The last time the Proteas came back from the land of the long white cloud in 2003 /2004 it was with a taste of bitterness and humiliation as they drew the test series one all and lost the ODI’s 5 -1. The touring group felt the need to rectify this from a South African perspective.
The tour started very “lippy” from the Black Caps but Kirsten & co were determined to make cricket do the talking. And boy, did they just! The eventual result was the trophies of all three formats: T20, ODIs and the test series.
Although disappointingly the last test was drawn, the Proteas might feel that they let a test win slip through their fingers as a few catches were grassed (dropped) , despite the efforts of Morkel who was the chief destroyer in that last innings!
In my opinion, the rain saved the Black Caps from a 3 nil series drubbing but let’s not get too greedy – the tour was a massive success and the squad seems more complete then I can ever recall. It has become a team game in every sense – no massive reliance on one particular player as it was a few years ago. The Proteas can afford to rest King Kallis if it needed to; Smith has several options to turn to if he needs a wicket where it used to be just Steyn. Long may this healthy balance continue. Bring on England!
Highlights of the Tour:
Individual (remarkable) performance:
• Richard Levi 117 from 51 balls (2nd T20 Hamilton)
• Morne Morkel: 6 wickets for 23 runs –3rd and final test
• Most Runs – Graeme Smith: 282 at an average of 56.4
• Most wickets – Vernon Philander: 21 wickets at an average of 15.47 runs per wicket.
The last man standing – By Paul
This weekend sees some fearsome clashes looming for all the SA sides.
First up is the Hurricanes/Cheetahs encounter, which most pundits would have rated as of no serious merit at the start of the season. Both teams stand to gain substantially from winning, or at least scoring a bonus point or two. The ‘Canes have won three of their five encounters, the Cheetahs only one. Sport24 reports though that the latter only played one home game this season, yet accumulated six league points on their overseas commitments, which is equal to the record they set last year. With seven home games looming after the tour, they will want to set a beter base than their current spot on the log, third last. Let’s hope they play to their potential and pull off a big one.
The Sharks take on Jake White and the Brumbies. White has really worked wonders in the short time there, and will no doubt draw on his knowledge and experience of the SA side, to make his plans. Luckily most of those whom he trained as Bok coach, like John Smit and Tommy Bedford (!) are no longer there, but it is something John Plumtree will have to consider in his preparation. There is no reason why the Sharks cannot get five points out of this game, and I will be doubly disappointed if the don’t, especially after last week’s lapse.
The Lions can take heart from the way the Cheetahs nearly pulled off a big surprise against the Crusaders last week. At altitude, and jet lagged, the elements are certainly in favour of the Lions. A lot will depend on how quickly their recovered injured players can be brought into the practice session. Delaying the naming of the team till Friday, indicates that they want to get as many of their name players into the side. This could be a mistake, as the Lions rely on team work, rather than individual brilliance.
Few will disagree that the main clash this weekend will be at Newlands. The first surprise was the announcement that the visitors will don their pink numbers for the occasion.
Manie comments on this below, so let me stick to the game. In my experience, the Bulls are never more dangerous than when they are able to form a lager against the total onslaught. Typically, when they convince themselves that the country as a whole supports their opponents, like the Cheetahs, for instance, then they get really psyched up. Please do not misunderstand me – there is nothing wrong with using what works for you, and their record proves just how effective they have been over the years.
Looking at the two teams objectively, and from an experience perspective, the Bulls should win. The five Springboks in their pack should out muscle the promising youngsters in the Cape side, while the backs are very evenly balanced. The pundits predict a close game, with a 3 to 6 points difference.
I disagree. This is going to be a game in which the confidence of both sides will be tested. The one that comes second in this department will lose the game by a bigger margin.
Whatever you do: do not miss the opening fifteen minutes.
Manie Maanse se Manewales
Die ou sê hy is maar bly hy speel nie Saterdag nie. Wat sou sy pappie nie sê as hy hoor Maans speel met seuns in pienk nie? Selfs die borge, Puma, is “in denial” en probeer die publiek wysmaak dat dit pers truie is, soortgelyk aan die kleur van Jakarandas. Maans sê hy het al pers Jakarandas sy motor se verf sien vlek, maar pienk? Nie waar hy in Pretoria gebly het nie.
En dat Wynie Strydom nou ook in die spervuur van hierdie sakie betrek word. Dis die eerste keer in jare en nou word hy as segsman gebruik om te verduidelik hoekom die Cheetahs game as tuiswedstryd beskou is, maar die Stormers as wegwedstryd.
Ou Manie gaan kyk of die Bulls nie dalk ook daai Huggies broekies van die Sewes span gaan gebruik tydens hul voorbereiding nie. Is mos hoeka trainers, of wat praat die ou alles?
Daar is diegene wat wil weet of die feit dat Kaapstad bekend staan as die land se gay hoofstad dalk iets met die besluit te make het. Ander vermoed weer sommige manne is so haastig om by die Pienk Loerie fees in Knysna te kom, dat hulle sommer direk na die game vertrek, klaar ge-tog vir die okkasie.
Sterk staan, ou Grote, dit gaan ’n taaie wees.