Andy Flower says pitch for T20 World Cup semifinal between South Africa and Afghanistan was ‘dangerous’ | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Former Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower criticized the pitch used for the T20 World Cup semifinal match in Tarouba on Thursday. He described it as ‘dangerous’ following Afghanistan’s crushing nine-wicket loss to South Africa.
Afghanistan struggled on the challenging surface, which exhibited inconsistent bounce and excessive seam movement. They were bundled out for a paltry 56 runs in just 11.5 overs, their lowest total in T20I cricket.South Africa capitalized on the situation and secured their maiden World Cup final berth.
Although Flower supported Afghanistan’s choice to bat first after winning the toss, he acknowledged that the batsmen found it extremely difficult to assess the bounce of the pitch.
“You can’t blame Afghanistan for doing what they did at the toss. They had such an excellent record batting first and then defending with a very good varied attack of their own,” Flower told ESPNCricinfo, as quoted by PTI.
“But batting first was a really tough ask. You didn’t know what a good score would be and they were just blown away.”
“A couple of balls flew off a length around, sort of shoulder, neck, chin height off the South African quicks and one of them flew over Quinton de Kock — the ‘keeper’s head and gloves for four byes. I was pleased that no one got hurt,” Flower said.
Flower, the coach of the Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL, expressed his concerns about the pitch conditions after closely examining the visuals. He pointed out the presence of cracks and blocks on the surface, which led to a “wild variance in bounce.”
“You saw some interesting visual shots from above the square and a couple of the commentators referenced this being a brand new pitch. Perhaps, they could have used a pitch that had been used previously,” he said.
“Those shots showed that crazy paving-type effect and that those blocks and the cracks produced this wild variance in bounce. As a batter, you’re trying to predict where the ball is going to be. You want to meet it somewhere near the middle of the bat, at least.”
“(But) on this pitch, it was almost impossible to do that on any consistent basis at all. I thought it was actually a little bit dangerous,” said the former England head coach.
Former Australia all-rounder Tom Moody described batting on the pitch at the Brian Lara Stadium as an extremely tough task to overcome. The surface posed significant challenges for the batsmen, making it arduous to score runs freely.
“I don’t think you’d want to see it in any game, to be honest with you. You want a fair contest between bat and ball and I’m not advocating that we need to have surfaces that you need 200 plus runs,” he said.
“But you need consistent bounce – that is the most important thing – (and) any batter would hold their hands up and say, that is the most important thing.”
“If you’ve got one ball that’s hitting the toe of your bat or one that you feel like you’re going to punch with your gloves at the same length, that is a very difficult challenge to combat,” he added.
Moody noticed that the pitch had dense grass growth in the vicinity of the cracks, which caused the ball to bounce erratically and unpredictably upon landing on the surface.
“You see, this sort of crazy paving, if I could put it that way, where a lot of dense grass was gathered around those cracks – you could just tell that was the thing that promoted the inconsistency of bounce,” he said.
“It’ll be something that they’ll reflect on, if not reflecting on already and thinking, well, we’ve got this wrong,” added Moody.

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