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.
 

Bob Woolmer Dies

It is very sad news that Bob Woolmer has passed away. He was a fantastic coach, and a man that seemed very composed. When he was coach of South Africa, his record, according to his website, was: South Africa wins 73% of its one-day internationals, and 10 out of 15 Test series.

His downfall was the world cup, where South Africa lost to Australia by 0.1 run!!! His next international side that he coached was the Pakistan team, where early in his tenure there was the infamous incident of Hair accusing Pakistan of tampering with the ball, and the side refusing to come out of the dressing room.

There will be many questions surrounding his death, which came about right after Pakistan’s shock exit from the world cup, losing to the Irish on St Paddy’s day.

Regardless of the outcome of the autopsy, whether it was natural or sinister, the cricketing world has lost a man who lived for the game and loved the game. His contributions to cricket were enormous, he was selected in 1977 as one of Wisden’s 5 cricketers of the year, he helped coach all over the world and seemed like a real gentleman.

Zimbabwe Vs Ireland

The game of the tournament so far, took place yesterday between the two minnows, Zimbabwe and Ireland. It was a fantastic game to watch, I didnt get to see all of it, but there was a century scored by Jeremy Bray for Ireland who posted 221. Zimbabwe, looked like they were cruising, losing their 6th wicket on 203, needing another 19 runs to win off 38 balls.

The loss of the 6th wicket sparked a collapse, and Zimbabwe managed to lose their next 3 wickets for 10 runs, some of the run outs were elementary schoolboy errors, but that’s cricket and the pressure of the game. Matsikenyeri was on strike in the last over, with Zimbabwe needing 9 off the last over. He managed to get the first couple of balls away for 2, then a single off the third, leaving Rainsford the number 11 on strike. He managed a single off the 4th ball and Matsikenyeri needed to get 3 runs off 2 balls. He edged one over a deep gully, and managed 2 runs and the scored were tied. He missed the last ball, the keeper stumped him and threw the ball to the bowlers end and ran out the other batsman.

It would have been amusing, as Matsikenyeri was in his crease, and thus not out to the stumping and if the keeper missed the Zimbabweans could have run through for the single…. It is the third tie in history of the World cup, with South Africa involved in the other two.

South Africa are playing today, against the Netherlands, who have beaten SA comprehensively before, under Hansie Cronje and this might well have been a game that was intentionally lost… Ntini seems set to miss the game, but other than that it will be a full strength side that, will give the South Africa a chance to show how their form is after the first two atrocious warm up games.

SA VS PAK WARM UP MATCH CWC

South Africa recieved their first clouting in the Caribbean, with Pakistan restricting SA to 199 and reaching the total with 3 wickets to play. The excuses have started, “It was a tale of two pitches,” Mickey Arthur, South Africa’s coach, told AFP. “When we batted it was wet and difficult, but later the pitch dried up and became easier.”

I am not sure how the rest of the coutry feels about the excuse handed out by the coach nor if his side feel the same way. I am sure that its a poor excuse. In many games, the winning of the toss is a huge advantage, and no doubt was this one. However, the top scorer was Loots Bosman, a man who has been mentioned previously in this blog. Loots has been shifted, i mean shafted all over the place, with very little regard for giving the man some stability and confidence about his role in the side. He clearly isn’t meant to be a regular in the side, yet he can score 53 on this terrible pitch.

One must wonder if the pitch was really wet and difficult, and if so why didnt the South Africans sacrifice some of the lower order players upfront? Either way, its two warm up matches and two poor results. However they were irrelevant warm-up games and next week brings the real challenge.

SA SCRAPE HOME

South Africa managed a 35 run victory against

Ireland, in their warm up match on Monday. The saying a miss is as good as a mile, comes to mind when the world can think of what could have been. I was nervously watching the updates which were rather delayed on cricinfo, and when they were 138/4 with both batsmen seemingly settled, I was pondering how I would write the story of

South Africa’s humiliation to the minnows. 

As mentioned in my previous post,

South Africa have relied on the heroics of Mark Boucher and other individual performance that have won matches in the past 12 months. There is good reason for Chappell indicating SA is not a contender in this cricket world cup. The biggest weapon SA has is unpredictability, or rather inconsistency.

There might be merit in the opinion that SA is one dimensional, however there are some of crickets finest destroyers from the past and future game breakers lined up in the side. Pollock, Ntini, Kallis, Hall, Gibbs, Boucher, De Villiers, Kemp and Smith can all destroy a side on their day, and if they all fire on the same day the side is unbeatable. Simply put

South Africa are world class, they can beat any side on their day. Unfortunately there is lack of consistency and the only players that have been consistent match winners in the last year are Boucher, Pollock and Ntini. The rest of the side has been below ordinary, and if one had to dig up the 2006 performances – by runs scored it is sad reading.

 Boucher top scored with 713 runs, then Gibbs on 691 then Dippennaar on 651. What shocked me was the attacks on Gibbs about how out of form he was and how he should be dropped. The stats speak differently: 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, Dippennar has fallen away, as had Rudolph who averaged 34……  The side currently playing has plenty of ability, however I along with many other cutthroat supporters want results not abilities!!! There is little excuse for the ICC champions trophy, amd there is no excuse for failing in this world cup.  

The side was selected with full knowledge of the pitches in the Caribbean and although the target quota was met, one has to wonder why Peterson is there, when Smith treats him with contempt, preferring to bowl himself and Bosman (A favourite of mine) who in the warm up match is batting at 8 – there is no excuse for that, what is his role?? If

South Africa are really serious about the world cup, the selctions don’t show it. Two places have been wasted which in such a small squad will prove costly.

 The beauty of cricket is its unpredictability, but if the pitches in the Caribbean are low and slow the history of South African cricketing failures will rear its head and it will be another 4 years before we can try win the tournament. Forewarned generally means forearmed however Failing to plan is planning to fail!!!