Standard Bank Proteas all-rounder, Andile Phehlukwayo, hopes to take the experience from his match-winning performance in the 78-run win in the first ODI against New Zealand as valuable learning going forward in his young international career. The 20-year-old showed the temperament of a veteran in his unbeaten 29 off 23 balls, which, along with the contribution from AB de Villiers (37 off 34 balls), steered the Proteas to a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
He gave a glimpse of his death-hitting skills earlier this season, when he blasted an unbeaten 42 off 39 balls in the four-wicket win against Australia in Durban. The Proteas were in the same situation as Sunday evening, and the youngster was once again able to step up with an explosive display of confident and measured powerful hitting.
“I take a lot of positivity,” an ecstatic Phehlukwayo said of Sunday’s performance. “Especially the belief that I can do it the second time. If I can do it more consistently, that is something that I would like to do a lot more. It helps batting with a lot of players who are more experienced, if I am in the situation again I think I can take in on myself if AB or David (Miller) are not there.
“It was exciting,” he said of batting with de Villiers. “I have never batted with him, he is a world-class player and everyone knows his abilities. I have learnt a lot from him, in terms of game-plans and what I need to do, how I need to train. The conditions weren’t really ideal; we took a lot of our time to get used to them but we executed our game plans really well.”
Phehlukwayo, who earned his Proteas selection following impressive performances for the Hollywoodbets Dolphins in the CSA T20 Challenge and Momentum One-Day Cup, says he has gained a lot of self-belief and character in his debut season for the Proteas.
“I’ve learnt quite a bit,” he said of his 11-match ODI career. “On the bowling end I need to get a few paces up and try to execute my line and lengths more often than not. On the batting side; I enjoy pressure situations and I try to give myself time to hit straight, execute my game plans and assess the conditions a lot quicker.”