Champions Trophy Groupings

The  rankings are done 6 months before the tournament starts, which means even when SA finish their series against Bangaldesh 3-0 up and claim the top spot they have been ranked number two for the tournament. The two groups will be played on a round-robin format with the top two sides progressing to the semi-finals.  SA seem to have the easier group avoiding the sub continent sides which are lethal and the venue is Pakistan

Group A Australia (1), India (4), Pakistan (5), West Indies (8)
Group B South Africa (2), New Zealand (3), Sri Lanka (6), England (7)

SA vs Bangladesh 2nd ODI

Unsurprisingly South Africa made it 2 from 2 in the ODI series, it wasnt such a battering this time only a 7 wicket victory. Bangladesh managed another score in the 170 odd region which was a good recovery from 18/4. A 100 run partnership from the Hasans (no relation I dont think) managed to stable the ship for a little bit taking them to 137/5 before another collapse left them 173 all out.

 Bangladesh might have got a little excited when SA were 60/3 but De Villiers and Duminy steered them home comfortably.

 If SA win the last match they will be the number 1 ODI side in the world

SA Squad for India

Graeme Smith (captain), Ashwell Prince (vice-captain), Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Charl Langeveldt, Neil McKenzie, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Robin Peterson and Dale Steyn.

The team has seen Andre Nel threaten to quit SA cricket (see more here) after being dropped for Charl Langeveldt. There is a lot more to it than his childish but understandable outburst about being dropped. He has been an integral part of the test setup this season edging out the legendary Shaun Pollock, no mean feat and something difficult to comprehend for the experts and casual followers. However if you saw him bowling against West Indies you will remember that he justified his inclusion in the side.

It is clear that the selectors who picked a squad of only FOUR players of colour for the Bangladesh tour (Peterson replaced Harris who was injured) when six was the target have now been instructed to pick a squad of six players of colour. Another clear message came from the 2nd test in Bangladesh where Botha had done nothing wrong to be dropped, yet he was dropped for Peterson which ensured the side had four players of colour.

I am still trying to figure out why there must be 6 players of colour in the squad if only 4 will play. In the current line-up which wont change much from the last few test the team has been made up of: Graeme Smith (captain), Ashwell Prince (vice-captain), Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, Neil McKenzie, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn.

This means that either Charl Langeveldt, Robin Peterson, JP Duminy or Paul Harris (if fit) will make up the last spot. If Harris is chosen which is more than likely, the squad will have to adapt, with the possibility of Morkel making way for Langeveldt/Peterson or McKenzie dropped for Duminy.

Andre Nel has had a good tour of Bangladesh and clearly was not impressed by the omission. The bottom line is the selectors have put their heads together and believe that Morkel is a better bowler than Nel, and thus he is left out. For quota reasons Ntini wont be dropped (nor should he be for any reason)

If you had to say which player of colour would be the first one to be picked out of the ODI squad, most people would have gone with Herschelle Gibbs ahead of Langeveldt. This is a clear sign to Gibbs to get his act together if he wants a place in the team to England in June.

Peterson bowled himself into contention picking up  5-33 in the second innings of the second test. That said we now have two spinners who are left arm orthodox, instead of Botha who would add another dimension to the team.

It is the toughest challenge yet for SA in this season, facing an Indian side that could have easily won the Test series against Australia and ended off on a high note. It will take another monster effort from the worlds best bowler, certainly most destructive bowler Dale Steyn and a massive performance from the inexperienced Morkel to give SA a chance of completing a clean sweep of the season. With a fragile top order on the batting front, it will be a remarkable series victory.

Bangladesh vs South Africa 1st ODI: Bangladesh Battered

Bangladesh have again been battered in the ODI format losing by nine wickets to an under strength South African outfit. Bangladesh won the toss and decided to bat first, posting a meagre total of 178. The only decent score was made by Tamim Iqbal, who made 82 his top score to date. Iqbal is still a teenager and this being his fourth half-century in 22 ODI starts, hopefully he can bring some composure to this side.

The South African bowlers all got in on the action, Nel picking up 3/24 in 10, Langeveldt, Harris and Albie Morkel each getting two wickets. Botha managed one wicket and was the most expensive bowler conceding 43 in ten overs.

Smith added to his improving form by getting 103* a good sign for South Africa who face India after the Bangladesh leg of their tour. Gibbs is also finding some form as he made 57 in uncharacteristically slow fashion. That said, Herschelle knows that he is playing for his place and the mediocrity shown more often than not in the last two years is now catching up with him. Especially after Neil McKenzie managed a double century in the test series. (Click here for match report)

It is difficult to remember why Bangladesh are in the first tier, and when looking at their track record of 36 wins in 167 games one might point out that their winning average is just over 20%. This may be correct, however when you scratch the surface and see whom the victories are against there is little ground supporting top teams playing against them.

Of the 36 victories 15 are against Zimbabwe, (they have lost 18) and 8 against Kenya (lost 6). It is easier to indicate whom they have beaten. They have won 1/13 against Australia, 2/17 against India, 1/18 against Pakistan and 1/10 playing South Africa. They have never beaten England, New Zealand or West Indies.

It might be harsh to say Bangladesh are a waste of time, the side is a developing one. One has to wonder how long they will take to develop. There are some promising players in their line-up however, when you look at the current sides’ batting averages (CLICK HERE) and only two players average over 30 it seems that the development stage is still in its infancy. 

On the bowling front things seem slightly better. There are four bowlers with averages below 30. (Click here)  This is encouraging for the Tigers, and hopefully if they can develop their batting they will be a side that is worth paying some attention to. They are exciting when they get going, some incredible shots and skill comes out, but with any young side, these high risk and possible high reward shots come out too often and lead to their downfall.