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A Scintillating Weekend Awaits

The T20 Semi-final – Proteas vs India

It’s a difficult one to call, and as objective as I would like to be, I must admit I wouldn’t bet any money on SA.

Not because I think we can’t win it – more out of “we’ve been here before” and “I’ll believe it when I see it…” perspective. Yes, pessimistic I know, but we as supporters have been here so often before that we elect to act a little numb and dumb to avoid past disappointments!

The venue for this match will set new challenges for the Proteas. This wicket is more likely to take turn, which favours India’s attack, but at least dew doesn’t play such a large role as it does in Chittagong. This makes winning the toss less of an element in the outcome of the match.

To win, we will need to be at our best, as India has been the form side of the tournament.  If the Proteas can replicate the kind of cricket they played in the last match against England, they will be in the game to the end, and might just take it.

Like most of you, I will be holding my breath, so, just maybe, there is some positive expectations buried deep inside each sceptic, after all.

Please share your prediction in our cricket poll, just a jump to the right of this blog?

 

Super 15 Roundup

Luckily, the cricket does not overlap with the rugby, so no sore thumbs from channel hopping this weekend. The biggest challenge for most will be when to light the fire for the braai, with the afternoon games stretching from 15:00 to 19:10 when the Stormers match starts.

 

Hurricanes/Bulls

The Bulls game starts at 08:35 on Saturday morning, so not many outside of Pretoria will have a fire going. The Hurricanes have scored maximum points, ten out ten, in both their home matches, while the Bulls have only managed one measly point out of two away matches.

It must be said, though, that the current Bulls side is a far cry from the one which started the season with two games away from home. The players on the field, as well their support staff, which now includes Sherlock Matfield on the bench, will look to make up some lost ground, particularly after only picking up two points last week against the Chiefs.

The Bulls will no doubt target the lineouts as an attacking platform, while the Hurricanes will see the Bulls’ scrum as a potential area of weakness. The inclusion of Victor Vito at number 8 and Cory Jane on the wing will strengthen the NZ side which will be seriously upbeat after beating the Crusaders in their own backyard last week.

My guess is that the Bulls will follow the old Springbok recipe: maak hulle eers sag voor, en slaan hulle dan hard agter. Do they have the team to do this?

I’ll tell you after the fourth scrum.

 

Cheetahs/Chiefs

Most pundits on Superbru are likely to write the Cheetahs off. The loss of Philip van der Walt for six weeks could not come at a worse time. He currently holds top spot as far as tackles are concerned in the competition, despite the fact that defence appears to be the one area where his side is seriously lacking in application.

The Chiefs showed against the Bulls that they are capable of doing what seems impossible, and have only the “second game on tour” voodoo which could possibly trip them up.

Darem jammer Brüssow is eers volgende week reg.

 

Lions/Crusaders

At the start of the season, no-one with any sense would have bothered to write the possible outcome of this match in pencil – thick felt pen, more likely, and not in favour of the Lions, either.

Ek glo nie die storie van Kieran Read wat dan nou kastig sukkel met harsingskudding nie – ek dink hulle wil eerder met die Lions bestuur se koppe smokkel. Dis nou maar een ding van die Kiwi’s: hulle speel nie net op die veld so na aan onkant as moontlik nie.

Tog, ondanks hulle derde laaste posisie op die rangleer, het hulle net verlede week verloor na ‘n manjifieke drie deur Alapati Leiua wat 5 verdedigers geklop het om die wendrie te druk.

Elke week verwag mens dat die Lions gaan vou, en week na week verras hulle. Ek is amper bang om te voorspel hulle gaan wen – dis mos hoe daai “commentator’s curse” werk.

Ter wille van die Lions voorspel ek dus dat die magtige Crusaders van die vloer af gaan opstaan en ‘n groot sege behaal.

 

Stormers/Waratahs

In Australia, four from six “tipsters”, including Matt Burke, predict a Stormers victory.

If the opposite happens, it will the first time an Australian side has won in South Africa this year.

The big factor will of course be whether Israel Folau plays or not. The Stormers have lost their two most influential backline players in Jean de Villiers and Gio Applon.

Many will pray for a return to form of Jaco Taute, but the game will not be won at the back – it will be decided in the lineouts again, and whether Toetie and Proudfoot have managed to get the lineout throws sorted out.

The ‘Tahs last won at Newlands in 2006, and the record at Newlands reads: Played 9, Stormers 6, Waratahs 2, Drawn 1.

This is a different Warratahs side, and unfortunately, the same can be said of the Stormers.

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