SA SQUAD FOR PAKISTAN

SA SQUAD:

Graeme Smith (captain), Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Shaun Pollock, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn.

I am very glad to see Dale Steyn is back in the line-up, and amused to see there is no appointed vice captain!!!

Previews of Australia vs Sri-Lanka, Pakistan vs Bangladesh and South Africa vs India

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.

5 Games to go

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!!!!

SA vs England Twenty20

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.

Twenty20 Fixtures for the group stages

The first day on the group stages got underway on Sunday with New Zealand, Australia and South Africa winning their matches. The group stages finish on Thursday with the semi finals being played on Saturday and the final on Monday, a public holiday in South Africa.

The remaining fixtures for the group stages:

17   PAKISTAN  v  SRI LANKA   Wanderers Stadium   18:00
18   NEW ZEALAND  v  ENGLAND   Kingsmead   10:00
18   AUSTRALIA  v  PAKISTAN   Wanderers Stadium   14:00
18   BANGLADESH  v  SRI LANKA   Wanderers Stadium   18:00
19   SOUTH AFRICA  v  NEW ZEALAND   Kingsmead   14:00
19   ENGLAND  v  INDIA   Kingsmead   18:00
20   AUSTRALIA  v  SRI LANKA   Newlands    10:00
20   BANGLADESH  v  PAKISTAN   Newlands   14:00
20   SOUTH AFRICA  v  INDIA   Kingsmead   18:00