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

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - LUN­GANI ZAMA

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.

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