The result of Tuesday night’s match, and the way the team played, came as a huge relief to anxious fans who were becoming rather despondent after the euphoria of the success in the one-day and T20 matches in India.
Whilst we should not get carried away by one result, particularly in a game as fickle as limited overs cricket, the boost in confidence will hopefully spill over to the last two matches.
Young Quinton de Kock scored his tenth ton in 55 matches, a feat that the great Graeme Smith could only achieve in about a hundred more tests. If he can keep his feet on the ground, I think he will be the new Adam Gilchrist.
My colleague, Bobby Londt, is of the opinion that he may even be the answer to our problems with an opener in the five day version of the game, but it is doubtful whether he should be asked to be both opening batsman and keeper in test matches.
T20 World Series
The side announced for the showdown in India appears to be a well-balanced side, particularly with the inclusion of naughty man Aaron Phangiso, who, being a lefty, provides greater variety in our bowling attack.
Faf du Plessis (c), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock , AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, David Wiese.
The inclusion of David Wiese and Chris Morris as all-rounders is justified, given the untimely injury suffered by Albie Morkel, who is possibly the best on-form option we have. Their experience in the Indian Premier League will now stand them in good stead.
There are also some players who were awarded contracts by Cricket SA who are not in the side, and I am relieved at their exclusion from this group. No names, no pack drill.
Last man standing
Please forgive me if I take a little trip down memory lane here. I can, to this day, recall the delight I took in that dreaded One-Day World Cup in 1999 when the opposition’s jubilation at taking a wicket turned to dread when they saw Lance Klusener (pictured above) amble to the crease. You know you are special when your side does not make the final, yet you are named man of the series.
What we would not give to have a Klusener, Shaun Pollock or Jaques Kallis clone in the side?
Memories aside, I think one should not get over-excited about our prospects – not about the side, but the nature of the twenty-overs-a-side game. There are a number of teams, including the English, who have players who can turn a match on its head.
With so many well balanced contenders for the cup, I am of the opinion that the side who can limit mistakes (read drop catches) as well as runs through great fielding, will stand the best chance.
We are certainly well endowed in this regard, with the likes of AB, Faf, JP being amongst the best in the world.
Add to this our success in India recently, and I will disregard my own advice above and start wearing my little green number again on Fridays.