Proteas set fair for Kiwis

2010-05-06 06:58

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – A nervy moment or two in clinching their Super Eights passage, and that is a minor worry, but South Africa are in reasonable enough shape as they hurtle straight into next-phase ICC World Twenty20 battle against New Zealand in Bridgetown on Thursday (19:30 our time).

Gallery: Proteas v Afghanistan

For those Proteas supporters who shirked late-night patrol in front of their televisions: relax, Graeme Smith’s troops did dispose of Afghanistan with a good bit to spare to join India from their group in advancing to the Super Eights.

But there’s no rest for the wicked as they have little more than a night’s sleep and morning of contemplation before taking on the ever-dogged Kiwis at the same Kensington Oval venue where they blitzed the tournament newcomers out of the event.

The most positive thought for the Proteas is that this and then one more (against England on Saturday) of their three assignments in the next stage of the tournament will be in Barbados … and Smith himself rightly noted after the Afghanistan match that “it’s a bit like bowling at the Wanderers again”.

On a slightly less favourable note, considering that it is where they started the event on the back foot against India, the last Super Eights task for them is against Pakistan at the rather opposite-in-character Gros Islet in St Lucia on Monday.

But for the moment South African enthusiasts ought to have good reason to expect that the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, who basically bullied the cream of the Afghan batting order with their sheer pace and, in the latter’s case, spiteful “chin music”, will cause further problems for better-known players in the next two fixtures.

The pitch had a surprising amount of gusto and bounce, and the shock duo quickly left the minnows in absolute tatters at 14 for six and then 25 for seven in pursuit of 140 for a fairytale triumph.

Afghanistan only really staved off complete humiliation – the margin of defeat was 59 runs – with some happy-go-lucky hitting from a few of their tail-enders: it propelled them to a more respectable total of 80 all out in 16 overs.

And nobody was going to begrudge them that cheeky bit of defiance, because as much as their main batsmen were abjectly at sea against the sort of venomous fast bowling they would never before have experienced, their earlier effort in the field had been eye-opening in its confidence and even genuine skill at times.

It was probably the main reason Smith had the good grace to concede afterwards: “It was great to see the enthusiasm of Afghanistan … a fine lesson for all of us.”

They held some demanding catches, their spinners cleverly and often delightfully tied down some of the Proteas’ most accomplished batsmen in the middle phase of the innings, and the real mystery package to announce himself in some style was seamer Hamid Hassan.

The 22-year-old, only introduced as sixth bowler to the attack – so you could hardly have blamed some of the South African batsmen if they’d assumed he’d be a humdrum, inconsequential medium-pacer – turned out to be altogether more frisky than that.

He bowled a fullish, challenging length and was timed at an average speed of over 140km/h for his completed stint of 4-0-21-3, including one ball that clocked almost 144.

“I’ve not seen my speed before,” he said excitedly in a snap TV interview between innings, a statement that said a lot about the adverse circumstances from which these plucky cricketers come.

It was a satisfactory, if not wholly compelling day at the office, in the final analysis, for the South African “Goliath”.

I thought some of their batting was just a tad too frantic and helter-skelter, while several big names got “in” and then got out, which went a long way to explaining why the Proteas’ total didn’t reach the more secure 160 or 170 it probably should have.

Not that it mattered, once it became so clear Afghanistan were not going to test it in any meaningful way.

And the game did leave one or two selection issues to chew on – pretty quickly, by necessity – for the Super Eights assault.

Loots Bosman did himself no favours by running himself out for a duck, which might open the door to Herschelle Gibbs, while the jury may well remain out on the preference of Roelof van der Merwe as chief spinner to Johan Botha, who also offers better technical acumen with the blade.

At least Charl Langeveldt had a very sprightly comeback, although his success in the seam department was negated a little by Albie Morkel suffering the indignity of a 2-0-20-0 mini-walloping from the unfancied foes.

But the power-hitting left-hander is still very much needed in the lower middle-order of this line-up …


  • PDiv - 2010-05-06 07:20

    SA has an excuse to lose today...they only have a nights sleep before todays game..... Kiwis will give them a huge klap today

  • Grant - 2010-05-06 07:23

    The fact that we only scored 139 runs against Afghanistan does not bode well.

  • Syd - 2010-05-06 07:24

    Captain Smith showed why he shouldn't be leading our nation to battle. He is a good enough batter but that is as far as it goes. At 14/6, he should have gone for the jagular however he opted to replace both Steyn and Morkel with A Morkel and v/d Merwe. He should have killed the Afghans but he lacks the killer instinct. The tail wagged once again and against better foes, he'll be exposed. The middle order needs a major shake up. Kallis bats for the last overs and if he gets out early like yesterday, his strike rate is not good. Gibbs is not good enough so Kallis can keep his place. I hope, with the appointment of Hudson as Convenor good changes are coming. Ingram and Dave Miller should be our T20 middle order.

  • Burgiesburnin - 2010-05-06 07:29

    Well, thats ok then. Back with the attitude, they won a game!!!

  • darkwing - 2010-05-06 07:32

    I'm sorry to say this, but the spectre of match fixing is here to stay.Watching Graeme Smith go out against India really shocked me. As if he didn't even try to make his ground. Are they just arrogant and complacent or can one really wonder when a game is real and when not?

  • Standing at Point - 2010-05-06 07:33

    Heres the real deal, the rate at which far eastern nations are developing their cricket makes it obvious that african cricket is standing still, Sri Lanka are now reveared and wait the Afganis will hurtle to use a houwing phrase forward.. who are the afgaans of africa??? Togo or Sudan.... someone pls take the smith blinkers off this journo

  • Passie - 2010-05-06 07:51

    Please drop Bosman now and keep Smith and Kallis to open. Give Gibbs a change at nr.5 or 6.

  • Chris G - 2010-05-06 07:52

    139 against Afghanistan on a pitch that should've favoured us... that's nothing to be proud of.

  • Brent - 2010-05-06 07:52

    Loots needs to go, the guy is slow at the moment and doesnt appear to be inform, He also seems to struggle against spinners! I dont know what roelof van der Merwe is bowling but it looks perfect for the batsmen, the shocked look on his face when he gets hit for six doesnt convince me his is a better bowler, I think Botha deserves a shot! Other than that Im pretty confident we can take the Kiwis out.

  • Killer Bean - 2010-05-06 07:58

    Kick loots out of the team, let smith open with kallis and let gibbs come in after duminy...keep langeveld, kleinveld just not good enough

  • cammie - 2010-05-06 07:59

    Time for Albie Morkel to be dropped! The man is a lousy bowler, his figures in the last couple of games speak for themselves - if he comes off as a batsman he's great, but more often than not he fails and the Proteas can ill afford that luxury!

  • pure proteas - 2010-05-06 08:05

    ag shame man i felt sorry for that first guy when Steyn started, he looked so confused trying to figure out what to do with all those balls which just kept on going past in lightning speed ...the top order looked so out of place it got really sad there for a while,it was like being spanked by ur parents telling u 'this is no place for young boys'....nice try though, they have my respect especially their bowling once they figured out how to use the bouncy wicket to their advantage

  • Patriot - 2010-05-06 08:13

    lets see what the usual smith and kallis basher's have to say, even though most did not watch the match at 01h30 this morning. It was a difficult pitch to bat on, australia played Bangledesh before, it was like Bowling with a tennisball on a tar road. only the class test batsmen like, Hussey(Ausie game) Kallis and Smith could score on that pitch, the balance of the hit and misses did nothing, Shows why we need our Old boys in the team.

  • Lenstwe - 2010-05-06 08:14

    Roelof;s spin is very predictable. At 25 for 7, and with Afghanistan pretty much not seeing the quick ball, I could not understand the rationale of resting Morne, Steyn, and Charl. The score line could have easily been 40 all out!

  • ELSA - 2010-05-06 08:36


  • coach - 2010-05-06 08:36

    Amla would have been better than loots or gibbs to open? get riid of boucher,morkel - past sell by dates we need hungry young blood AB be responsible and take up keeping

  • Mike@CapeT - 2010-05-06 08:40

    SA shouldn't get carried away over their win against Afghanistan....that was just 'play, play'! The next 3 games are real.

  • Anarchist - 2010-05-06 08:45

    This tournament still disjointed. Unequal sides (at this stage), very different conditions and dodgy weather. At the best of times Proteas are not that great at adapting quickly to conditions. England looked awful against Ireland, Aussies shocking against Bangladesh and the Proteas not yet looking like world-beaters either. And, come back Gibbs, all is forgiven.

  • Olive - 2010-05-06 08:54

    Happy that the Proteas won - let's not take that away from them The bowling was really good but petered off we should have restricted the Afgans to a much lower score.Why is Loots Bosman still in the team and let's hope they don't bring Kleinveldt back!! I am sure that we will get it right for tonight's match - Go Proteas don't let us down. Will be rooting for you as usual

  • MR GOODCAT - 2010-05-06 09:04

    did any of you planks ever think that maybe the reason smith changed the bowlers when afghanistan were 7 down in order to give everyone a chance to bowl and to allow van der merwe and albie to gain some confidence... what good would it have done for our bowling attack if afghan were bowled out for 40 and only 3 of our bowlers got to bowl?????? some of you idiots know nothing about the game but are always ready to judge....

  • Gruntfuttock of Africa - 2010-05-06 09:04

    So far obvoius.. who will pay them to loose today?? It may be a fair match but nevertheless, will the crowd noise on our screens again exceed the number in the ground?

  • Zolani@chris g and grant - 2010-05-06 09:05

    See patriots comments post no 2 ,

  • SCOTT - 2010-05-06 09:12

    Put Johan Botha in as captain and we will win the tournament, other wise it will be another disappointing campain. He is a much better captain than Smith especially in the 20 over game, and he is better with bat and ball than van der Merve

  • kjac - 2010-05-06 09:15

    what role does roela van der merwe play. the idiot cannot bat. play johan botha.

  • Stephen - 2010-05-06 09:21

    I work with mentally disabled kids, they show more intelligence than these whiney trolls. @Burgiesburnin, you always post the same drivel, why do you bother reading the articles moron.

  • charles - 2010-05-06 09:28

    @darkwing,l think they are too arrogant,even Loots never bothered to dive yesterday,same with Kallis when his running they don't dive to save their wicket,they are too too arrogant most of them.Roelof can't bat can't bowl,wastes so many deliveries swinging for nothing,what has Johan done to be so sidelined,l like Smith but l am starting to join the wagon of those who say his the seems he chooses the team,and he can't stand Johan.l don't think thus how the game should be played.l would get rid of Roelof ,bring in Johan,and also use Dumminy to bowl too.thus two spinners at list who can bat.lm not so sure about Gibbs,but maybe worth a try,at list he can field,Loots looks lost with the team.Does not look like his enjoying playing.You have to enjoy the game,or else its no use playing for the sake of playing.

  • reynard - 2010-05-06 09:42

    Come on Kiwi! - kill the arrogant proteas. I Am proudly South African. Artichokes don't deserve to be called SA sportsmen. Smith - Go eat more pies - captain of the SA pie eating team. hahaha

  • pure proteas - 2010-05-06 10:04

    @lentswe...the guys knew that they already won the match...there really was no need for them to embarass the Afghan team, every one deserved a chance so we can determine who we're taking to the super eight and Van der Merwe didn't do badly in the begining and if Graeme didn't play him then persimists like you would have no reason why he should be dropped................loved Charl's work by the way

  • JustinD - 2010-05-06 10:14 say you are proudly SA but slag off the team in the same sentance.....there is a village missing you somewhere pal. Good luck to the Proteas....

  • @MR GOODCAT - 2010-05-06 10:26

    I whole heartedly agree with you… imagine going into the super eights will the majority of your bowling attack not getting much game time? If we had had Afghanistan bowled out for a really low score and we don’t perform well with the ball tonight Protea supporters would have berated Smith for not giving his bowlers game time… Van the man should be dropped and replaced with Rusty and JP can fulfill the “spinner” role… Go Protea’s your real supporters will always stand behind……

  • keith - 2010-05-06 11:04

    Afghanistan ? practise match , you cannot compare i agree Smith is good captain but not for one days nor T20 bring back Johan as captain , as for Gibbs something personal and his paying the price , every other guy in the team will have a off form period , but they do get chance to play again , Ab , Kallis , Smith ,Dumminy etc etc

  • D the M - 2010-05-06 11:13

    Well, our bowling was by enlarge much improved, though I think the 5th bowler should be kallis/duminy, not albie, he is just not reliable enough there. As for the batting, a few players need a wakeup call. I know they havent played much lately, but they are just not playing to their potential - someone like rilee roussouw/dave miller/the opener from the warriors, forget his name? should have made the squad, they are the up and comers and in more form this season than alot of our incumbents. Good luck today anyway boys...

  • @reynard - 2010-05-06 11:18

    What a Chop, laugh at own stupid Posts, Smith is world class, i saw him at gym, he is built like A prop, and in great shape, you try running up and down in the caribean heat, You werent even awake at 01h30 watching how well he and Kallis played.

  • jeremy - 2010-05-06 11:23

    I didn't stay up to watch the match - but wasn't this the same pitch on which the Aussies were bundled out for 141 by Bangladesh earlier in the day? If so, then South Africa's score was adequate if not great! As for Smith "going for the jugular" (Syd) maybe at 14/6 he knewe the game was as good as won and wanted to give his other bowlers a chance to suss out the pitch. I agree that Bosman needs to go. He's a one-trick pony and his 8 off 14 balls probably lost us the match against India.

  • Tea20 - 2010-05-06 11:30

    The bowling was much better but we need to get the batting right, my suggestion would be to get albie morkel in earlier at 5 or even 4, replace bosman with least the captain and kallis batted better but they need to all have more than a 100% strike rate. This is T20 its a total different game than odi and tests, we need to get the big hitters in first, and go for 4 most of the time leave the sixes for the real bad balls...with fours, there is no chance of losing wickets.

  • DonnyJ - 2010-05-06 11:30

    I agree !!!!! GIBBS for Bosman !!!

  • DonnyJ - 2010-05-06 11:34

    I agree with Olive above. At one satge, Afghan were 32 for 8. SA Bowlers should have finished them. The 3 tail-enders were the only guys who scored double figures. How are our bowlers going to cope with the rest of the Super 8 tail-enders !!!!!! Again they seem to go into relax mode - Morkel pathetic towards the end !!!! Gibbs for Bosman PLEASE !!!!!!!!

  • Blackmamba - 2010-05-06 12:16

    SA was as disappointing as e tv late night porn. Staying up late and nothing happens. I cant see us making the semi's with such poor batting. Lets hope they can pull it together so we can see some Jenna Jameson.

  • Baas - 2010-05-06 12:20

    Proteas has a steady enough team to win this tournament even while not playing at their best. we have got all the players and defenitely the captain to go all the way.Our killer instincts sometimes lacks, but I recon last night much more was gained by spending some time fielding and bowling than finishing the afghan's off in 5 overs.the correct selections must just be made. Defenenitely give Gibbs a go at 3 ahead of bosman and Albie up the order, before bouchie.

  • alan - 2010-05-06 12:36

    Scott, I know some of the players personally.Johan Botha as skipper?? None of the guys have big faith in him as captain.He is a strong character but prone to being "blinkered" and "old school".Sorry, Smith is a far better bet in all forms of the game!

  • morne - 2010-05-06 12:42

    Class Mat Inns NO Runs HS Avg SR 100s 50s 4s 6s Ct St Twenty20 21 21 2 678 89 35.68 130.89 4 85 20 12 - Smith Record how do you pick GIBBS

  • Robert Kay - 2010-05-06 13:25

    Botha should definitely replace van der Merwe. nad perhaps Gibbs should get a chance. Otherwise, don't mess around with the team too much. It's unsettling for the players.

  • Go Proteas - 2010-05-06 13:54

    To PDiv & Reynards - you guys are morons, true supporters don't need your idiotic comments, stick with your sunday golf games, maybe you would find a hole big enough to bury your heads in. True supporters don't only support their team when they win, Why do you think the Aussie team are so successful, they don't go back to hatred and judgements by their supporters when they lose. If you don't support SA cricket or the team please shut up - and add your peanut gallery comments elsewhere.

  • dmanmac - 2010-05-06 14:45

    hahaha I can't believe there are still idiots dissing kallis and smith Obviously most of the comments are uninformed, unskilled, never made a team type comments lol

  • Sir Thabo - 2010-05-06 14:58

    Loots I feel your pain. Yet again bad planning is the key to the lily white teams failure. South African cricket management has not changed hence we will not win anything as a team. Yet again you have been set up to fail. All the people making comments that you should get dropped do not know and understand what you going through in that Lilly white team. As a black cricketer you can not afford to fail and you are not afforded the luxury of white players to get a long run. Why does it have to be that every time you go out you need to prove a point to your team mates, the white RSA and CSA team management. My heart bleeds for you You are still my hero.

  • Dgs - 2010-05-06 15:01

    Loots Bosman has not made good scores for quite some time now, and yesterday made a duck. Perhaps they should drop him and play Gibbs against the Kiwis. he can do no worse and also make a duck but at least he is a better fielder.

  • NeilA @ Sir Thabo - 2010-05-06 16:23

    you sound like a baby who has a wet sh1t in his pants, my god you are pathetic, blaming all your shortcomings on whites, man what a LOSER.

  • wEzO - 2010-05-07 09:39


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