Farhaan Behardien silenced some of his critics with a man-of-the-match performance as the struggling Proteas beat world champions Australia.
The hard-fought 47-run bonus-point victory on Wednesday night opened South Africa’s account in the Tri-Nations series in the Caribbean after they lost to hosts West Indies last Friday.
And the Guyana win comes as a massive confidence boost to allrounder Behardien and the Proteas too.
The Titans man rescued them from being a poor 112/6 with his measured 62 (84 balls, 4 fours, 1 six), his fifth ODI half century, to help post 189/9.
Behardien’s rescue act saw him share an invaluable stands of 37 with Aaron Phangiso (9) and 39 with Rabada (14).
That gave the Proteas a glimmer of hope, which they latched onto thanks to the bowlers – with Rabada the star of the show with the ball (3/13).
Behardien says: “It’s nice to get a score for the team, we were 1-0 down after the Windies defeat.
“It was good to grind it out for almost 30 overs. The trend in the game is for big scores, big sixes and free-flowing cricket.
“So this performance pleases me.”
Looking ahead to the rematch with the Aussies in St Kitts, the Cape-born Behardien adds: “St Kitts and Barbados offers better bounce, truer bounce.
“Here in Guyana, the wickets were slow and low.”
He hailed SA’s three-prong spin attack – Aaron Phangiso took 2/26, Imran Tahir picked up 2/39 and debutant Tabraiz Shamsi returned tidy figures of 1/36 in eight overs.
Behardien adds: The bowlers came to the party.
“We always felt that we had a chance if we bowled well, which we did.
“We had a pretty bold game plan going in with three spinners, which I think we have almost never done with a SA ODI side. And it paid off on this surface.
“Shamsi was chucked in the deep end. He is a little bit of a mystery. He’ll have to work hard if he wants to continue making an impact.”
“There has been a big emphasis on playing the spin. Hopefully in St Kitts, there will be something for the batters too.”