Hong Kong now knows who Prince’s men are

The Mercury - - SPORT - Lun­gani Zama

SOUTH AFRICA may have been mis­taken for tourists when they pulled into the Hong Kong Sixes wel­come din­ner, wear­ing ca­sual clothes com­pared to all the uni­formed teams around them.

But, by Sun­day, every team in the bustling Asian metropole cer­tainly knew who the men play­ing un­der the man­age­ment of for­mer na­tional open­ing bats­man Ash­well Prince were. For one thing, they were wear­ing the look of cham­pi­ons, so of­fi­cial team kit didn’t mat­ter so much.

In the end, it came down to the very last ball of a thrilling tour­na­ment, with Aubrey Swanepoel hold­ing his nerve to hit the re­quired bound­ary in the fi­nal to beat a gal­lant Pak­istan, who had been un­de­feated up to that point.

The win, South Africa’s fifth in the his­tory of the event, meant they de­fended the tro­phy they won in 2012, when the tour­na­ment was last held at the throb­bing Kowloon Cricket Club.

For a long time, be­fore the ad­vent of T20 cricket, the Sixes were the ideal mix of fun, so­cial­is­ing and se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion.

The play­ers, cer­tainly, are thrilled to have it back on the ros­ter.

“It was un­be­liev­able to be part of this week­end, and I am just re­ally proud to have played a part in the vic­tory,” Dol­phins opener Sarel Er­wee said while in tran­sit back home yes­ter­day.

“Work­ing with Ash­well was great. He called us all to­gether when we ar­rived, and told us to go out there and en­joy our­selves. He told us there was no pres­sure on us, and I think that freed the guys to go out there and play some re­ally great cricket.”

The South Africans had de­feated New Zealand by 18 runs to get into the fi­nal, at a venue steeped in his­tory. Er­wee said that he had been warned about the size of it, but it had still taken him by sur­prise when he first saw the cricket club.

“I thought I knew what to ex­pect, but when you see it, you re­alise just how small it is. It’s un­be­liev­able, and re­ally puts you un­der pres­sure with the ball,” he said.

De­spite that, the oc­ca­sional bowler in the Dol­phins ranks some­how bur­gled his way to joint high­est wicket-taker in the tour­na­ment, with his of­fer­ing of off spin col­lect­ing six scalps.

“I guess you could call it un­der­rated offies – that catch peo­ple by sur­prise,” he said.

“It was great to get a few poles, and to just bowl a few more balls out in the mid­dle.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.