South Africa vs Ireland 24 June

South Africa faced Ireland in a rain affected game on Sunday. The Irish managed to win the toss which was about the only joy they would get from the game. South Africa didn’t massacre the bowling as some might have predicted, mainly due to debutant Alex Cusack picking up 3 of the top 4 batsman in his 4 overs. He ended up with 3/15 in his spell. Morne van Wyk made sure his recall wouldn’t go unnoticed as he top scored for South Africa with 52 off 84 balls. It might not have been the quickest 50 off his life, but will give him some hope of playing for the national side more often. He was supported by  De Villiers making 40 and Jacques Kallis contributing 46 whilst Kemp made a brisk 18* off 13 balls.

The match was restricted to 31 overs and 173 might not have been enough against a stronger opposition and flashbacks from the world cup friendly against Ireland must have come to haunt the players as Ireland were on 45 off 9 overs before losing their first wicket. Dale Steyn picked up 2/30 off 7 which is fairly respectable in a comeback match. The hero for South Africa was Vernon Philander a man who could become South Africa’s best all- rounder in the near future. Vernon decided to celebrate turning 22 in an unforgettable manner making his debut for the Proteas and setting himself an almost impossible task of bettering his career-best figures in the future. Philander picked up 4/12 in 5.5 overs, and halted in resurgence the Irish had. On the other end of the debut scale was Thandi Tshabalala, who had a fairly innocuous start going for 22 in 3 overs but he did pick up a wicket.

South Africa managed a 42 run win against the Irish, which under the circumstances was a very comfortable win. The only surprising decision made by the Proteas was to not let JP Duminy come in earlier on in the innings, however he did get a bowl (maybe to make up for this oversight) and took 1/16 in 3 overs.

SA Team and Fixtures

The South African squad that are playing Ireland and India:

Jacques Kallis (Capt), Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Hall, Justin Kemp, Charl Langeveldt, Andrè Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Thandi Tshabalala, Mornè van Wyk

The Fixtures are:

JUNE 24: SA VS IRELAND 

JUNE 26: SA VS INDIA

JUNE 29: SA VS INDIA

JULY 1: SA VS INDIA

England vs West Indies day 4

Kevin Pieterson managed 226 to help England post 570 in 122.3 overs before declaring. Ryan Sidebottom was the chief destroyer in the first innings picking up 4-42 whilst Plunkett got 3-35. West Indies were all out for 146 and are now 31/3. There has been some play today, but agian they are off for rain, which is the only way the Windies wont be totally humiliated.

I hope the weather clears else England will have lost out on giving one of the biggest thrashings of all time. Windies have just made the deficit under 400, but it looks more than likely England will wrap them up and win by an innings and 300 runs, as Sarwan cant bet so technically Windies are 31/4 now!!!

Weekly Roundup of County Championship matches 9-12 May

Durham posted 407 in their first innings against Kent, aided by their Australian opener, Michael Di Venuto scoring 204*runs. Dale Benkenstein only made 2 in the first innings, but made up for it in the second innings making 77* runs. Kent must be enjoying having Ryan Mclaren on board as he picked up 4-91 in 19.5 overs. Andrew Hall went for 48 in 10 without a wicket. He managed to make 42 runs in the first innings. Kent reached 400 in their first innings with captain Robert Key top scoring with 169 runs. Steve Harmison picked up 4 wickets for 75 runs. Martin van Jaarsveld managed only 10 in his innings. Durham managed 319 in 72.5 overs, setting Kent 327 runs to win. Durham managed to get them out in 50.3 overs for 169. Steve Harmison sent out a signal to the selectors as he picked up 5-61 in 19.3 overs, giving him a 9-wicket haul in the match.

Hampshire faced Lancashire, each side managed to bat once in a rain affected game. There were no special performances apart from Stuart Clark from Australia picking up 7 wickets for Hampshire.

Dale Steyn showed that he is becoming a better batsman, making 51 off 46 balls to help Warwickshire reach 326. His bowling wasn’t fantastic, but neither were the rest of his team mates as Surrey cantered to 400-1 declared. Again rain played a role, and Warwickshire were on 5 when the game was drawn. Mark Ramprakash and John Batty made undefeated 100′s, 120 and 154 respectively.

Jacques Rudolph made 129 not out to help Yorkshire post 521, which was way too much for Worcestershire, who folded making 129 and 132, allowing Yorkshire a comprehensive victory, a margain of 260 runs with an innings to spare!!!

HD Ackerman couldn’t continue his form as he made 1 in the first innings and 27 in the second as Leicestershire lost to Derbyshire. Charl Langeveldt picked up 3-64 and 1-40 for Leicestershire.

There must be a bit of controversy about the Northamptonshire vs. Somerset game. Somerset posted 641/6 declared, in reply Northamptonshire got to 400 and declared and were promptly sent back in to bat!! Seems fairly strange. Marcus Trescothick again showed why he is a fantastic player, making 284 in his innings. He has indicated he is not ready for international recall, if England will take him back. Klusener managed to pick up 1-99 whilst van der Wath went wicketless. Klusener made 36 van der Wath got 51 not out, Davey Jacobs opened and made 32 but was out for 3 when Northamptonshire followed on. Jacobs is a player that could break into the South African side in the future, and I predict a good county season for him

Nic Pothas is the Best Bet for England

There is not much to say about this. The english seem to always have a poor keeper, with the exception of Jack Russel’s incredible SA tour years ago. Stewart was fairly decent, but Geraint Jones has had the limelight for too long. 

Mark Boucher was voted as the best keeper in the world recently, which is strange as I am sure if AB de Villiers was given the gloves, Boucher would be the second best in SA!!! However Boucher is a vital cog in the ODI side, de Villiers has his own part to play, and they work well for South Africa.

Many years ago, Mark Boucher was relatively unknown when selected, and pipped the popular choice of Nic Pothas, a man who was fantastic behind the stumps and could occasionaly contribute with the bat. Nic stayed in South Africa hoping his chance would come, and it eventually did, against Pakistan in 2000. He managed to play 3 ODI for SA, in Boucher’s absence then he was again discarded.

Pothas realised that his international future was not going to be based in South Africa, and promptly moved over to the UK, representing Hampshire. These days he has transformed from a specialist wicketkeeper, that could scratch a few runs to a batsman worth fearing. He now has 19 hundreds and 43 fifties to his credit, and average of 40.32 and scored over 8000 runs. (courtesy of cricinfo) He is a man that if selected, as he is know available for selection, will show to the rest of the players that you are never to old to represent your country. It will also indicate that the side hasbeen chosen on form not past performance. It is in Englands best interests to select this man, wait and see.