SA in New Zealand

Majola lauds Proteas

2012-03-03 14:34
Gerald Majola (File)
Cape Town - The Proteas completed a 3-0 clean sweep of the ODI series when they beat the New Zealand Black Caps by 5 wickets with 40 balls to spare at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday.

This followed their wins by six wickets with 26 balls to spare and by six wickets with 70 balls to spare in the first two matches.

It was the first time that the Proteas had managed to go unbeaten through an ODI series in that country and represents an important step forward for coach Gary Kirsten, captain AB de Villiers and the rest of the team on the first away tour for the new leadership team.

De Villiers can look back on an outstanding series personally in which he scored a century, was named Man of the Match in the first game and was not dismissed in any of the three games while scoring 146 runs with a strike rate of exactly 100. He completed 100 dismissals as fielder or wicketkeeper and finished just two runs short of 5 000 career runs.

If anything, the additional burden of captaincy and keeping wicket has made him an even bigger performer for the Proteas than he was before.

The big difference between the two sides lay with the respective bowling attacks. The Proteas took 29 out of a possible 30 wickets in the series and twice bowled New Zealand out inside 50 overs. By comparison New Zealand only took 13 wickets and at no stage of the series did South Africa’s specialist bowlers have to bat apart from the couple of overs that Johan Botha faced in closing out the final game.

Wayne Parnell opened the batting on Saturday but his future has long been considered that of a genuine all-rounder.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Gerald Majola congratulated the Proteas on their outstanding performance.

“This is our finest ODI performance in New Zealand ever,” he commented. “What has really impressed me is the fact that the team played the conditions so well, if anything better than the home side. This is a good indication that we have a team that is thinking on its feet and is playing the match situation rather than having a preconceived plan. This is an important change in mindset that Gary Kirsten, AB de Villiers and their support group have brought to the team.

“It reminds me of a quote by the great Jack Nicklaus: ‘You have to play the course the way it is and not the way you want it to be’.

“What has become equally relevant is the fact that Gary and AB have not just put an excellent XI on the field but have also started creating a squad with great depth.

“We went into this match without the likes of Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith and Morne Morkel who have played well over 550 ODIs between them, yet it was business as usual with their replacements all making significant contributions. Marchant de Lange, in particular, is to be congratulated on taking four wickets on debut and being named Man of the Match.

“It has also been wonderful to see the unpredictable and challenging nature of many of our tactical decisions with Wayne Parnell, for instance, being used at the top of the order and Robin Peterson bowling regularly in the power plays and in the ‘death’ overs.

“The team now has excellent momentum going into the Test series and players and fans alike can look forward with confidence to the final phase of the tour.

“The Proteas have established themselves firmly as the No 2 ranked side on the ICC ODI rankings and there is an even bigger opportunity awaiting them in the Test series.”

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