Cape Town – Veteran
JP Duminy is ready to reinforce the enduringly shaky South African batting line-up.
was apparent as he produced a pleasing all-round performance as captain of the
Cape Cobras in their crucial, last-gasp victory over the Lions in the Momentum
One Day Cup at the Wanderers on Thursday.
recently recovered from a shoulder injury that side-lined him for a few months,
got comfortably back into his stride in just his second game back, striking a
fluent, intelligent 62 at roughly a run a ball on a slow, slightly uneven
Bullring surface – his 192-cap ODI experience certainly shone through as the
visitors batted first in the game eventually won by three runs off the last possible
ball of the match.
left-hander, 34, would have been delighted to have got among the runs,
considering that his comeback game against the Titans at Newlands a few days
ago saw him dismissed to one of those unfortunate leg-side glances to the
wicketkeeper for a two-ball duck.
Duminy very quickly busied himself in a bowling capacity in the Big Smoke too:
he opened the Cobras’ attack with Rory Kleinveldt, had another spell at an
advanced stage of the Lions’ innings, and his off-spin contribution was a lot
better than his figures (7-0-41-1) suggested.
error-prone ground-fielding would have lessened the number of runs he conceded,
although he was responsible for critically dismissing home team century-maker
Dominic Hendricks in the 42nd over.
The game was
a sharp reminder of the enduring value Duminy brings to the SA cause,
especially with the fast-looming World Cup in England in mind, at least partly
because he remains the best part-time bowling option among the Proteas’
batsmen: someone capable of chipping in four or five overs for varietal
purposes or because a specialist bowler may be taking an unusual level of
sense now for the Proteas to latch him onto the squad for the closing two ODIs
against Sri Lanka.
up, they have one more game to play with the current group of players named by the
selectors (in Durban on Sunday) but then tweaks can and probably will be made
for the remainder of the series.
mean Duminy playing his first ODI since October 6 – it was against Zimbabwe in
Paarl – when the St George’s Park fixture comes around on Wednesday, and then
the combat ends at Newlands, his home ground, next Saturday.
He has had
his ups and downs in all formats for South Africa over the years, but the
diminutive player would still be most domestic experts’ choice for the World
Cup squad: he boasts 5,016 ODI career runs at an average of just over 37.
In his last
away 50-overs series for the Proteas, he played with pleasing authority and
conviction against the very same Sri Lankans on their own challenging pitches,
when South Africa won the series 3-2 in July and August last year.
have a wonderful opportunity to regain sharpness at the highest level if he
does play the last two ODIs, and then moves onward into the three-match
Twenty20 international series before the Proteas’ home season ends.
meantime, the Cobras, now right back in contention for the One Day Cup
semi-finals, should still enjoy his services this Saturday when they tackle the
Dolphins in Maritzburg.
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