Proteas have it all to do now

2012-09-28 19:10

Cape Town – Having finished on the wrong side of their schizophrenic first Super Eights match against Pakistan at the ICC World Twenty20 on Friday, South Africa face a white-knuckle few days as they almost certainly require successive victories over Australia and India to make the semi-finals.

The Aussies lie in wait on Sunday and then the Indians on Tuesday, with both games scheduled for the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo where the Proteas got fatally bogged down at the crease against the much-touted Pakistani spin arsenal.

It will be some consolation to AB de Villiers and company that they looked for all money at one stage to have dramatically turned the game around, only for their death bowling – the admirable Dale Steyn exempted -- to let them down from the 16th over onward as a swashbuckling display from No 9 batsman Umar Gul, in particular, earned the Subcontinental team a dramatic reprieve.

Amidst the relief of getting over the line with two balls to spare in an extraordinarily fluctuating affair, Pakistan must ask serious questions of their top-order batsmen, who so nearly conspired – courtesy of some utterly madcap dismissals -- to botch a fixture they ought to have won at a canter.

South Africa will know that despite their later grittiness in the field, they really lost this one through their stuttering and indecisive batting display after winning the toss and opting for first strike.

A total of 133 for six, at a venue where the average first-knock score is 162, was always going to be difficult to defend.

They were on the back foot in this match more or less from the outset, a situation not helped by the rare instance these days of losing “The Mighty Hash” (one HM Amla) as quickly as the second over for six.

It almost seemed as though the entire remainder of the innings was a cautious rebuild job, because save for sporadic salvoes of brazen boundary-hitting, even twos and threes were hard to come by, so the run rate never ballooned to the degree it badly needed to.

Certainly the Proteas’ strategic approach warrants scrutiny: ace stroke-player De Villiers, for instance, held himself back to No 6, and entry to the battle as late as the middle of the 13th over.

But more perplexing to many observers was the fatally lopsided reliance on seam bowling by the South Africans even as their spinners excelled to a man -- and this on top of the educative evidence of the earlier innings in which the Pakistani “tweakers” had been notable stranglers.

It can be all too easy at times to resort to cold, after-match statistics, but they do reveal that the Proteas’ up-for-it trio of spinners (Robin Peterson, Johan Botha and JP Duminy) accounted for just eight overs between them at a cost of only 30 runs and snaring of four wickets.

Not helped by one particularly leaky over each from Jacques Kallis and Albie Morkel, the four faster men, by contrast, bowled 11.4 overs at a greatly more damaging cost of 98 runs, albeit also for four scalps.

Although this represented a third loss in as many encounters with Pakistan at World T20 level, at least on this occasion South Africa were not actually eliminated.

They clearly still have a strong pulse and ought to be highly motivated to atone for this setback against the Aussies on Sunday – especially as they have to!

It might also be argued that the Proteas have now had their “bad game”.

In many previous ICC world one-day tournaments, after all, they have often flown handsomely in the early stages, only for the hype around them to build and build and then their hull to be suddenly torpedoed at a critical time.

Shaun Pollock provided some cause for optimism from the SuperSport studio, in his post mortem of the defeat: “You’ve got to have your wits about you in death overs; too many balls were easy to put away.

“But although it depends on the surface presented, we should hold the aces in the spin department against Australia.”
Left-armer Peterson was particularly accomplished on Friday, his figures of 4-1-15-2 representing his best economy rate (3.75) in a completed spell from 14 internationals in this format.

Still, beating the old southern hemisphere enemy will be no walk in the park: the Proteas were a little fortunate to salvage a 1-1 outcome the last time these foes met in a T20 mini-series, on our shores last season.

There may also be fitness concerns for the clash around pace spearhead Steyn, who took a fearful blow on an ankle trying to stop a straight drive in the penultimate over of the Pakistan chase.

His tourney bowling analysis, spread over three games, currently stands at 10-0-41-6 which tells you how indispensable he is to the South African cause.

We’d better hope he can bite the bullet on Sunday ...

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • richard.barnes.3914 - 2012-09-28 19:31

    “But although it depends on the surface presented, we should hold the aces in the spin department against Australia.” Well, India held all the aces in the spin department for the match just played against Aus. Didn't seem to help them much...

      UNITY - 2012-09-29 05:34

      It held when pakistan outplayed us against pace!

      thomas.cannon.712 - 2012-09-29 06:58

      Lets spend two days at a luxury resort to get our minds ready for the super eights!!!! Rather lets get the job done and then spend two weeks celebrating!! Kallis and the Morkels "CHOKED" under pressure, the spinners and Steyn set a no hope situation into a trott to the winning line!! Experienced bowlers bowling for the miss hit, and the ball ended up just missing the spactators all around the ground!! They had to get twelve runs an over for five overs, pitch the bloody ball up and on line and make them take the chances, NO lets bowl short and wide no balls and full tosses!!! WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOW we know why we never win any trophies!!!!!!!! They change the team every game and batting order at the last minute depending on the situation!! This is the business end of the tournament you should know your team and batting line-up!!!! Now we could be going home as early as Sunday all because we left our minds at the resort!!!!!

  • NguVala - 2012-09-28 20:02

    First order of business: Levi must be dropped. I like the guy but he has not helped our cause so far. \r\nAlbie Morkel must also be demoted as he has been getting his place on reputation only got from IPL and not in a Proteas shirt. My line up is: Du Plessis, Amla, De Villiers, Duminy, Kallis, Berhadien, Botha, Parnell, Peterson, Steyn, Tsotsobe

      Joe - 2012-09-28 20:41

      Parnell??????? LOOOOOOOOL!!!!

      lean.sadie - 2012-09-28 21:06

      Parnell is worse than albie and levi combined. Poor oke has lost the plot completely!

      andrew.deacon.39 - 2012-09-28 21:17

      I remember Parnell and Rusty saving us vs Aus last year...

      Joe - 2012-09-28 21:23

      i remember parnell getting smashed for 30 off 1 over just the other day....

      NguVala - 2012-09-29 05:31

      What you lads seem to forget is that Parnell has been a better alrounder than Albie in a Proteas shirt. On top of that there is no one else in that team who will play, no one else can do worse than Albie at the moment. Remember that we're playing Aus next and they love facing Albie. The same pitch or stadium will be used and Albie has proven to be incapable. The other option is to play Levi and hope that he gets it right against the quickies. As for the insults; really guys you have to grow up. A mature person can put his point across without embarrassing themselves

      hendrik.schutte.3152 - 2012-09-29 14:14

      PLEASE no Parnell.........Duminy good for a full blown 5th bowler. pack some more batting in.(and naturally NO Morkel, tall or short one.)

  • virgilioc - 2012-09-28 20:06

    Flattering to deceive comes to mind as always. Not going further again. Our cricket is like Holland in football. Going to be a dissapointment...

  • robertleericketts - 2012-09-28 20:09

    cough cough choke cough cough

  • dowwe.duane - 2012-09-28 20:29

    What a lot of chokers! 2nd to the Stormers only in the world of sport

  • deon.dewaal - 2012-09-28 21:05

    SERIOUSLY PEOPLE ... its 20/20 cricket ..... who cares ........... its not real .......... we played a 7 over game ... how is that a contest????

  • andre.terblanche.5 - 2012-09-28 21:17

    Tyd dat hulle die afrigter pos. Hoe kan hulle so choker aangestel het. Ek wonder of hy nie van wp af kom nie. Steyn moet ook waai. Los net die kaptein, hy is ok.

      dawood.timol - 2012-09-28 21:20

      en wat van Amla

  • PieterFHansen - 2012-09-28 21:27

    AB is not the right choice for captain for limited overs cricket, let alone test cricket. What pathetic decisions in the last five overs. Albe Morkel when he had two spinners with excellent figures available to choose form in the last couple of overs.

      tommy.jones.754918 - 2012-09-29 07:59

      I think Johan Botha is perfect for the job

  • jeremy.forbes.1293 - 2012-09-28 23:20

    I refused to watch the Proteast tournament matches anymore, it is much too hard. I still have nightmares of the Gibbs "catch" which should have dismissed Steve Waugh and win the match. To say nothing about the Alan Donald/Klusner run out. I'm getting older, my nerves can't take it anymore. Today was another one, I came in at 77-6 and could not believe AB putting Albie on to bowl when the three spinners had overs left and was doing a great job. It was another one of our tournament moments, I left and looked at the result an hour later online. Enough is Enough!!

  • jeff.swart.96 - 2012-09-29 04:24

    I come back to my previous statement. We will not win because of 2 reasons. 1. Majority of our top order batsmen cannot hit sixes at will. Look at the last 12 months. Amla and AB excluded of course. 2. Our seam bowlers cannot adapt quickly enough, I.e dumb bowling. Ps: what is it with a Morkel and a front foot no ball???

      Kgopiso Cele - 2012-09-29 07:15

      that's true,,,,!!! albie has his no ball problems ... actually both morkel brothers!!!

      richard.barnes.3914 - 2012-09-29 12:17

      Erm, in the last 12 months, Hashim has hit a grand total of two sixes for the Proteas in T20. Kallis and Wayne Parnell have hit more sixes than Hash. Johan Botha has hit two sixes in facing 45 balls, Hash has hit two sixes in facing 157 balls. Hash is a wonderful batsman but is not, by any stretch of the imagination, our biggest hitter. Or even one of our four or five biggest T20 hitters. Hash's forte is wristy flicks and deft strokeplay for fours. He's not an aerial smasher like Levi or Albie. Or even JP Duminy for that matter. Even in ODIs, Hash has hit only 5 sixes from 852 balls faced. Kallis has hit 6 sixes from 330 balls faced. And nobody has ever accused Kallis of being the biggest hitter and fastest scorer in limited overs. The thing is that you don't need everybody to be a six-hitting slogger. Hash and JK are innings anchors, the fireworks can happen around them. Hash plays the same role as Gambhir does for India - lots of wristy shots for fours but not many sixes. So keep the scoreboard ticking along rapidly and build the innings while Yuvraj, Kohli, Sehwag and Dhoni smash the sixes. Michael Hussey plays a similar role for Aus - bat through the innings at a good strike rate and leave the slogging to Watson and Warner.

  • claude.felbert - 2012-09-29 05:09

    Levi needs to learn about shot selection and DeVilliers and the selectors must recognise that neither Morkel is suited to death bowling.

      richard.barnes.3914 - 2012-09-29 12:23

      Morne's death bowling during the IPL was terrific. At the time, Kepler Wessels even wrote an article saying that Morne must be our go-to death bowler and Dale Steyn must, at all costs, be kept away from bowling at the death. At the time, Dale was leaking a lot of runs in the last overs of IPL matches, Morne wasn't. It goes to show that bowlers, just like batsmen, go through peaks and troughs in form.

  • bronwen.f.phillips - 2012-09-29 05:59

    no big scores from the openers and poor bowling balls too short ..Morkel and Kallis ...and some fielding which was not up to scratch..amla totally misjudged that botched catch

  • willie.dique - 2012-09-29 06:18

    I am trying to be positive but gets the choking feeling. Levi useless why is he still there, rather use Faf.

  • arthur.salvado - 2012-09-29 06:39

    I want SA to win as much as the next, but lighten up guys, it's just a game. We cannot and never will ALL games as much as we expect them to. It was a good game but OH the huge choke. Bring the Aussies !!!

  • Kgopiso Cele - 2012-09-29 07:08

    Parnell....!!!! he brings bad memories to me,,, so is albie!!!!

  • KevinandKelly Rose - 2012-09-29 08:29

    Johan Botha should be captain. De Villiers should stick to what he is good at - batting. It was an unbelievable decision not to use spin at the end.

  • tim.kilpin - 2012-09-29 08:37

    Morkel / Kallis bowled really sh.t last few overs and threw the game away. Why did we not keep the spinners on?

  • thabo.malose.31 - 2012-09-29 08:37

    AB learned from his mistakes, now we play for our lives. Feel sorry for Aussies and india cause we going to distroy them.

  • Ntutu Dlova - 2012-09-29 08:51

    Maybe being w/k and captain is 2 much for AB. Botha did well as captain,not sure why he stopped. i like Levi , but i think he's earned a place in the bench, Faf can open with Amla. As for Morne and his no balls, my heart almost stopped when he bowled one on the England test .

  • gerald.smith.9041083 - 2012-09-29 10:59

    If we can get both Watson and Warner cheaply tomorrow, then we have a very good chance of beating Oz, but if we let them score like they did against India, then heaven help us

  • vaughn.smit - 2012-09-29 15:10

    I just cannot see us beating both the ozzies and india. South africa will choke under the pressure. I had money that we would lose the first game that actually counted, ie: when there was pressure. And i was right. I hope im wrong but you would have to be as thick as two short planks to bet on South Africa now.

  • an.a.969 - 2012-09-29 15:49

    No pressure! We are Test (Cricket) Kings!...T20 Is like watching the sponsirship adds...all pretty but no Babe Ruth once said about baseball (ie. B20bricket)...\SoME times u win,sometimes u lose...and sometimes ...IT RAINS!..

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