi’s penchant for being slightly adventurous in search of wickets. Maharaj, who has had a decent run so far in the World Cup with seven wickets, was happy to see Shamsi’s hard work in the nets pay off. “Fortunately, enough, we have a lot of depth from the fast bowlers’ perspective. It just shows the quality that we have in our squad and I’m especially really happy for Shammo. He’s done an amazing job. He’s done some really hard yards in the nets,” said Maharaj. Shamsi, too, knew the helpful Chepauk track was his chance to show his mettle. “Our boys up front have been doing a great job. Full credit goes to the guys that bowled before me. It was my day to take the wickets, but they obviously set it up,” said Shamsi.