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‘We will do our homework’

Calcutta: Wary of India’s “exceptional” spinners, South Africa are working hard to prepare a good gameplan to tackle the spin duo of Amit Mishra and Ravichandran Ashwin when the two teams clash in the World T20 semis, on Friday.

South African batsman JP Duminy said performing well against the Indian spinners will be a “big challenge”.

“Their spinners have bowled exceptionally well… We want to put up a big performance against their spinners. It is a big game. It’s the semi-final of a World Cup and it doesn’t get bigger than this,” Duminy said after the team’s practice session at the BCB Academy nets, on Tuesday.

Duminy, who scored 39 against Sri Lanka and 86 against New Zealand, has the experience of playing alongside Mishra in the IPL side Sunrisers Hyderabad. The left-hander said that experience will certainly help, but the job remains tough.

“It’s not only me who has played against Mishra, but some of the other guys have also played against him. You kind of know what to expect from Mishra. He has been in top form for India in this tournament and definitely we are not going to take him lightly. We will certainly do our homework and see to it that our gameplan is in order,” he said.

Apart from Duminy, stand-in captain AB de Villiers has also been in good nick. But Duminy feels that the semi-final will be a new day. “We have been successful in the last few games, but that does not necessarily mean that we will be successful again. We know that their spinners will play a key role.”

“It’s a new game… No matter what sort of things you have gone through in this tournament so far, it counts for nothing now. You certainly take a lot of confidence from your wins… But the team that plays better will win.”

South Africa’s victories in their last three group league matches have been by slender margins of 2, 6 and 3 runs respectively. But the art of winning from a losing position will keep them in good stead, feels Duminy.

“We will be taking a lot of confidence from those games in which we came on top… In two of those games, we were not meant to win… But then winning it from a position of disadvantage is something which will give us confidence,” Duminy said.

Duminy termed playing at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur as a big relief after having had to deal with the ‘dew factor’ in Chittagong. “Obviously, it was challenging for us… We have had to deal with the dew factor in two of our games… I guess we were trying to find a way to get around it as there’s no point complaining…

“I thought we did an exceptional job in defending that total against England. It was a big high for us. We had our game-plan in order and knew the ways to get around the dew factor. We also know that we will have play a lot of spin against India, but like I said, our preparation is in order.”

The South African team had a two-hour session. While Dale Steyn didn’t go full throttle at the nets, Morne Morkel was seen bowling off-breaks with a weird action.

Former player Proteas Jonty Rhodes, here as a part of the commentary team, dropped in during the session. He was seen having a chat with head of selection committee Andrew Hudson where he was telling his former teammate about certain fielding postures.