There are various reasons that contributed to the downfall of the SA side in the Twenty20 championships. The make up of the squad is a very important aspect of this. Loots Bosman was injured just before the start of the championships and even though he expressed his desire to play the coach indicated he was unfit to play. He is now facing a disciplinary hearing after stating “I am sick of lies, I am very, very disappointed … Mickey tells too many lies.” His physiotherapist said he was fine to play yet CSA ruled him out, costing him R250 000 in lost earnings.
The replacement for Bosman would logically be another specialist batsman, however the selectors had a different idea and believed that another bowler would be the solution thus Andre Nel was selected in his place. This reduced the side of an opening batsman as the Coach Mickey Arthur indicated he had every intention of playing him in this role.
Jacques Kallis can have a good giggle to himself that is if he can stifle a smile about missing out on R250 000 of his salary for being a batsman that scores too slowly. Especially when a side requiring 126 cant even muster a run a ball in the Pro20 format when it counted. The only player to score more than a run a balls was Ntini, who looked a lot better out there than the man who effectively replaced Jacques Kallis – Johan van der Wath who made a single off 6 balls when there was still a chance of the total being reached.
The new selection panel have got off to a shocking start with egg on their faces after their decision to drop Kallis has backfired horribly. Without focusing on his batting ability Kallis has featured as a top international bowler for South Africa. In addition he has years of experience, something you can’t buy with your fish and chips.
The poor vision of the selectors is a worry. There is no reason why Kallis couldn’t have come in at 4 if there was a batting collapse like SA had and if they got off to a flyer he could have been pushed down the order.
The biggest question is what did the see Johan van der Wath doing that Kallis couldn’t have done?? Van der Wath is a good cricketer and deserved the chance to play international cricket but to take the place of Jacques Kallis in the squad seemed ridiculous at the time of selection and was proven in the series.
The captain of South Africa has transformed from a boy with high ambitions to succeed into a man who cant lead from the front. He is a great player but his bark has been worse than his bite for a long time now. The coach and captain seem to share a very close relationship to the point where a conflict of interest seems to be arising and will ultimately lead to an untenable relationship.
The time for a change in the setup of SA cricket is upon us…
The last day of the group stages features two key matches out of the three on offer. The first match of the day at 10 am (8:00am GMT) is the decider between Australia and Sri-Lanka, the winner will join Pakistan in the semi-finals. It is hard to call a winner in this game, as Australia are without a doubt the best side in the world in the longer versions of the game, however they have struggled to adjust to the shortest version, twenty20.
There is no doubt they have the players that can impact on this game, however they haven’t seemed to adjust to this format quickly enough. I think Sri-Lanka will win it in a tightly contested game. The key man for Australia will be Symonds, a brutal innings from him could change the game.
Pakistan vs Bangladesh: There is nothing to lose for Bangladesh who started off by thrashing the West Indians, and struggling from there. They have some classy players, but are no match for the powerful Pakistanis.
South Africa vs India: The final match could cause some calculator work to be used if India beat SA. South Africa will qualify as the number one side even if they lose to India provided it is nail bitingly close. However if South Africa get trounced by India, they could find the net run rate counting against them and fail to qualify. It is an unlikely situation, especially as India just need a win to qualify regardless of by how much it is.
I have worked out that if India score 210 and SA fail to make 195 they will be knocked out. At the moment they have the best NRR however the matches are so close it is easy for them to relinquish this position.
I predict South Africa to win this game but it will be their toughest game of the tournament so far as there is added pressure on them. The conditions will be very interesting and more than likely favouring the side batting first. This toss is a vital one to win.
Pakistan and New Zealand are through to the semi-finals, England and Bangladesh are out, Australia have to beat Sri-Lanka to qualify.
Today SA face NZ, tomorrow they take on India. India have to beat England today in order to give themselves a chance of qualifying. The winner of this group will face Australia or Sri-Lanka, depending on the outcome of tomorrows game. Pakistan face bangladesh and surely must win tomorrow?
Pakistan and South Africa have looked like the danger sides thus far in the tournament and If SA win their last two game these sides will contest the final if they win the semi’s, which will be deserved and an absolute cracker!!!!
England won the toss and elected to field first, which was justified by the way that they started, with SA in trouble at 43/3 after 6 overs. This would be the first game where SA have needed their middle order and they stabilised the ship taking SA to 91 runs before Boucher was out. Pollock went back to the dugout for a golden duck followed soon by Kemp.
SA were 94/6 after 15 overs at this stage and if England had held onto some chances they score line wouldn’t have been so flattering. Albie Morkel, coming back from the wilderness showed why he is a player to watch in the future as he tore apart England’s fragile bowling line up. Morkel hit three 6’s in a row off Schofield’s over which got SA back on track, allowing a respectable total of 154 all things considered.
England’s selection policy might well be the topic of their newspapers in the morning as they decided to elevate a struggling Wright, a youngster with an incredible talent, to open the batting after failing in the other matches. He lasted 4 balls before going back to the dugout.
Pietersen was always going to be the key man and a very unfortunate run out involving him colliding into Shaun Pollock and losing his bat in the process, which consequently found him wanting with a direct hit by Ntini. After many replays it seems that KP wasn’t watching where he was running and paid the price. Collingwood was back in the dugout with KP after the first ball he faced and England looked in trouble. Prior and Shah rebuilt the innings and at the end of the 12th over England needed 76 off 48 which is rather reachable in this format.
The hero on the batting front for SA ensured his man of the match status by picking up Prior in his first over and Shah in his second, both key wickets which brought about the crumbling of the chase by England and allowed a 19 run victory to the Proteas.
SA should know that even though it was a decent win in the end, the English bowled and batted far better than they did. England missed roughly 7 chances and their poor fielding was the difference between the two sides that and Albie Morkel who won it for SA. Without his quick fire 43 or his 2 wickets in 2 overs for 12 runs, SA would have come second in this game.
Anderson bowled superbly and for the first time justified his recall, he hasn’t impressed me much recently, he gets wickets but is usually expensive and inconsistent. England look a very dangerous side in this format and may well cause an upset in the semi’s if they get there.
Today brings the last day of pool games. There is a lot of interest in how Bangladesh will fare against South Africa whilst Sri Lanka, rated by many as a side to win this competition face the unpredictable New Zealand!!! Both games should be highly entertaining and should provide an indication how the sides will fare in the Super 8 format.