Parnell turns it right around

2012-06-23 16:46
Wayne Parnell (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - From putrid to near-unplayable ... that has been the happy fate of the Proteas’ left-arm seam bowler Wayne Parnell as the Twenty20 triangular series at Harare Sports Club progresses.

His dramatic personal turnaround has been an influential reason for South Africa avoiding the unthinkable: failing to qualify for the final of an event also featuring Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

Instead on Saturday they avenged their first-round loss to the host nation with a sufficiently workmanlike - more than you could say for the previous few days! - six-wicket victory to secure a slot in Sunday’s showpiece (13:00 start, SA time).

At the same time, the tenacious Zimbabweans did enough, in avoiding a really heavy loss, to elbow out the team from the Subcontinent and make the final an all-African affair, so there would have been relieved smiles all round after this game.

Following successive defeats to each of the other competing nations for the pretty inexperienced, experimental Proteas outfit, coach Gary Kirsten was doubtless keen to gauge the “bouncebackability” of the SA side given the educative mental demands this requires.

And here Parnell, in particular, ticked all the right boxes on Saturday.

The Warriors lower-order all-rounder may have already played 40 fully-fledged international matches (the ones in this tourney are deemed unofficial) across the three codes, so he is hardly a rookie under examination here.

But he is still only 22, let’s not forget, and the way his figures have just got better and better after an appalling start earlier this week ought to be deemed a strong feather in his cap.

In order, these have been his stats in four games, from the outset, all of them featuring maximum four-over spells: 0/61, 2/33, 2/18 and now 3/16.

Parnell only entered the attack on Saturday as third change, but just looked as though he had an infinitely better spring to his step from the outset and picked up two scalps in his first over; after three he had snared three for seven - at that stage he was threatening to eclipse his best official T20 international performance of 4/13 against West Indies at the ICC World Twenty20 in England in 2009.

He bowled in hugely better, more consistent areas than he had done previously in the Harare get-together and began drifting the ball away from the right-handers quite nicely again at what seemed a lively pace despite the absence of a speed gun.

As he collected his rightful player-of-the-match award, he explained: “I couldn’t really bowl outdoors after the IPL so I was probably a bit rusty, but confidence plays a part and I’ve felt better and better.

“I thought to myself (after the gruesome first game): it can’t get worse than that.”

There’s no faulting his logic, nor the stealth of the redemption drive ...

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  wayne parnell  |  cricket

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