Proteas pay price for orthodoxy

2014-03-13 07:42

Cape Town - You wouldn’t roll out your vintage, lovingly-maintained Bentley or Aston Martin for a noisy hell-drivers’ night.

As it happened: SA v Oz - 2nd T20

GALLERY: SA v AUS - 2nd T20I

VIDEO: Domingo on SA'S defeat

So why, I and probably others are asking with tears in our eyes, would you ask that bastion of batting correctness and calmness Hashim Amla to go through the gross indignity of taking guard at the very outset of a drastically curtailed fixture in the already compressed environment of Twenty20 international cricket?

But that was what South Africa, in their wisdom, decreed was the right call for the seven-overs-a-side lotto against Australia at soggy, sawdust-strewn Kingsmead on Wednesday.

Amla is many, marvellous things and yes, the great accumulator has proved he can hold his own at the highest level in the game’s shortest format.

But when you slash even a T20 fixture by some two thirds, it stands to reason that the sudden, urgent need for “different strokes” requires ... well, different folks.

I would say it positively screams as much, actually.

Playing exactly like the pedigreed batsman he is - one who requires the liberty of at least a dozen or so deliveries to settle himself in and get a feel for the landscape - Amla duly looked uncomfortable and out of place before squirting a caught-and-bowled to Nathan Coulter-Nile to end his mini-misery at the end of the second over.

By then South Africa were already (although it might sound a trifle bizarre to say so) ominously behind the eight-ball as they ended over two of the micro-contest’s first innings on a less than princely six for one.

Only Boycott or Gavaskar in their obdurate primes would have been chuffed with that return, although back in the not-so-swingin’ 1970s they would never have believed that internationals would one day be determined over the course of seven overs per team anyway.

That Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis cranked up the tempo with some urgency and commendable respective power, not even being separated as the Proteas eventually hoisted 80 runs, could not mask an inescapable feeling that the first two or three overs had been a chance glaringly missed by the host nation and might come back for the old bite on the bum.

The inadequacy of their total was then, indeed, exposed as the Aussies later hunted it down with two balls to spare.

In fairness, of course, being forced to bat first in a match as shortened as this one only makes you a sitting duck nine times out of ten anyway, because so negligible a degree of “pacing” is required by the chasers; they can throw the bat at just about everything knowing that wickets in hand is unlikely to be a problem.

Rubbing salt in the wound of the SA strategic blunder was that the tourists belted a still stiff Lonwabo Tsotsobe - the big guy is more diesel belcher than three-litre turbo out of the starting blocks - for 21 runs in the first over of the pursuit alone.

You could firmly say the Australians were up and running in no uncertain terms in the reply, even if at times the likes of JP Duminy, Kyle Abbott and Wayne Parnell pulled things back quite smartly.

Criminally, South Africa lost this limited-overs match without blockbuster hitters like David Miller, the local hero, and Albie Morkel getting a knock: that’s a bit like going to the Mike Tyson fight in his heyday and only getting an undercard, as the main event goes curiously missing.

There was a time when the Proteas were pretty rightfully accused of rank rigidity and inflexibility in their one-day battle-plans.

That phenomenon has generally altered for the better - so much so that there have even been critics more recently who believe they try to be too cute and zany, almost by way of belated compensation.

But the wheel turned full circle once more as South Africa stuck too stubbornly to orthodoxy in their batting order for this enforced blitzkrieg.

For heaven’s sake, South Africa, when it comes down to “T7” sort of combat, crumple the intended script and hastily restructure it.

Pile your front-end batting with the heftiest smackers you’ve got, and simply go, go, go!
It isn’t rocket science, it isn’t too complicated.

Or is it me really missing something very badly here?

Duh ...

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • aviva67 - 2014-03-13 07:55

    And then bowling a debutant at the death was plain idiotic. Parnell also needs his backside kicked for sending down half-volleys in the last over !

      Clinton Tupper - 2014-03-13 08:12

      Should have opened with Miller!

      Jaco De Villiers - 2014-03-13 08:56

      Totally agree... Also, I cant understand how people view Parnell as a depth bowler. You need control and he certainly has very little control.

      Peter L' Estrange - 2014-03-13 15:46

      He needs to be dropped. Abbott showed how to bowl to these hitters and then he was not used???

      Garth Lackay - 2014-03-13 19:20

      Nothing wrong in bowling the debutant, it was a nessesary lesson and test in the game of cricket. good move by the capt.

  • André Steyn - 2014-03-13 08:00

    I switch the tv off when Hendricks was given a second chance to bowl

  • Hero-Gorha Madikizela - 2014-03-13 08:01

    Yes Rob you missing something. It's a WC preparation for heaven's sake. The captain & the coach had to get to know their players. For example, people are crying out that Abbott should have bowled one of the last overs, HE IS NOT GOING to the T20 WC so they had to see how the bowlers which are going to the WC will manage in the death overs. It's not rocket science people!

      Janet Ryder Worthington - 2014-03-13 08:32

      WHY is Tsotobe in the squad and not Abbott? Below average, has no form and can't field (I'm referring to Lopsy).

      Sky Rider - 2014-03-13 08:43

      Agree Janet. And he is eaten all the pies!!

      Ben - 2014-03-13 08:49

      Yup. And now they know.

      Witgemors Werner - 2014-03-13 08:55

      It is still a game and you should still do everything in your power to win. You can't justify losing a game because you are preparing for the next one. It's not rocket science.

      Michael Morris - 2014-03-13 09:04

      That is the problem HGM, Kyle Abbott should have been in the squad for the T20WC. You don't have to be a brain surgeon too see that. Another thing, other teams always go for the win. In S7 you can't go for "get to know the players". What can you learn from such a short game? Nothing. Well actually that is not true, isn't it? In such a short game: *Amla should not open the batting. *Lonwabo should not be included. *Parnell should not bowl at the death. *You never give the newcomer a second chance if he buggered it up in the first instance. *You don't experiment. You go for the kill.

      Kenneth Mkhari - 2014-03-13 10:30

      In all honesty you sound like a politician, the squad is not cast in stone and if u check Abott was included in this squad for his performance in the last test so common sense would show that he is the better bowler; in terms of both control and reliability. Most talented white players are being discouraged because of what they see as an unfair system, something that destroyed a lot of players in this country so as much as Lopsy looks like me I'd let him go back n work on his fitness with the A side and go with Kyle

      Hero-Gorha Madikizela - 2014-03-13 11:29

      Ok people don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating for Tsotsobe or Parnell or anyone for that matter over Abbott (in fact I would also have had Morris or Abbott over Tsotsobe). My point is the team to go to the WC has been choosen by Hudson & Domingo, so let's support the team choosen cause we cannot not change it, and take yesterday's game as learning/experimenting the right combinations for the WC...

  • Andrew M - 2014-03-13 08:02

    Cricket SA brains trust at work!! HaHa

      Jon Low - 2014-03-13 09:52

      The Dontunderstanis. What?

  • Nick Andrews - 2014-03-13 08:09

    WHY oh why would you bowl Hendricks when Abbot and Duminy bowled so well??? Poor captaincy was part of the reason for the defeat.

      Connie Ibbetson-kennedy - 2014-03-13 14:08

      No no do not blame Faf blame Donald for that huge BUGGER UP

  • Shaun Campbell - 2014-03-13 08:11

    Dunno, hey. I saw 2 terrible overs from someone out of their depths and 12 other overs. Hardly Cricket

  • John Van Der Westhuizen - 2014-03-13 08:20

    I would have thought the author would know that the "T" in "T20" stands for "Twenty" So if the game is shortened and you want to sound inventive about giving it a name, the correct term would be "S7" #JustSaying

  • Jacob Maermerrie - 2014-03-13 08:22

    David Warner is simply magnificent__in any format of the game!!

      Ben - 2014-03-13 08:50

      Love to hate him as much as I love to watch him play.

      Jacob Maermerrie - 2014-03-13 08:56

      @ Ben___ yes Ben, he's got that mongrel element to him that is so necessary to be a genius and he backs the strong elements of his talent and has learned to live with the weaker part of his personality but fact remains he will take the game away from you more times than not,,,

  • John Jessup - 2014-03-13 08:22

    Particularly in the 1 day games we too often lose not because we are outplayed, nor even out-thought. We are just dof. Period. Do our cricketers only go to school to play cricket. Maybe decision-making selections and appointments should only be made if a certain academic standard or IQ and judgment tests are first passed.

  • Sky Rider - 2014-03-13 08:27

    100% on the money. Would have opened with Quinton and Miller. Also Abbott should have bowled the last over. Although Parnell only went for 3 in his first over, he bowled two full tosses and was luck to get away with one run and a wicket. Another full toss in the last over which went for 6.

      Dion James Chinnaiah - 2014-03-13 09:22

      actually, he went for 2 6's in the last over. The Aussies got the 15 runs they needed to win off Parnell's last over with 2 balls to spare!

  • Hendrik Schutte - 2014-03-13 08:42

    Much of what Rob wrote here is quite accurate, but for me where the game was lost is when for some really weird reason Faf decided to bring the new kid on the block, 'Hendricks' back to bowl a second over. That after he was already pulverised in his first. There were enough choices of which bowlers should get to put in the second over each. The moment I saw him being brought back for a 2nd over I realised that a loss was about to be snatched from the jaws of victory.

  • Wesley Green - 2014-03-13 08:44

    poor Hendricks made to debut in a 7 over game against the most in form side in the world!

  • Ben - 2014-03-13 08:47

    Also. Why in theeee hell did they let Parnell take the last over when you had Abbott?!?! Captaincy fail.

      Wesley Green - 2014-03-13 09:07

      because Parnel had a better first over than Abbott. No boundaries, few singles and Watson wicket. Maybe Abbott before Hendriks second definitely!

  • Byron Wright - 2014-03-13 08:50

    Tsotsobe's bowling cost us the match

  • Hans Naude - 2014-03-13 09:00


  • Dave Askew - 2014-03-13 09:02

    And that is wht we will never win a World Cup / T20....same old. De Kock is awesome! Amla is not really T20 material. Faf is OK but does effing stupid things at the crease! Now Warner....unbelievable!!! What a pleasure watching this guy bat.

  • Sihle Zondie - 2014-03-13 09:11

    Amla doesn't belong there,he's too refined.Tsotsobe also doesn't belong there,he's an average ODI bowler at best.He must just do the honorable thing and fake an injury so that Abbot goes to the WC in his place!.Hendricks had a bad first over(probably nerves) but pulled it together in the second.But all in all i'd place the blame squarely on Faf for having no imagination

  • Sherwin King - 2014-03-13 09:15

    The problem wasn't the score in my opinion, it was the fact that the captain gave the penultimate over to the debutant. As well as he bowled at the death in the domestic league, I don't think it possible for him to do it in an even more shortened version. Why did Abbot not get one of the last 2 overs? He was one of the better bowlers and conceded the least runs in his spell. I think the captain erred with his decision making.

  • Gregory Cooper - 2014-03-13 09:23

    agreed with the batting line-up they could have done better. on the bowling tsostobe trying to go for wickets is a BIG mistake . . . restrict runs was a simple instruction. hendriks coming on a second time showed what he could do (bar the first couple balls) and is important to build some confidence which worked as he finished the over strong. this is a practice match and should be used to try things. i'm sure they learn from this and next time (when it counts) they should be more ready.

  • Hirschel Heilbron - 2014-03-13 09:25

    based on the comments below and the country's aim to build uniformity among its inhabitants through "sports", it is seems that this country is worst off than before 1994, let alone the what's happening within the government structure...

  • Angelo Castagno - 2014-03-13 09:30

    Another loss for domingo.......still yet to be impressed with him as a coach

  • Jon Low - 2014-03-13 09:50

    The coach makes the call on the batting order, and the skipper is his consultant. Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber.

  • Keiran Reilly - 2014-03-13 10:27

    South Africa have never been able to apply common sense in the hustle and bustle of high pressure limited overs cricket. That is quite simply a fact. Even Graham Smith who I am a big fan of stuffed up the last world cup by packing his side with bowlers in a knockout game and putting too much pressure on the middle order. The silly mistakes made last night shows we are no closer to finding a think tank that can simply think clearly and logically about limited overs cricket. No other side in the world would have opened with Amla last night. Australia dont even pick a guy like that in their T20 side never mind in a 7 over game. The Hendriks move may have been a calculated gamble and had it come off we would all have applauded. What frustrates me most is Mr Du Plessis and Mr Domingo talking about how good lessons were learnt and how they werent expecting to play and how its a bit of a lottery... etc. etc. Great coaches in any sporting code talk about developing a winning habit. You dont play international cricket to learn lessons. You try to win every single game. If you want to win a world cup you better be demn good at winning. Last night was a game we could and should have won (even with two overs to go). And we managed to lose. Thats the only habit our limited overs team have ever had and until they stop telling everyone how much they learn when they lose nothing will change. A World T20 final could be reduced to 7 overs... what then... still doesnt matter?

  • Gert Steenkamp - 2014-03-13 10:39

    Two big mistakes 1 Amla as opener in a 7 over match ...a NO NO. 2. Parnell as bouler in the last over , but then again what can you expect from an amature coach like Dom...ingo. Get rid of this joker please.

  • Brian Manlaws Roberts - 2014-03-13 10:59

    Abbot should have got a 2nd over, not Hendriks.

  • Grenville Deyce - 2014-03-13 13:23

    Spot on

  • Peter L' Estrange - 2014-03-13 15:45

    Why oh why did they not use Abbott in the last over?. Parnell did not even seem to know where to bowl. He dished up lollilpops for Doige to hit - not once but twice!!!

  • Theuns Jacobs - 2014-03-13 17:24

    U can't fire quota domingo, it will be a racist issue!!

      Madimetja Dmax Mashao - 2014-03-13 17:59

      Same when Gary resigned some of you still managed to make it a political and race issue, there were comments like "he resigned because he didn't want to be dictated to by the anc",

  • Darrell Scheepers - 2014-03-13 18:35

    Maybe the coach is a little out of his depth, never having played at this level , just a thought

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