Australia in SA

Lopsy making giant strides

2011-10-20 12:42
Lonwabo Tsotsobe (Gallo)
Cape Town - As disappointing as both the result and the margin of defeat was in the first ODI against Australia at SuperSport Park on Wednesday, it did confirm the huge strides Lonwabo Tsotsobe has made since becoming a regular member of the Proteas’ attack.

He is currently ranked No 9 on the ICC Reliance ODI standings and the potential is there for him to move up to a career best ranking. There are only 11 ranking points between him and fourth-placed Dale Steyn.

Lopsy, as he is known to his team-mates and friends, will relish the opportunity to get on to home turf for the second match at Axxess St. George’s on Sunday. This match will start at 13:00 so that it does not clash with the Rugby World Cup Final.

The gates will open at 09:00 and the rugby will be shown on the big screen which will provide extra value for spectators holding cricket tickets.

Tsotsobe’s recent form has been consistently outstanding including the Proteas’ most economical return ever (2/11) in the T20 format. He bowled 17 dot balls out of a possible 24 in the first T20 against Australia and 18 in the second.

In Wednesday’s ODI he bowled an even more remarkable 23 dot balls out of a possible 30 in his opening spell of five overs. That included the seldom achieved feat of 15 dot balls to Ricky Ponting!

He has not only impressed with his economy but also with his aggression that has helped to give him a career average of less than 20 – another exceptional statistic. He may not be in the same speed category as Steyn and Morne Morkel but he obtains awkward bounce that makes him a difficult customer. One delivery hit Australian captain Michael Clarke on the helmet and another that jagged back sharply off the pitch struck Ponting amid ships.

Tsotsobe – as is the case with the other bowlers – is benefiting from the Proteas’ new tactical approach that first became evident at the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. Predictability has gone out of the window. All five frontline bowlers were used in the first 15 overs.

What the Proteas do need to look at – apart from improving form – is their strategy on rain-threatening days. The fact that the batting power play nearly always falls in the overs that are deducted means that the adjusted target for the side batting second is going to be considerable.

The Proteas were also not helped by the fact that they had only taken one Australian wicket. ‘Resources available’ is a key component of the Duckworth/Lewis method.

Tickets are moving fast for the remaining two ODIs at Axxess St. George’s on Sunday (day/night game, 13:00 start) and Sahara Stadium Kingsmead next Friday (day/night game, 14:30 start).

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