The final test against Pakistan starts tomorrow and although the series may have already been decided, I am of the view that it will still prove to be a cracker of a game. Pakistan has pushed and tested the Proteas to the full in the last test match and they will be desperate to take some consolation home. The question is whether the last test was really that close? It felt much closer than the result suggested, but looking at the individual stats of the series, things look heavily one sided.
On the batting front AB de Villiers lead the total runs category with 231 at an average of 77 per innings, followed by Hashim Amla on 194 runs at an average of 65. The closest Pakistan players are Shafiq and Khan, on 187 (46 ave) and 140 (35 ave) respectively.
On the bowling front, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander dominate the stats with 15 wickets (ave 10 runs per wicket) and 13 wickets (ave of 13 runs per wicket) respectively. The closets Pakistan player is Saeed Ajmal – the premier spinner at 11 wickets at an average of 26 runs per wicket.
Unfortunately, what the stats fail to show, is Robbie Peterson’s awesome Man of the match performance – as well as Saeed Ajmal’s 10 wickets in the match.
Family and friends have asked me whether I thought that these guys (Pakistan) were up to standard? They are not really a bad team. We are just that good. I have noticed the Pakistan Captain’s continuous remarks on South Africa being the number 1 side and playing in their own conditions. “Misbah, our record is even better away from home. Be grateful that we were not playing in Pakistan – the embarrassment of losing in your own backyard would have been even more humiliating.”
Smith and Kirsten would like a solid finish to the test series and I think with their leadership and the culture of the Proteas, they will not let up. My prediction is a win and 3 – 0 series white wash.
Super 15 Showdown Commences
– by Paul Kruger
If you want to download the schedule of the competition in your Outlook Calendar, please click here: Download Super15 fixtures in Outlook format HERE
On Friday, the Bulls take on last year’s most successful local team, the Stormers, at Loftus, and on Saturday, the Free State hosts the Sharks in Bloemfontein. The Kings take centre stage when they play their debut game as the main attraction on Saturday against the Force.
All of us who play Superbru know that, when in doubt, you choose the home side. This may be sage advice in this case, although I believe there are a number of factors that will pan out better on grass than on paper.
The single biggest factor, in my view, is which teams will settle down first, sticking to, and executing, their game plan best. We saw on Monday how the Shimlas, in their game against Tukkies, threw away a number of scoring opportunities through poor handling. This could also be the case in the first few rounds, and make the difference between starting on a positive note, or playing catch-up rugby.
The Kings will field their best combination for the first time ever, and despite gloomy predictions, I hope they get off to a good start against the Force to bolster their confidence for the rest of what will be a very tough season.
Rob Houwing wrote an article entitled “Is Super Rugby stretched too far?” on what the season holds in store. He also asks a few questions about the attraction of the current format, compared to the popularity of the Super 12. I tend to agree with his views, but would like to hear what you think.
Please click here to read the article which appears in Prudential’s “Consider This” magazine.
Ou Manie was onlangs op ‘n troue waar die vader van die bruid, uitgevat in ‘n manelpak, laataand so aangeklam geraak het dat hy sy balans op die dansvloer verloor het en onseremonieël, swaelstertpak en al, met Moeder Aarde kennis gemaak het. Ou Maans sê hy dag toe so by homself: “Ghmf. All dressed up and no vertigo.”
Staan sterk, ou Grote!