Australia crush South Africa

Australia gave South Africa a solid lesson in cricket yesterday, one that will not be easily forgotten. However from every lesson there are always things to be learnt. When reading the news today it saddens me to see that our side has not learnt.

In the build up to the game, instead of Smith adopting an attitude along the lines of: When we play Australia, we win half the games we play, and when we face them we are confident we can win. He instead took the nauseating approach of we are the best we will win blah blah….

After the match instead of coming out and admitting that the strategy was wrong, the voices telling Jacques Kallis he must be more innovative and move half a meter outside leg stump in his first 10 balls, was off track and there were some shocking shot selections made by the team, the coach and captain have defended their decision, believing that brave cricket is still the way forward. The idea to score 100 off the first ten seems to be the benchmark set.

“I don’t think we played reckless shots and threw the wickets away,” said Arthur. “We had a plan, we wanted to destroy Australia’s momentum somehow and we needed to get on top quickly. It was part of the plan, but it never came off.”

This so called plan has its merits, however I am sure Australia would be more worried if South Africa were 120/2 after 30, knowing what the rest of the order can do, would be far more worrisome than watching the SA players moving all over the crease trying to reach 400 runs.

This was the first thing that got up my nose, followed by Smith stating “Life becomes a bit difficult when a strike bowler like Shaun Tait comes in as the first-change bowler,” Well Mr Smith, it might be a surprise to you that they chose their strongest line up, a line up which has varied options, not like the South African attack.

It must be time for changes in the side, a side that has become predictable, and led by a man whose words are much louder than his actions.

SA vs West Indies

South Africa are finally batting first, not by choice, as the West Indies won the toss and put them in, much to the disbelief of the bbc online commentator. It seems to be a good thing, as SA are currently 125-1 after 24 overs.  Kemp was dropped from the side – justifiably so and Bosman has come in, who must be itching to get a good score. The situation is tailored for SA to post at least 300, with Gibbs, Boucher, Bosman, Pollock and Hall in the wings, with Prince able to steady the ship if things go awry. Windies have a 3rd power play to still complete, it seems they are waiting for a wicket to fall, which could be the opening up of an explosive finish!!! The windies must already be worried the game has slipped away from them, especially with all the run out chance they have been gifted with.

Hopefully this will make SA rethink their strategy, they are far too one dimensional at the moment. The other thing to watch in this game is the debut of The windies youngster, Pollard….

Yesterdays match, was of no interest to me, watching SA, the number one side in the world play the Mickey mouse minnows, really doesn’t arouse my interest. There is no pleasure derived form watching a slaughter, so I missed the game. I did hear on the radio, that the cracks on the pitch have widened, and whilst watching the rugby at the firemans, out of the corner of my eye I saw Bangladesh make 250 odd, their highest world cup score. In the back of my mind I found it a bit odd, this is the second side, that has posted their highest World cup score, against us. Maybe its even the third? Has Australia made more than 377?? That was Australia’s highest world cup total, which means that 3 teams in 6 matches have posted their highest total against us in world cups!!!

There is no need for me to make a smart ass comment, like it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that our bowlers are struggling. For some reason South Africa relishes batting second. Even though over years of the game being played, and many experts advocating that if you win the toss, bat, South Africa has chosen to field. South Africa has the logic that the there is assistance for the team bowling first. If this is true I shudder to think how poor our bowling would be if we bowled second!!!!

There might still be some mental scarring from the ICC championship where the Windies, particularly Gayle, came in and murdered out attack. This is the only reason I can think of for bowling first. Yesterday, from some reports I have read indicated that the pitch got worse not better, there was assistance for the spinners, which South Africa don’t have and graft a score was necessary, not hero shots which caused the demise of some of the players.

If South Africa want to get anywhere, a complete re-think is needed, there are middle order batsmen that need to be replaced, and the spinner – presumably the best spinner in the country needs to play – however Peterson will do…….

Cricket World Cup South Africa vs Sri Lanka

Chokers of the Cup>>> 

South Africa faced Sri Lanka in their first Super 8 match, in Guyana today. The weather played its part, allowing the game to be played in mainly sunny conditions. Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first, posting a modest total of 209, even though they were 208/6 at one stage,. Langeveldt bowled beautifully to restrict the Sri Lankans, picking up 2 consecutive wickets and landing himself with a hat-trick ball in his next game. It is very rare to see a side crumble and lose their last 4 wickets for one run!!!

When SA came into bat, it looked like the game was on when De Villiers was dismissed in the first over,  however Smith and Kallis formed a solid second wicket partnership and carried the score to 96 before Smith was stumped, schoolboy error by the captain.

Gibbs came to the crease and added 31 before getting restless and losing his wicket. At this stage SA were160/3 after 32 overs needing just 5 more runs. The label of choker has been applied to South Africa, and from the relatively comfortable spot of 160/3 SA lost Boucher without troubling the scorers and then Kemp making it 182/5 then Pollock was dismissed leaving the score at 205/6 requiring just another 4 runs with 4 wickets in hand. Hall was dismissed the next ball by Malinga who just completed his over. SA were looking slightly uncomfortable, at 205/7 however Kallis managed a single off the first ball of Vass’s over, Peterson survived the rest of the over.

Kallis got to face Malinga’s hat trick ball, which was a half volley outside off, which instead rocketing to the boundary, Kallis edged it, Malinga achieved a hat trick, and SA were 207/8!!!! Ntini came to the crease and was bowled by an absolute jaffer, although he should have tried to keep it out, it was a brilliant piece of bowling great Yorker. This left SA on 207/9 3 runs away from victory.

Langeveldt managed to perform the first step of the Heimlich manevour, scraping a single off Malinga, only to be facing an over of Vaas from the other side which he did successfully, then it was up to Peterson to face Malinga, he managed to perform the second part by edging a fullish delivery which went for four, he was ably assisted by Jayawardene who didn’t bring in a second slip, when it was vital for one to be in place as Peterson had previously played and missed a couple of shots aimed in  the cover region….

It was a game that shouldn’t have been so close, yet both sides managed to lose 4 wickets for one run at the end of the innings, however SA escaped with a 1 wicket win which was vital if they want to advance through to the semi-finals.

SA vs Sri lanka

Summary of the Aus game: South Africa won the toss and elected to field, a ploy used against Scotland, which led Scotland to their highest total in the World Cup. It is weird that SA decided to field, when we all know the motto: If you win the toss, bat if you win and unsure still bat….

There is a theory that the ball will do more in the morning, and assist the bowlers in the Caribbean thus it is a wise choice to bat. This may well be true, but unlikely on an awesome day like it was. In fact the ball started to reverse swing just after 30 odd overs. This ability is what the difference was between the sides, that and the fact Australia has a world class spinner, whilst SA doesn’t.

There has been a lot of berating of Kallis after the match, some of it justified, most of it not. The ball started swinging and reverse swinging around the 38th over, with all the batsmen that came in struggling to get the ball away, the Australians bowled a tight line, mixed up the bowlers and proved to be far superior on the day.

If anyone wants to start pointing fingers, the selectors are where their anger should be aimed. The selection of Prince for the world cup was based purely on his colour, not abilities. There is justification in this statement, based purely on common sense not anything else. Prince was only selected for the one day side in the 5th ODI against India, before that he wasn’t in the side, if SA was looking for a stability player, it should have been Dippennaar, judging by the runs scored in a calendar year:

Boucher top scored with 713 runs, then Gibbs on 691 then Dippennaar on 651. What shocked me Boucher, De Villiers and Dippennaar had an average above 40, Gibbs 35, Kallis 31 Pollock and Kemp 29 and the captain Smith on 28!!! These are the averages of our top players, Dippennaar has fallen away, as had Rudolph who averaged 34……

Prince is classy, but is he really a ODI player? What about Bosman? He performed in the Pro20 he last played in, now he is sitting out, although I wouldn’t mind a holiday in the Caribbean, he should be utilised more.

The make up of the current side shows that we have Kallis and Prince both players, are fantastic Test players, but slower scoring in ODI’s, which is not a problem in my book, they must be handle correctly though. Kallis has in the past shown he can hit out if he needs to, it is in his makeup, despite what the experts say, he needs his technique ironed out. Hopefully he and the coach have analysed the shot he went out to, there is something wrong with the grip or the actual shot, I picked it up when I saw it on the replay, however I only saw it once so couldn’t analyse it properly. Kallis is a big boy and if he times it properly it should be a lost ball, not caught on a short boundary.

De Villiers was run out, which is criminal, and Smith suffered from cramps which was unfortunate, those were the crucial factors in the match. If Kallis got there with De Villiers and Smith firing, his 40 off 60 wouldn’t be a problem.

SA plays Sri Lanka today if the stadium if finished and if it isn’t rained out….. The pitch is more than likely going to be slow low and a terror, we have to play our top spinner, in the attack, it will be suicidal not to. Again the selectors heads should be rolling, our top spinner would be sitting in the EC somewhere, I assume, Botha is by far the most difficult spinner to read in SA, and needed to be at the CWC, not Peterson or Harris who have an orthodox delivery which when worked out will go all over the park. You have to use what is given to you and if the coach, or selectors really think a pitch that has had plenty of rain, and has never been tested will turn out to be a hard fast track, good luck to SA and I hope that I am wrong and have to eat my words.