World Cup

The Proteas have made a statement

South Africa were superb in Sydney. It was one of the best performances by a Proteas team for ten or more years, and for a number of different reasons.

The first was the size and importance of the occasion, which has been a problem for us in the past. This time they rose to it and delivered as a team.

The second was the quality of the bowling and fielding. Many South Africa teams have prided themselves on being hostile with the ball and making life uncomfortable for the batsmen, but very few have done it quite as consistently as the five who bowled in Sydney.

Dale was clearly in a different gear. It is something which happens subconsciously to him, depending on the importance of the match and how much his team needs him.

He is brilliant in every game he plays, but sometimes he goes beyond that.

Morne probably produced his most consistent performance ever. Apart from a couple of no balls, I didn’t see him bowl a bad ball. It was virtually impossible to score against him.

Stunned

I was stunned to watch the great Kumar Sangakkara score just six runs from his first 40 balls, but it was a reflection of how South Africa bowled to him and how few scoring opportunities he had.

Kyle Abbott proved that he is much more than a ‘reserve’, while Immy Tahir collected his second man-of-the-match award.

It amazes me how few people outside South Africa have realised just what a phenomenal ODI record he has over the last 2-3 years.

And what can you say about J-P. Duminy? We encouraged him years ago to take his bowling more seriously and spend time working on it. Now he has a World Cup hat-trick to show for it.

Sri Lanka looked like they were playing ‘scared’ cricket. I recognised it because we have played it a few times ourselves.

No intensity

There was no intensity. Perhaps their players wanted it too much, just as we did, and that leads one to play differently than the way one normally does.

I’m especially sorry for Mahela and Sanga that their careers ended on such a note, but we don’t script our endings. Fairytales can’t be produced on demand.

One match doesn’t remotely taint their amazing careers. They were amongst the finest cricketers, and people, I ever shared a field with. I would have loved to be there but I know I will see them many times in the future to share memories with.

South Africa were on the button from the very first delivery, both with bat and ball.

They set the tone for the match early and summed up the conditions perfectly.

In the case of Quinny de Kock, I have to say: Form is temporary, class is permanent.

Well done to all concerned, the selectors, coach and captain, for sticking with him.

South Africa has made a big statement.

The rest of the teams will have taken note. — Hawkeye / Chivach Sports


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 4:22:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/world-cup/the-proteas-have-made-a-statement/article7016556.ece

Next Story