Cup winners will look for more depth
AB signs off on another limited overs loss as Proteas sputter onwards to massive Test series next week
FOR SuperSport United to build on their cup triumph at the weekend, they will need much more depth than they’ve had to make do with during the 2016/17 season.
Stuart Baxter’s assessment of the Nedbank Cup champions will definitely have a bit more detail than that, but what will be at the heart of it is that Matsatsantsa, who thrashed Orlando Pirates 4-1 at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night to lift the trophy, can no longer rely on the same players every week given their schedule, which will remain unchanged – this domestic cup win pushing them back into the CAF Confederation Cup next year.
“I think in every area we have worked on, they can improve,” Baxter, who will be replaced by Eric Tinkler at the end of the month, said.
“That is what it is. You
IN THE end, it looked pretty academic, as England overcame South Africa by 19 runs in the capital of Wales on Sunday.
England fully deserved their 2-1 series victory, having played most of the cricket, and unearthed most of the potential in this experimental road trip in the South and the Welsh portion of the UK. never stand still in life, either you improve or you get worse because if they stand still then everyone else around them will get past them. Their defending, transition, penetration, setplays and being mentally strong will have to improve.
“We were on a great run this season, playing like we played in this final. But suddenly we hit a wall with injuries and the travelling in Africa, the heavy flights and tough conditions.”
Tinkler comes in from July 1, although he will not be in charge of SuperSport’s Confederation Cup group phase fixture away to Horoya on that day, as assistant coach Kaitano Tembo continues in the role and will make the trip.
After that, the schedule will likely be a carbon copy of the previous season, but with somewhat higher expectations. The Nedbank Cup win means missing out on the Premier SHOT-MAKER: England’s Dawid Malan steered his team to an imposing first innings target in a Man of the Match performance yesterday. League title by finishing fifth wasn’t so bad after all for Baxter.
“A lot of people spoke about us having a big squad, but we had 17 fit players at one stage and that was an enormous burden,” explained Baxter.
“People like Yeye (Reneilwe Letsholonyane), who started the season on fire and ended it on fire, had a little patch where he really needed a rest, which he could have done if we had a bigger squad. That little patch there was enough to drop points and lose a bit of confidence, and by the time we got it back it was fifth place, which could have been fourth place in the last game of the season, but the energy was just not in the tank.
“I have to look at that and ask if that is an excuse or a reason, and then we have to draw something rational from it and learn the lessons.”
Tom Curran looks a lively addition to the fast bowling stocks, while the fearless Dawid Malan announced himself with a Man of the Match 78 on debut.
He swatted his second ball in international cricket for six, and didn’t look back.
England’s other discovery may well be their most intriguing. Leg-spinner Mason Crane, still just 20 years of age, showed bags of character, and a fair bit of skill.
For a brief period, Proteas’
Baxter will put this all on his report prior to departing for good, his new permanent post being that of Bafana Bafana coach – a job he was offered whilst still in the SuperSport position – which may have distracted his players while he was contemplating the offer.
Tinkler has been given assurances that the club will try all in its power to hold on to their key players, among them striker Jeremy Brockie, who scored one of the goals in the 4-1 win on Saturday, and missed a penalty.
Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns are believed to be interest in the New Zealand forward, but SuperSport have so far refused to put a price tag on their goal poacher. Tinkler will need him and the core of team to stay on to do one better than Baxter, who won two cups in 18 months. skipper AB de Villiers looked as if he was going to sign off from national duty – for now, at least – in some style. He plundered Mason Crane for a four and two big sixes into the grandstand, to silence the Cardiff crowd, and make matters interesting.
But, the young leggie didn’t drop his head – or his length – and ended the battle by having De Villiers caught on the deepsquare fence.
Had it been any other fielder but Alex Hales, it may have gone for six, and De Villiers romped on.
But, as these things go, Hales plucked it out the sky, and the pressure was shifted back to the tourists. The experienced men didn’t respond well. David Miller again nicked behind on the move, and the in-form Farhaan Behardien went back into his shell.
He allowed Crane to bowl a maiden at him – incredible, in the circumstances – and then went out.
At that point, it looked as if the tourists may get mangled by 50 runs or more, but Mangaliso Mosehle and Andile Phehlukwayo both produced cameos that brought respectability to the final analysis.
Mosehle was belligerent, but he was left with too much to do.
Earlier, another youngster had shown his ability for South Africa. Dane Paterson had set the game up for Phehlukwayo in the Taunton win, but he was the main man in stopping England at the death.
His plan was simple, full and straight, and that method harvested four for 32, and revealed a new option at the death for the Proteas.
The series loss will quickly be forgotten, but South Africa will worry that they are still not firing on all cylinders, with the Test series a fortnight away.
The five-day specialists will return on Tuesday, and they will assemble in Worcester.
Having lost the ODI series and the T20 series, the four Test matches are all that’s left from a summer of discontent.