Proteas seek Aussies re­venge

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Sport24

CAPE TOWN — Com­ing hot on the heels of the Spring­boks’ up­set by Ire­land, South Africa’s tight Twenty20 in­ter­na­tional match –– and by ex­ten­sion se­ries –– de­feat to arch-ri­vals Aus­tralia on Sun­day com­pleted a slightly har­row­ing week­end for the do­mes­tic sports pub­lic.

But the cricket re­verse at Sta­dium Aus­tralia in Syd­ney is less wor­ri­some, given that T20 is a pretty low pri­or­ity at present and the real deal, if you like, starts with the five­match ODI se­ries from to­mor­row in Perth.

The 50-overs for­mat is hugely more rel­e­vant as the World Cup is only three months away and the Proteas will be happy to rein­te­grate steely char­ac­ters like AB de Vil­liers, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Dale Steyn and company into their plans for the next cou­ple of weeks.

Yes, it is dis­ap­point­ing that JP Du­miny’s ex­per­i­men­tal troops could not kick on after thump­ing the host na­tion in the first of the three T20 clashes, but the sil­ver lin­ing was that this was eas­ily their most com­pet­i­tive of three se­ries in the ul­tra-con­densed for­mat Down Un­der since 2005/06.

The South Africans showed good per­se­ver­ance and re­solve in drag­ging Sun­day’s de­cider down to the sec­ond-last de­liv­ery, after spells dur­ing the game when it seemed they might be blitzed in roughly the man­ner they were in game two at the MCG only two days ear­lier.

And if the ex­er­cise was go­ing to carry at least some weight in squad-com­po­si­tion plans for CWC 2015, then it prob­a­bly served its pur­pose in a few ways.

It would have use­fully re­minded team man­age­ment and crit­ics/ pub­lic that in both limited-overs en­vi­ron­ments, the Proteas still have some is­sues to grap­ple with when it comes to sus­tain­abil­ity or “kick­ing on” at the crease after promis­ing starts.

South Africa re­main a more com­pelling start-of-in­nings team than they are at per­form­ing the sec­ond- half job: the prom­ise of big to­tals from solid –– or oc­ca­sion­ally even blis­ter­ing –– early plat­forms all too of­ten peters out.

This was cer­tainly the case again on Sun­day, and just 15 runs more after bat­ting first might have made all the dif­fer­ence in sway­ing the game and se­ries the more de­sired way.

Even the ridicu­lously par­ti­san Aus­tralian tele­vi­sion com­men­ta­tors (there are one or two ex­cep­tions) lost some steam in the home­town su­perla­tives depart­ment as young Quin­ton de Kock, with more se­date aid from Reeza Hen­dricks, en­sured a rol­lick­ing start with the way he tar­geted the much shorter straight bound­aries at the large but slightly soul­less sta­dium.

When De Kock was first man out at 75 after 8.4 overs, a com­mand­ing to­tal of 170 or more looked a solid bet, but in­stead the SA in­nings sub­sided like a flimsy fac­tory erected by a cor­rupt, cow­boy builder.

That said, credit had to go to the Aussie at­tack for the dis­ci­pline and mix-up skills they ex­hib­ited in their con­certed back­end stran­gu­la­tion job.

In­cred­i­bly the Proteas could only find the ropes twice in the last five overs, which is the sort of statis­tic that tends to spell “trou­ble” for the de­fence of your score in a T20 game.

South african crick­eter JP Du­miny

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.