Proteas bowl­ing ‘flawed’

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

LIVER­POOL — Af­ter seal­ing Liver­pool’s pas­sage into the quar­ter-fi­nals of the FA Cup, at­tack­ing mid­fielder Adam Lal­lana ( pic­tured) ad­mits that Liver­pool have a big op­por­tu­nity to win this year’s com­pe­ti­tion.

Lal­lana in­sists that his side are not con­cerned about the big names left in the draw ahead of the Mon­day’s quar­ter-fi­nal fix­ture an­nounce­ment.

“Re­gard­less of who is in it, we feel we have got a good chance,” Lal­lana told bein SPORTS.

“We’ll just pre­pare for who­ever is in our way in the next round and go into the game look­ing to get the win.

“We knew we were go­ing to have to be pa­tient. We came here a few months ago and were in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent place to where we are now.

“We were still con­fi­dent at half-time. We cre­ated a lot of chances in the first half, we just weren’t ruth­less enough. Mario came on for an ex­tra pres­ence up front.

“We got two rea­son­ably early goals in the sec­ond half and dug in well at the end. We thor­oughly de­serve our place in the next round. It’s a very dif­fi­cult place, credit to the fans - the ground was bounc­ing be­fore the game and es­pe­cially when they got their goal. We did well to nul­lify them to very few chances. We’re de­lighted we’re in the next round.”

Four days af­ter notch­ing a cru­cial win­ner past Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur, Mario Balotelli made a game-chang­ing con­tri­bu­tion once more.

“He hits it with a tech­nique which is dif­fi­cult for the ‘keeper to col­lect,” said the goalscorer.

“I gam­bled that he was go­ing to parry it and just put it in. So I was de­lighted.” — Reuters CAPE TOWN — If dan­ger signs can flicker against a rel­a­tive min­now, then per­haps South Africa would be wise to ad­dress their short­com­ings for the loom­ing en­counter with a co-su­per­power.

The risky lack of depth to their bowl­ing re­sources was high­lighted once again as they made heavy weather of sub­du­ing gutsy neigh­bours Zim­babwe in a World Cup Pool B opener for both sides at Hamil­ton on Sun­day.

Se­nior player Dale Steyn sport­ingly tweeted (@Dalesteyn62) af­ter­wards: “Well played by our African neigh­bours ... tough bug­gers!”

In the end the Proteas pre­vailed by 62 runs, but there were anx­ious mo­ments along the way for them, first at the crease and then in the field.

It may be no bad thing: they have some­times in the past been guilty of steam­ing along like a Ja­panese bul­let train in early group play at World Cups, only to sub­side when it is most in­op­por­tune to­ward the busi­ness end.

At least they will be well aware there are ar­eas to brush up on sig­nif­i­cantly for next Sun­day’s meet­ing with the more heavy­weight In­dia at Mel­bourne Cricket Ground (05:30 SA time).

The bat­ting wob­ble is ar­guably of much less con­cern: it is ex­tremely rare th­ese days for the “big two”, AB de Vil­liers and Hashim Amla, to com­pile only 36 runs be­tween them in a one-day in­ter­na­tional, and the very fact that the Proteas could re­cover from the col­lec­tive top-or­der peril of 83 for four to to­tal 339 with­out fur­ther loss is a sign of grow­ing ma­tu­rity and com­po­sure in that depart­ment.

Those qual­i­ties were ev­i­dent in abun­dance from re­spec­tive cen­tu­ri­ons David Miller and JP Du­miny, who have got their per­sonal tour­na­ments off with a deaf­en­ing bang.

Their un­bro­ken fifth-wicket stand of 256 in only 29.4 overs be­comes the third high­est for any Sed­don Park and should pre­fer a much pacier track – hope­fully – at the MCG.

But if Be­har­dien is go­ing to leak 40 runs in five overs against a side as mod­er­ate as Zim­babwe in slower, grip­ping con­di­tions, it doesn’t seem to bode well for how the In­dian stroke­play­ers may tar­get him across the Tas­man in Australia.

There are al­ready the an­tic­i­pated signs that this will be an­other dif­fi­cult tour­na­ment for the most ac­com­plished and well-rounded of bowl­ing line-ups, never mind ones fea­tur­ing es­sen­tially part­time and thus more vul­ner­a­ble el­e­ments like Be­har­dien.

Con­cerns about the po­ten­tial weak­en­ing on pa­per of the Proteas’ tail, if they were to sac­ri­fice him for Wayne Par­nell or Kyle Ab­bott, are un­der­stand­able.

But per­haps Ver­non Phi­lan­der’s abil­ity to be at least re­silient at the crease are un­der­es­ti­mated by man­age­ment and if, say, he and Par­nell were the seven and eight it wouldn’t be the worst sit­u­a­tion in the world.

Be­sides, if any­thing South Africa’s trum­peted front­line bats­men are likely only to be bet­ter col­lec­tively next time out af­ter the early woes ex­pe­ri­enced against the Zim­bab­weans, and they may get away with field­ing a fluffy tail against an In­dian attack which is that team’s weaker suit than its own bat­ting.

In­dia saw off fierce ri­vals Pak­istan more con­vinc­ingly on pa­per on Sun­day than the Proteas sub­dued Zim­babwe; there can be no room for any weak links in De Vil­liers’s side next week­end.

“Back to the drawing board” is prob­a­bly too dra­matic a state­ment, but there are a few holes in the SA fence yet to close up ... Up­com­ing fix­tures 20 Feb: New Zealand v Eng­land 21 Feb: Pak­istan v West Indies, Australia v Bangladesh. 22 Feb: Afghanistan v Sri Lanka, In­dia v South Africa. — Sport24

David Miller (left) and JP Du­miny res­cued the Proteas against Zim­babwe on Sun­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.