PRO20 FIXTURES

The Pro20 series kicks off this Wednesday and should be great entertainment, if the previous seasons are anything to go by!!!
 
February 2007

21 Gestetner Diamond Eagles v Fidentia Warriors Goodyear Park, Bloemfontein
23 Fidentia Warriors v Nashua Dolphins Buffalo Park, East London
23 Highveld Lions v Nashua Cape Cobras Liberty Life Wanderers Stadium
25 Nashua Cape Cobras v Fidentia Warriors Sahara Park, Newlands
25 Nashua Titans v Gestetner Diamond Eagles SuperSport Park, Centurion
28 Nashua Dolphins v Highveld Lions Sahara Stadium, Kingsmead

March 2007

2 Fidentia Warriors v Nashua Titans Sahara Oval, St George`s
2 Gestetner Diamond Eagles v Nashua Cape Cobras De Beers Diamond Oval, Kimberley
4 Highveld Lions v Gestetner Diamond Eagles Sedgars Park, Potchefstroom
7 Nashua Cape Cobras v Nashua Titans Sahara Park, Newlands
9 Nashua Dolphins v Nashua Cape Cobras Sahara Stadium, Kingsmead
9 Highveld Lions v Nashua Titans Liberty Life Wanderers Stadium
11 Gestetner Diamond Eagles v Nashua Dolphins Goodyear Park, Bloemfontein
14 Fidentia Warriors v Highveld Lions Buffalo Park, East London
14 Nashua Titans v Nashua Dolphins Willowmoore Park, Benoni

16 1st Semifinal

18 2nd Semifinal

23 Final

 
 

World Cup Cricket – SA squad

The announcement of the squad was always going to be controversial, and such a small squad can be limiting. There was a promise made by Mr Majola that at least seven players will be players of colour, transformation players who are picked because of their skin not their ability. Until the quota systems disappear, one can still assume that players of colour aren't chosen primarily on their talents. However there are certain players selected of colour that are there on merit.

 

The squad selected comprises of: Graeme Smith (captain), Jacques Kallis (vice-captain), Loots Bosman, Mark Boucher (wicketkeeper), AB de Villiers, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Hall, Justin Kemp, Charl Langeveldt, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Robin Peterson, Shaun Pollock, Ashwell Prince, Roger Telemachus.

 

This is the same squad chosen to play against Pakistan, and if any players should count themselves lucky, in my opinion it would be Loots Bosman, Justin Kemp and Robin Peterson. The players that I think were very unlucky to make the squad are: Morne van Wyk, Alfonso Thomas, JP Duminy and Johan van der Wath.

 

I really like Bosman, I think he is an exceptional talent and a man that can murder the opposition in the first 15 overs. However, South Africa haven't given him a fair chance. He came into the side primarily as a pinch hitter – someone whose job is to score 100 of 60 balls. His chances came when Smith was in a slump and was out a few times before Bosman faced a ball, and Kallis followed soon after in one of the matches. Despite instructions, there are few team players that can be in a situation where the team is 2 wickets down with 5 runs on the board and think ok I will play risky cricket now.

 

Bosman was subsequently dropped from the starting XI after the Indian ODI's but recalled to the side to play in the Pro20 against Pakistan, where he opened the innings and massacred the poor Pakistani's, which set a tone for the ODI's. Bosman was recalled for the 1 st ODI but slotted in at 3, allowing De Villiers in very indifferent form to open. Another slap in the face for the "Hammer" after showing what he is capable of opening the selectors then slot him in at 3!! The result of Smith and De Villiers opening was a massive 139 partnership, and De Villiers found some form effectively ensuring Bosman got the chop after failing to get many runs. Bosman is a nomad in the side, I have no idea what his role is or where he is supposed to bat and sadly think he is also lacking clarity.

 

Justin Kemp's selection over Van der Wath clearly indicates that our all-rounder policy is that we want a batsman that can bowl, rather than a bowler who can bat. An interesting decision as Van der Wath is good with the bat, and aside from Kemp's beautiful 100* against India he has been dismissed cheaply and often to soft dismissals. I am not sure if I would leave him out my squad, but certainly he would not be automatic choice in the starting 15.

 

Robin Peterson's selection baffles me almost all the time. One must assume that either the captain and Robin don't see eye to eye, or that Smithers has no faith in him. Whenever he gets selected, there is no guarantee that he will bowl and whilst he is handy with the bat and as a fielder, we either need to ensure he bowls his 10 overs or not play him at all. There is no point in selecting a bowler you have little or no faith in, nor Smithy bowling himself when a specialist spinner has been chosen.

 

The unlucky players have all done exceptionally well this season – aside from JP Duminy who according to the experts is struggling and lacking form, even though he scored 164 last weekend in the Supersport series, averaged 35 in the 45 over format – including 3 50's in 10 innings, and was only not once so his average is not over inflated like Klusener who might have had a 77 aberage but that was only because he was not out 6 times!!! JP Duminy is a rare talent and should be exposed to the international scene as much as possible. Speaking of talents, Vaughn van Jaarsveld is someone to watch, and Arno Jacobs is the big fish that has never been caught.

 

All in all it is a well balanced side, there is continuity in the selections and it is a side which can bring back the cup, especially as Kallis has rediscovered his bowling ability and Smith has found some sort of form.
 

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2nd ODI SA VS PAK

The second ODI took place at Kingsmead, with Pakistan batting first. In the first over Pollock picked up a lucky wicket and one could be forgiven for thinking a repeat of the hiding in the 1 st ODI was on the cards. However Khan and Nazir managed to put on 79 runs for the second wicket in 11 overs. One could be forgiven for thinking that a wicket would slow down the rate, however the third wicket brought 120 runs in 22 overs, leaving Pakistan on 204/3, and an ideal position for the captain to take advantage of.

 

Inzy showed his intent hitting some beautiful shots before running himself out carelessly, the 40th time he has been run out and the 9 th against SA, that must be a record!!! Talking about records Afridi came to the wicket, and let loose on the SA attack, making a superb 50 in 20 balls, the second quickest in SA, Boucher had managed a 50 in 19 balls, the record is 17 by Jayasuria ironically against Pakistan. The class of Afridi showed, with some beautiful shots, combined with very risky ones, including walking across the wickets and sweeping SA’s strike bowler, ntini for 4 twice!!! Afridi ended up with 77 off 35, leaving Pakistan on 351, a new record for the Kingsmead stadium.

 

A total like this would be hard enough to reach in the daytime, let alone at night in Durban , so it was no surprise that SA were bundled out for 210, a massive 141 short of the target. It was a good toss to win, but you need to put the runs on the board, which Pakistan did, and plenty of them. A great set-up for Friday at St Georges Park, unfortunately another stadium where the toss is vital to win.

 

South Africa need to re-think their middle order as there seems to be some glitches that have to be sorted before the world cup. Kemp has failed in both matches to post a significant score, and against India scored 8 runs in 2 innings, however he did have an unbeaten century…

South Africa vs Pakistan 1st ODI

South Africa lost the toss and were sent into bat at Centurion on Sunday, a decision which would have raised a few peoples eyebrows, especially after the captain of Pakistan, indicated it was a very good batting pitch before making his decision.

South Africa decided to change the opening partnership from the Pro20 game, sending in De Villiers with Smith, another decision which would have raised some eyebrows. The pair set the tone early, making the fielders fetch from all parts of the ground, before Smith was dismissed in the 19th over by Hafeez, for 72 off 47 balls. Hafeez picked up Bosman in the same over, bringing some hope to the Pakistan team, with SA 144-2. Afridi removed de Villiers 23 runs later and a Pakistan fightback looked on the cards. Pakistan managed to reduce the scoring rate from 7.3 to 6.3 with Prince and Kallis at the wicket, however this was short lived when Prince was dismissed and Boucher came in.

Boucher was merciless on the Pakistan bowling and added salt into the wounds when he was caught off a no-ball which co-incided with his 50 off 27 balls. Boucher went on to make 78 off 38 balls, an innings which will make Pakistan very wary of him in the future. Kallis who had consolidated with Prince and reached his 50 off 69 balls smashed 38 runs in the next 16 he faced to take the score to 392, a target which was always going to be out of reach.

Pakistan managed to keep up with the run rate, however the wickets tumbled, leaving them at 6-119, and then 8-125 before Sami and Malik added 73 runs for the 9th wicket, the only meaningful partnership in the innings.

It was a 164 run slaughter, if Pakistan ever needed a slight shake up, this thrashing was it. Pakistan have a very experienced and competent team so the next ODI should be very interesting

Pro20 South Africa vs Pakistan

The pro20 game between South Africa and Pakistan got underway in murky conditions at the Wanderers on Friday. The toss was won by the SA skipper, Greame Smith who sent Pakistan in to bat. Instantly it seemed the right choice as Pollock’s first over showed plenty of movement and Thomas claimed a wicket with his first ball. The game was interrupted in the Pakistan innings by rain, however this was a brief interruption and Pakistan managed to finish with 129 thanks to Naveed hitting consecutive sixes off the last two balls. The pick of the bowlers for South Africa was Alfonso Thomas picking up 3 wickets.

The Proteas have got off to a good start, with the Pakistani’s bowling too many no-balls which allow a “free-hit” and many loose deliveries. The Proteas were 66-0 after 6 with Bosman on 27 off 15 and Smith on 31. Bosman turned on the heat in the 7th scoring 11 runs, taking the score to 77-0. The bowling didn’t get any better, the 8th over conceding another 11 runs. Bosman managed raced to his 50 off 27 balls in the 10th over which also brought up the 100 followed by Smith’s 50. Smith then decimated the attack and allowed the proteas to win the game by 10 wickets in 11.3 overs Smith finishing with 71 off 40 and Bosman 53 off 32

The way South Africa managed to achieve the total should leave their supporters eager for the upcoming one day matches, Smith looks like he is back in form and Bosman has showed he should be in the side on Sunday. The only player who can feel aggrieved from the Proteas performance is Morne van wyk, a keeper and batsman who didn’t get a chance to perform in either role. AB de Villiers will also be worried about the fact he didn’t get a chance with the bat as he performed poorly in the tests.