The return of Dale Steyn, a near century for Janneman Malan & more- Talking Points from Jozi Stars vs Cape Town Blitz MSL 2019

The 2019 edition of the Mzansi Super League kicked off on Friday evening in Johannesburg with a high scoring clash between the Jozi Stars and the Cape Town Blitz. The North-South derby went the way of the Cape side, who beat the defending champions by 15 runs at the Bullring.

Here are our talking points from MSL 2019’s opening game.

Dale Steyn’s still got it: If not for Dale Steyn, the Blitz would’ve probably not won this game. In a match that produced over 400 runs across 40 overs, the veteran pacer finished with stunning figures of 3/25 from his four. His two over spell at the death, taking out the well-set pair of Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen, was key to halting the Stars’ run chase just as it seemed they would coast home.

If he keeps up this form, Steyn may just get a chance to atone for the 2015 and 2019 ODI WC disappointments at next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.

Janneman Malan misses out on a century: Malan could’ve easily scored the first century for MSL 2019, but finished just one agonizing run short on 99* (59). He had an opportunity to get to his 100 on the final ball of the Blitz innings, but was unable to get bat on ball. Cape Town scored only 13 runs off the final two overs, but fortunately for the visitors, it didn’t hurt them in the final analysis.

Should the Stars have promoted Ryan Rickelton?: Did the Stars miss a trick by not promoting Ryan Rickelton up the order, potentially ahead of van der Dussen or even Dan Christian? The 23 year-old southpaw, fresh from a double century for Gauteng against Free State, only got two deliveries to face. The likes of Rickelton and Marques Ackerman are the type of youngsters Proteas fans are hoping will come good in the MSL, but neither of them really got a chance to showcase their wares here- Rickelton had to swing from the word go, and Ackerman didn’t even make the Blitz playing XI. Continue reading “The return of Dale Steyn, a near century for Janneman Malan & more- Talking Points from Jozi Stars vs Cape Town Blitz MSL 2019”

Five Talking Points, Fan Analysis & Player Ratings- India vs South Africa 3rd Test Ranchi 2019

South Africa’s miserable tour of India finished with another massive defeat in Ranchi, the first time in over 80 years that the Proteas have lost successive tests by an innings.

Here are our talking points from the fixture in Ranchi.

Proteas test debuts for Linde and Klaasen: South Africa made as many as five changes for this Ranchi test. Two were injury enforced from Pune- Markram and Maharaj, while Theunis de Bruyn, Vernon Philander and Senuran Muthusamy were also shown the door.

George Linde and Heinrich Klaasen both made their test debuts. While Linde acquitted himself well, with handy knocks in both innings and four wickets in India’s first innings, Klaasen had one to forget, making just 6 and 5 in two outings at the crease.

Given that Rudi Second was originally the reserve wicket keeper on tour and that Kyle Verreynne is churning up some impressive numbers on the domestic circuit, it may be a while before we see Klaasen in tests again.

Both debutants also had the rather unique distinction of batting both their innings (in full) on the same day! Continue reading “Five Talking Points, Fan Analysis & Player Ratings- India vs South Africa 3rd Test Ranchi 2019”

The Theunis de Bruyn conundrum- Should the Proteas persist with TdB ?

Theunis de Bruynโ€™s spot in the South African lineup appears to be under serious threat as the Proteas head to Ranchi for the third and final test against India this weekend. Already 2-0 down in this series, the third test would normally only be of academic interest, but the introduction of the World Test Championship means there are points at stake, and both teams will be taking this as seriously as they did the Vizag and Pune ones.

De Bruynโ€™s case is an interesting one. Hailed as the next AB in South African cricket circles, he had to wait a long time for his debut despite dominating attacks for fun back home. It came two and a half years ago in Hamilton, and in the unfamiliar position of opener. The Titans star had a nightmare debut- out for a duck in the first, and run out in the second innings after a collision with Hashim Amla.

He has been in and out of the side, and only got a serious chance to cement his place in the starting XI after De Villiers retired, which was on the tough tour to Sri Lanka last year. To his credit, a fighting 101 on a turner in Colombo effectively saved his career, but mixed returns against Pakistan in the home summer and now away in India, means that his position is under threat again.

After 11 tests, De Bruyn only averages a measly 18.95. Half of them have been played away from home. Given South Africaโ€™s representational requirements, and the fact that Zubayr Hamza is waiting in the wings, De Bruyn looks like the person most likely to be axed ahead of the home summer.

Continue reading “The Theunis de Bruyn conundrum- Should the Proteas persist with TdB ?”

Another home series Win for India, Woeful Proteas & More- Talking points from India vs South Africa Day 3 & 4 Pune 2019

India completed a comfortable win over South Africa, thrashing the Proteas by an innings and 137 runs and taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three test series.

Here are our talking points from Day 3 & 4 at the MCA Stadium in Pune

India enforce the follow on for the first time ever against South Africa

Some what surprisingly, Indian skipper Virat Kohli opted to enforce the follow on at the beginning of Day 4. Kohli has traditionally been a captain who prefers to give his bowlers a break and does not usually ask the opposition to bat in successive innings.

This was the first time ever that India had enforced the follow on against South Africa. Kohli’s men are also the first to do so against the Proteas since England back in 2008. On that occasion, South Africa managed to come away with a draw at Lord’s thanks to third innings centuries from Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Neil Mckenzie. This set of Proteas batsmen is however far inferior to that batch, and there was to be no repeat of their 2008 great escape.

A record 11th home series win for India

This was the Men in Blue’s 11th straight home series victory, breaking the previous record of 10 held by Australia.

India are becoming neigh unbeatable on home turf- they have lost only one test in the last five years.

Most consecutive series wins at home

India’s seamers shine again.

India’s pacers have improved manifold in Kohli’s reign as captain. Even the likes of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav- initially considered to wayward and unthreatening have become forces to be reckoned with in the last couple of years. South Africa were expected to struggle against spinners but had an equally tough time against the pacers.

India’s fast bowlers have averaged 22 per wicket as compared to South Africa’s 76. Given that they were without ace quick Jasprit Bumrah, those are stunning figures indeed!

Is this the end of Theunis de Bruyn’s test career? Continue reading “Another home series Win for India, Woeful Proteas & More- Talking points from India vs South Africa Day 3 & 4 Pune 2019”

Toss woes for Faf, another record for King Kohli and more-Talking Points from India vs South Africa Second Test Pune (Day 1 & 2) 2019

Here are our talking points from the first two days of the 2nd test between India and South Africa at the MCA Stadium in Pune.

Faf’s toss Woes continue

Given his side’s struggles in Vizag, Faf du Plessis would have been desperate to win the toss in Pune. Unfortunately, The Proteas skipper called incorrectly- making it the 9th consecutive time in Asia that he has lost the toss. Batting first is a massive advantage in these conditions and India’s batsman again made merry, grinding South Africa to dust over two days in the hot Pune sun as they amassed over 600 runs.

More records for King Kohli

Indian skipper Virat Kohli made his seventh double century here, thus breaking the record for the most double centuries by an Indian (6 by Sachin Tendulkar & Virender Sehwag). Kohli also crossed the 7000 run landmark in tests, became the first Indian to hit double centuries against six different nations and also registered his highest individual score in the longest format of the game.

To his credit, Kohli also put the Indian team’s interest above his own. Such was his mastery that he could have easily hit a triple century had he batted for another hour or so. However he sensed that South Africa’s batsman were vulnerable and there for the taking after having spent two long days in the field and chose to declare instead. His bowlers reciprocated the faith and took out three of the Proteas’ top four, leaving the visitors in all kinds of trouble at the end of Day 2.

India line up against South Africa in the second test 2019 Continue reading “Toss woes for Faf, another record for King Kohli and more-Talking Points from India vs South Africa Second Test Pune (Day 1 & 2) 2019”

The Faf leave, Second Innings Shami & More- Talking Points from India vs Proteas First Test Vizag 2019

A fine performance from India’s bowlers saw the hosts complete a resounding 203 run victory over South Africa on the fifth day of the first test in Vizag. The Proteas needed to bat out the whole day, but were unable to produce a redux of Adelaide 2012 or Colombo 2014 as they slumped to a heavy defeat.

Here are our talking points from Day 4 and 5.

A more than decent debut for Senuran Muthusamy: Muthusamy produced a fine performance with the bat, scoring 82 runs across both innings and remaining unbeaten in both. He deserved his maiden half century on Day 5, but was let down by Kagiso Rabada.

While his bowling may not have been as good, the Dolphins star’s resilience and doggedness with the bat will almost certainly earn him another test cap in Pune. He was promoted up the order in the second innings, and looked comfortable against the Indian spinners- far more than some of his team mates up the order.

Muthusamy’s debut means the likes of Dane Piedt, Theunis de Bruyn or even Vernon Philander may be shown the door if the Proteas selectors decide they need changes ahead of the second test.

Second innings Shami strikes again: The Indian pacer lived up to his “second innings Shami” moniker as he tore through the Proteas middle order in the first session. Shami had the trio of Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis and Quinton De Kock- all key players for the visitors, bowled and then returned at the end to take out Dane Piedt and Rabada. A deserved 5fer for the Moradabad bowler.

Second Innings Shami Continue reading “The Faf leave, Second Innings Shami & More- Talking Points from India vs Proteas First Test Vizag 2019”

India vs South Africa Day 2 Match Report 1st Test Visakhapatnam 2019

Mayank Agarwal scored a brilliant maiden test double-century as India strengthened their hold on the Proteas at the end of Day 2 of the opening Test in Vizag on Thursday. Agarwal and Rohit Sharma put on 317 for the first wicket- the third highest ever for India in their history, and the hosts’ spinners reduced South Africa to 39/3 to leave the visitors with an uphill task to save the test. Continue reading “India vs South Africa Day 2 Match Report 1st Test Visakhapatnam 2019”

Talking Points- India vs South Africa First Test Day 1 October 1 2019 Visakhapatnam

Rohit Sharma scored a masterful 115 in his maiden test innings as opener as India dominated Day 1 of the first test at Visakhapatnam. The hosts were at a commanding 202/0 before rain forced early stumps in the eastern coastal city.

Here are our talking points from the day’s proceedings.

A dream start for Rohit Sharma as test opener

India’s decision to open with Sharma was a hugely debated one in the lead up to this series. Many fans felt that the Men in Blue would’ve been better off blooding a younger opener, especially in light of the tough tour of New Zealand early next year.

Sharma is known for his weakness against the moving ball in the longest format of the game, and hadn’t exactly helped his cause with a two ball duck in the warm up game against the Proteas.

Today, he survived a probing opening spell from Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada, with the former in particular causing him all sorts of trouble. To his credit, Sharma survived, and then cashed in against the spinners. Indian skipper Virat Kohli had said that they were looking for a Sehwag-like impact from Sharma and the Mumbai Indians star certainly delivered on that front today, with 5 sixes and 12 fours in his unbeaten 115.

India's Playing XI vs South Africa-2019

This is the first double century stand against South Africa in over a decade- the last pair to do so were Sehwag and Wasim Jaffer back in 2008.

South Africa’s decision to play 3 spinners backfires

Somewhat surprisingly, South Africa opted to play three spinners and gave young Dolphin’s all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy his debut. India on the other hand, opted to go in with only two spinners- Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja.

Proteas line up against India-2019

Between them, Muthusamy and Dane Piedt bowled only 12 of South Africa’s 59 overs and conceded 66 runs. They not only failed to pick up any wickets but were also unsuccessful in stemming the flow of runs. Keshav Maharaj toiled hard from one end, but didn’t get the support he needed from the other. Would the Proteas have been better served by taking a third pace option in the form of Lungi Ngidi or Anrich Nortje? Continue reading “Talking Points- India vs South Africa First Test Day 1 October 1 2019 Visakhapatnam”

Five Talking Points- India Women vs South Africa Women 4th T20 October 1 2019 Surat

A disappointing performance from South Africa’s Women saw them slump to a 51 run defeat in the fourth T20 international at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium. With the Proteas having also lost the first T20, this result sees India clinch the five game series 2-0.

Here are our talking points from the game.

Dropped catches galore from South Africa: The Proteas Women were their own worst enemies in the field. Lara Goodall, Nadine de Klerk and Ayabonga Khaka dropped three skiers between them in the first four overs. Smriti Mandhana was given FOUR lives before eventually falling for 13.

Had the fielding been good, the visitors would’ve certainly have been chasing a more achievable total rather than the steep 141 they had to in the end.

Proteas Women vs India Women Fourth T-20 2019

Young Shafali Varma comes good: One of the recipients of the Proteas’ generosity on the field was teenager Shafali Verma. Out for a duck in the first T20, she could’ve again been dismissed cheaply had Goodall held on to an easy catch at mid wicket. Verma’s powerful 46 off 33, studded with five fours and two sixes, was a key reason for India getting a match winning score.

Proteas Women disappointing with the bat: Five of India’s six batsmen all struck at over a run a ball- none of the Proteas managed to do so. Tazmin Brits and Laura Wolvaardt were the only players to cross double digits, and the visitors were never really in the chase, only mustering a feeble 89/7 in response to India’s 140/4. A 51 run defeat, by T20 standards, is a massive one, and South Africa were thoroughly outplayed here. Continue reading “Five Talking Points- India Women vs South Africa Women 4th T20 October 1 2019 Surat”

India vs South Africa Third T-20 Match Report September 22 2019- Bengaluru

South African skipper Quinton de Kock led from the front with an unbeaten 79 as the Proteas comfortably defeated India by nine wickets in Bengaluru to level the series 1-1 on Sunday.

The home side went in with an unchanged line up, while the visitors included Beuran Hendricks in place of the injured Anrich Nortje.

Like he had in Mohali, Indian skipper Virat Kohli again won the toss, but this time surprised one and all by opting to bat first. The Chinnaswamy has a reputation of being a chasing ground and India’s win percentage in T20 internationals drops to below 50% while batting first (as opposed to a near 75% win percentage while chasing). Kohli said at the toss that it was an attempt to test his bowlers ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia.

The opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma put on a quickfire 22 run opening stand before Beuran Hendricks drew first blood, with Rohit caught at slip by Reeza Hendricks. The left armer pacer has a fine record against Rohit in T20’s- 3 dismissals in 4 deliveries across 3 innings Continue reading “India vs South Africa Third T-20 Match Report September 22 2019- Bengaluru”