Proteas eye top two finish

2011-03-14 11:40

Cape Town - The Proteas’ match against India last Saturday was always going to be the real start of South Africa’s ICC Cricket World Cup campaign on the sub-continent.

Video: Biff on beating India

Video: Five wickets in 16 balls from the Proteas main strike bowler

It marked the start of a period when the Proteas play 3 matches in the space of 8 days and this is followed by a potential knock-out phase of another 3 matches in the following 14 days.

In the first few weeks the Proteas were faced with the almost impossible task of trying to get some rhythm going or momentum building.

They have already been in India for a month and 6 days and, even allowing for the fact that February is a short month, this is a long period of time in which to play only 4 matches.

Now they have the chance to get into normal series-playing mode. Three wins out of four is probably a good balance sheet so far particularly as they have played all their major opponents in Group B and should strengthen their chances of finishing either first or second on the log with a victory over Ireland at Kolkata on Tuesday (11:00 SA time).

A victory will mean that England cannot finish ahead of them regardless of the outcome of their final match against the West Indies while only one out of India or the West Indies would be able to finish ahead of them depending on the outcome of the final group match between those two sides.

Bangladesh are also in the picture but the Proteas have the opportunity to shut them out in their final Group B match on Saturday.

What the first few weeks of the tournament have shown is that the selectors have made some extremely wise – and in some cases inspired – selections in their World Cup squad.

The injury to Imran Tahir has shown how important it was to have three specialist spinners in the squad and all three of them have made major contributions to the team’s successes.

Imran Tahir has been the talk of the tournament as far as World Cup rookies are concerned and is regarded as the Proteas’ tournament trump card by many of the ring-wiser pundits including Ian Chappell, Nasser Hussain and Ravi Shastri.

His injury dominated the headlines for two or three days which is an indication of the standing and respect he enjoys.

Robin Peterson would have been man of the match against England had his batting colleagues performed a fraction better and his all-round contribution (as batsman, bowler and fielder) against India was immense.

Johan Botha was the unsung hero of the Indian victory because he was the player to get control back for Graeme Smith after the blitzkrieg start. He again is an outstanding fielder and his batting continues to grow in leaps and bounds.

While Botha and Morne Morkel have done the holding job, the trio of Tahir, Peterson and Dale Steyn have taken 28 wickets between them which is why the Proteas continue to bowl out all their opponents inside the 50 overs.

Saturday was a watershed day for both Peterson and Faf du Plessis because it was the day on which they announced that they have come to stay as valuable members of the Proteas’ ODI line-up.

There are now a lot of calm and wise heads in this Proteas’ squad. What has been achieved so far has been a team effort and that augurs well for the ‘sudden death’ road ahead.


  • Alwyn - 2011-03-14 11:50

    They will be on to of group B, a win against Ireland and Bangladesh will see them playing most likely Pakistan in the quater finals,,,,,,,I have no doubt we will be in the finals,,,against India,,,,,,Ausies will fall in the quaters aginst against India,,,,Windies and Sri Lanka the other two in the semi,s

      khani - 2011-03-14 12:02

      I agree fully with your predictions. With Imraan Tahir now available for selections again who do we leave out, perhaps Morne but that will leave us a little thin in the batting. Would have loved to see Morne opening an innings though.

  • WhoGivesAshi - 2011-03-14 11:56

    If Graeme Smith goes home now and they make Botha the captain, then maybe... - 2011-03-14 12:00

      Clearly you have no idea about cricket.

      McFreak - 2011-03-14 12:17

      @whogivesashi.... You left your noddy car in the kiddies playground at the local Spur. Please call to collect it as well as a big red lollipop to put in your big mouth!!

      Ludorum - 2011-03-14 12:21

      Idiot !! Save your comments for topics that you have some knowledge of and leave this space for real supporters of the game. Well done "Proteas" you guys have done great thus far and win or lose we still have a magic team and we will continue the support.

      Sipho - 2011-03-14 14:32

      Botha.. dont make me laff and cry...

      Colin Dovey - 2011-03-14 14:38

      Hek man, some people in armchairs should just stay there - ONE DAY when we all wake up, just perhaps somebody will realise what a fine Captain Graeme Smith really is. Johan Botha is a fine player, and a good man........and his time will come, and then in retrospect we will ALL be able to judge fairly, instead of playing on the emotional, ill-considered calls which do no good for all of us South Africans who NEED sporting heroes - especially when there are very few in the political landscape that we can admire. One thing that Graeme cannot be faulted for is corruption, and his attitude and handling of players on the field is an example to many other captains, in cricket and other sports.

      alessandroz067 - 2011-03-16 13:56

      botha captain? the guy isn't even a regular in the team and you want him as captain. He needs to learn how to bowl and bat first before anything else...

  • DeonL - 2011-03-14 12:00

    We should be on top of the group now, should we win the last 2 games. I don't see West India beating India, but you never know, they are the only team that could get the same amount of points as us, should they win theire last 2 games.

  • snackpaz - 2011-03-14 12:04

    no comments on morne van wyk? i think the bloke had a torrid time against england and india...he leaves much to be desired..

      seeps.mazi - 2011-03-14 12:26

      agreed I'm not impressed at all and at the start of this whole tournament I asked the questin why everybody was so happy to see the back of Mark Boucher - class class keeper and a man for every season with ""finishing" capabilities....

      Spyti K - 2011-03-14 12:48

      You conveniently forget the fact that just by being there van Wyk has taken the strain off AB's back, which would have serious implications for his batting. Plus, I find de Villiers much more valuable in the field than behind the stumps and do keep in mind that van wyk is an opener, not a finisher.

      seeps.mazi - 2011-03-14 13:26

      The problem is we have three or four guys that have opened before and are capable of opening bud? Boucher should have gone. FACT. Smith,Amla,Kallis and De Villiers have all opened in ODI's. Boucher is by far the superior keeper and he's an experienced head so your argument for van Wyk is flawed. Also Boucher would have called the Reviews without hesitation as he is assertive like that.I agree with AB being more valuable in the field however van Wyk now becomes a keeper that can hold a bat? - 2011-03-14 13:48

      In the 2003 WC at home, Boucher dropped Stephen Fleming on 2 occasions before he reached 10 runs. Fleming went on to score 142, and we lost the game and ultimately were kicked out in the first round. In the same WC Boucher was at the crease when the Duckworth/Lewis debacle happened so his experience and superior keeping skills were non-existent.

      seeps.mazi - 2011-03-14 14:04

      The Duckworth/Lewis call came from the Dresseing Room and pollock made that call. Are you seriously saying that van Wyk is a better keeper than Boucher? This is the actual argument so that you know.

  • mik - 2011-03-14 12:28

    To author. How can it all start now that they beat the top team in the world. It started when they lost against England! And they still have to beat Ireland and Bangladesh who are hot on their heels! Bangladesh will win shortly and if SA lose against them, they may well be out if Bangladesh do not lose another game. So all you blokes stop predicting that SA will make it through... Look what Bangladesh did in the last WC?

      seeps.mazi - 2011-03-14 12:40

      Do you have any idea what you are talking about? Oh I see you just peeved that your Hindian national team got beat when they looked totally in control then innit? Tell you what why don't you slip into something more comfortable like say...... a coma and when the Proteas qualify and Dhoni and his merry men go down to West Indies you may take your head out your arse? They were lucky to get the draw with England by the way......... too much pressure and they won't deliver the WC unfortunately for the 100Billion indians in India

      Kubes - 2011-03-14 12:53

      @seeps.mazi Do you have any idea about grammar? So start referring to something more comfortable like say..... a Pre School Grammar guide and when you start writing properly may you take your head out your arse?

      seeps.mazi - 2011-03-14 13:22

      Shame Kubes did I hit a nerve? Just because you don't understand does not mean it's incorrect my atchaar eating friend. Now go on then get on a ship back to India so you can be trully indian in your own country. Please leave your BMW here as your bicycle will do in Delhi and all.

      DeonL - 2011-03-14 14:11

      Mik you and the other are both wrong. Our WC started when we beat WI, they were our bogey team twice before, once in our own back yard, 2003 and another time when we met a Brian Lara. We have a good chance of beating both teams with our strong batting line up on excellant bowlers.

  • mik - 2011-03-14 12:29

    SA was also lucky against India yesterday. If Harbajan took the last over, Iam afraid SA would be in 5th position today!

      seeps.mazi - 2011-03-14 12:42

      And you kow this because you are a Soothsayer correct? Get over it dude....... Turbinator didn't get the last over, Nehra did and he travelled voyager miles and SA won the end. Nowhere in the record book will it say that Harbie SHOULD have bowled. It reads SA won by 3 wickets.

      semloh - 2011-03-14 13:12

      Agreed Seeps! otherwise we can go on and on..... India are so lucky that Tahir was injured.....India are so lucky that Botha never opened the is about tactics and therefore SA out thought India from over 15 so we deserver the victory.....

      Bob - 2011-03-14 13:55

      More absolute crap written here, mostly from the always present SEEPS, now this new name semloh, "SA OUT THOUGHT INDIA FROM OVER 15" which friggin game were you watching, India should have posted in excess of 350, but, due to their own collapse they only posted 290 odd on a batting friendly wicket, absolutely nothing to do with SA OUT THINKING THEM, quite simply the game was lost by India not won by SA, no matter, history will state SA won there is no remarks column, you don't get any extra points for bad luck or anything, again quite simply the current SA team would have been blown away if India had scored in the region of 350, why, because they don't have Gibbs etc, yes they have the magnificent AB but very little else to bat around him, I cannot see this team winning the WC, for sure both Aussie and India are better balanced more talented sides.

      seeps.mazi - 2011-03-14 14:08

      Bob Bob Bob are you still miffed that you lost to Bangledesh? India have no bowlers and cannot seem to defend 300 or more against quality oppostion so how can they be nore balanced. Another interesting fact so far is that South Africa are the only side to have bowled all comers out in their 4 games so far. Ian Botham made an interesting comment yesterday.... He reckons SA and Australia have the attacks to win them the World Cup so we apparently don't need too many batsmen then do we? Here's to Bangledesh and Ireland and also hoping that the Windies can have a Gayle force wind to knock the English out.

      semloh - 2011-03-14 15:00

      Exactly the game you were watching Bob. you made my point. If India out thought us then why did they end 50-60 runs short of the total they should have made? Why did they take the powerplay when they did? Why did Smith not bowl Steyn in the middle but rather at the end when there was more reverse swing? Why did India' most dangerous bowler (Harbhajan) finish an over short? All these questions involve thinking, doesnt it? Therefore by that logic the Proteas out thought India. So besides saying "the current team would have been blown away" how about stating some better logic..... Becos by your logic if Sewag went out when he did India would have been 80 runs short and Protead win by 7 wickets with 8 overs left........

      semloh - 2011-03-14 15:02

      meant to say "if Sewag went out at the start like he should have".......

      semloh - 2011-03-14 15:07

      Bob Bob Bob I have been a fan of sport24 for while but I really think twice about commenting on the forums because of comments like yours. We are all sports fans here, so why the hostility? I support my country in a sport I enjoy watching and I my opinion is that our team out thought the opposition which is quite valid seen we ended up winning so why must my comment be "crap"?

      Bob - 2011-03-14 16:24

      Seeps tell your captain India have no bowlers, cos someone keeps taking his wicket away nice and early, perhaps it's the umpire, I'm not even going to get into a discussion with that clown semloh.

  • El-Diablo - 2011-03-14 12:38

    Wow, when we lost against the English everyone said its okay, we didnt need to win the game but now that weve won the Indians everyone goes crazy asif weve won the WC, sorry guys, as long as Smif is in that team we will C H O K E, i cant stand the Aussies but there is a reason theyve won 32 odd games in a row...

      SirGibbs - 2011-03-14 14:40

      Did you just decide to make this up? Or do you actually believe what your saying?

      Andrew Griffiths - 2011-03-14 18:07

      Go Proteas! Most of SA are right behind you.

  • semloh - 2011-03-14 12:55

    Besides playing a slightly weaker team in the knock-outs, its really important that we finish top of the table as bad weather is always possible and we know the history of bad luck for SA, the below from and applies to both quarter-finals and semis. * If a quarter-final is tied, the teams shall compete in a one over per side eliminator to determine which team progresses to the semi-final. * If following a tie, weather conditions prevent the one over eliminator from being completed, or if the match is a no result, then the team that finished in the higher position in the Group stage shall proceed to the semi-finals.

  • Ron - 2011-03-14 13:22

    Now thats better from our team !!!!

  • El Cid - 2011-03-14 13:42

    What's cricket? Is it that game that ballerinas play? I hear it takes a whole day to play ONE game???? WTF????

      Andrew Griffiths - 2011-03-14 18:09

      Stick to your pilates.

  • VoicefReason - 2011-03-14 13:47

    Let's face it. Gibbs should have been there and not Smith, with Botha/Amla captain. then there would have been no problem with chaniging the opening partner for Amla or Gibbs as either one of them can play no. 3.

      DeonL - 2011-03-14 14:03

      Gibbs is not a team man and he has retired from Internationals, he also has a weakness for discipline.

      Andrew Griffiths - 2011-03-14 18:10

      Let's support the team that's there. Enough quality to win the world cup.

  • Grynch - 2011-03-14 14:20

    Seeps Mazi, whoever he is, seems to have a dislike of Indians. It seems impossible to have any sort of debate on these pages without racist comments bweing made

      BigD - 2011-03-14 15:54

      But Seeps Mazi eats atcha with his bunny chow

      Bob - 2011-03-14 16:26

      Grynch don't let him get under your skin, he comes crawling out of the woodwork everytime SA does something, hates anything not South African blah blah blah, it's not Indians he hates it's anything and everybody not South African, he calls that supporting his team, very strange I know.

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