India ODI Squad for South Africa Series March 2020- First by new Sunil Joshi selection committee

Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have made a comeback to India’s 15 man ODI squad for the South Africa series that was announced earlier today. The trio had missed the recently concluded tour of New Zealand, which the visitors lost 3-0, due to injury.

This is the first Indian squad to be selected by the country’s new selection committee, headed by Sunil Joshi.

What changes have India made from the NZ ODI series for the South Africa games?

Rohit Sharma is injured- he has not fully recovered from the calf injury he suffered during the fifth T20I against New Zealand, but Shikhar Dhawan, as mentioned above, has returned. Mayank Agarwal, who replaced Sharma in NZ, is not part of the 15, with Shubman Gill included in the side.

Also missing out are Kedar Jadhav, Shivam Dube, Mohammed Shami and Shardul Thakur. Shami has been rested as a precautionary measure following his shoulder injury in the second test. Continue reading “India ODI Squad for South Africa Series March 2020- First by new Sunil Joshi selection committee”

Heinrich Klaasen’s first ODI century, ODI debuts for Janneman Malan & Kyle Verreynne on Leap Day & more- Talking Points from Proteas vs Australia Paarl 1st ODI

A fine century from Heinrich Klaasen, the first of his ODI career, helped South Africa stun Australia in the first ODI in Paarl. The Proteas, thrashed in the T20 series, prevailed by 74 runs against Aaron Finch’s men at EuroLux Boland Park.

Here are our talking points from the game.

A maiden ODI century for Heinrich Klaasen: The Titans star has shown plenty of promise, but unfortunately not quite lived up to it after that knock vs India two years ago. However being dropped from South Africa’s World Cup squad seems to have given him a wake-up call, and he played a fine innings here at Boland Park.

Klaasen scored 123* from 114, the only top six batsman on either side to score at over a run a ball, and his 149 run partnership with David Miller was a Proteas record for the fifth wicket against Australia.

De Kock fails, but South Africa win: Since the retirement of AB de Villiers, South Africa’s batting has been fragile and appeared to be overtly dependent on Quinton de Kock. When he fires, they stand a chance of winning, but when he doesn’t, the Proteas crumble like a pack of cards, as it happened in the two sub 100 scores in the T20’s against Australia. Continue reading “Heinrich Klaasen’s first ODI century, ODI debuts for Janneman Malan & Kyle Verreynne on Leap Day & more- Talking Points from Proteas vs Australia Paarl 1st ODI”

England’s first T20 win in Durban, another thriller & more- Talking Points from Proteas vs England Kingsmead 2nd T20

England set up a thrilling finale to their T20 series against South Africa after beating the hosts in Durban. The clash at Kingsmead was similar to the opening one in East London, but it was Eoin Morgan’s men who held their nerve on this occasion and prevailed by two runs. This was England’s first ever T20 international win in Durban after having lost their two previous games at this venue to India and New Zealand during the 2007 World Cup.

Here are our talking points from the clash.

Redemption for Moeen Ali and Tom Curran: The villains of the first game at Buffalo Park ended up being the heroes at Kingsmead. Ali’s stunning 39 off 11 balls allowed England to cross 200 when it appeared that they would just about limp to 170, and Curran held his nerve by defending 3 from the final two balls.

Quinton de Kock excellent: Matching Ali shot for shot was South African skipper Quinton de Kock. Easily the most talented batsman in this Proteas lineup, the SA skipper smashed 65 off 22 to give his side a fine start. The rest of his team mates aren’t quite at his level batting wise, as was evident in the way they struggled after his departure, and it appears that captaincy is doing him no harm.

Should JJ Smuts be batting higher?: Smuts plays in this side because he is also a capable bowler, but wasn’t required to turn his arm over here. His 13 (12) was damaging to the Proteas cause in the middle of the innings and undid all the good work done by De Kock at the top. In his defence, Smuts is an opener and not a middle order batsman, but it appears that South Africa appear to be lacking in power hitters that can smash the ball from the word go. England have plenty of them, but the Proteas don’t.

Dwaine Pretorius nearly pulls it off: Pretorius’ control and change of pace allowed South Africa to choke England in the middle overs (he went 3-0-17-1 when nearly everyone else went for 10 an over), and he nearly pulled off a stunning chase with his 25 (13). It wasn’t quite to be for the Lions all-rounder, but this was an impressive all-round performance from him.

Proteas a batter short?: As mentioned above, South Africa need to re-assess the balance of their side. A player like Pite van Biljon or Marco Marais or even Wihan Lubbe could lend some much needed power hitting to this side. There’s de Kock, and at a lesser level David Miller, but the rest aren’t destructive batsmen- certainly not in the mold of Roy, Buttler, Ali and Bairstow.

Winning start for Quinton de Kock the captain, excellent debut for JJ Smuts, Bavuma impressive- Talking Points from Proteas v England First ODI Newlands 2020

Quinton de Kock’s first game as South Africa’s new ODI skipper saw the Proteas crush world champions England by seven wickets at Newlands. De Kock’s century, his 15th for South Africa, and his 173 run partnership with Temba Bavuma helped the visitors chase down 259 with nearly two and a half overs to spare.

Here are our talking points from the fixture in Cape Town.

Everything goes right for Quinton de Kock: QdK could perhaps not have asked for a better start to his reign as ODI captain. He won the toss, something Faf du Plessis was unable to do in seven tests against England and India, and his decision to bowl first was justified as England were restricted to 258/8. Even his field placements and bowling changes worked a treat as the visitors struggled to build any real sort of momentum.

The Proteas were perhaps a batter short and had a longish tail with Beuran Hendricks scheduled to come in at 8, but de Kock and Bavuma’s impressive knocks ensured that the lower order was not called into action.

JJ Smuts impressive on debut: It was Smuts’ bowling, rather than batting, that probably secured his place in the XI- the Proteas were desperate for a top six batsman that could bowl. He claimed the dangerous looking Jason Roy early in the innings, and finished with 1/43 in his 10 overs.

Smuts’ selection allowed South Africa the luxury of a second spinner on a wicket that was slow, and if he continues in this vein, he might well find himself on the plane to India in three years’ time.

Continue reading “Winning start for Quinton de Kock the captain, excellent debut for JJ Smuts, Bavuma impressive- Talking Points from Proteas v England First ODI Newlands 2020”

Selection blunders, Proteas batsmen again poor and more- Talking points from South Africa vs England Port Elizabeth 2020

England registered their first overseas win by an innings since 2011 Sydney as they comprehensively outplayed South Africa in Port Elizabeth. Tailenders Keshav Maharaj and Dane Paterson frustrated the visitors for a while on the fifth morning, but the end was inevitable and Sam Curran’s run out saw England emerge victors by an innings and 53 runs. Maharaj did equal the record for most runs in an over in test cricket (28) as he took Joe Root to the cleaners, but there was precious little otherwise to cheer for the home fans.

maharaj root 28 run over

Here are our talking points from the clash in PE.

1. Proteas get selection wrong.

It’s the batsmen who have struggled more in recent times, but the Proteas bizarrely opted to strengthen their bowling for this game and dropped batting all rounder Dwaine Pretorius. Even worse, the extra bowler selected- Dane Paterson, toiled hard but was clearly ill-suited to this track. The conditions did not help Vernon Philander either and despite playing five bowlers the Proteas were forced to chase leather as England racked up nearly 500 runs after choosing to bat first.

sa cricket team v england pe 2020

2. South African batsmen continue to struggle

South Africa’s batsmen again came a cropper as England ran through them at St George’s Park. In the first innings, the Proteas lost half their side for 109; in the second innings they were 83/6 at one stage. While England had two centurions in Ollie Pope and Ben Stokes, the highest score from a Proteas top six batsman was 63 from the bat of Quinton De Kock, with none of the others even crossing 40. The fact that the Maharaj/Paterson last wicket partnership was the hosts’ highest of the innings tells a story by itself.

3. England’s youngsters impress

Ben Stokes again proved his worth in the longest format, and he was ably supported by England’s youngsters. The visitors had five players younger then South Africa’s youngest player in KG Rabada and each of the quintet played vital roles- Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley laid the platform upfront, Ollie Pope brought back memories of Ian Bell with a sparkling 135, Sam Curran made a crucial 44 and effected the run out that won England the game and Dom Bess claimed a 5 er in the first innings. If they continue to progress at this level it will only augur well for the side’s future. Continue reading “Selection blunders, Proteas batsmen again poor and more- Talking points from South Africa vs England Port Elizabeth 2020”

Impressive Nortje, Twin Failures for YJB & more- Five Talking Points from Proteas vs England-2019

Mark Boucher’s first game as South Africa coach saw the Proteas beat England by 107 runs at Centurion- a long awaited win after a torrid year for Faf du Plessi’s men. For a brief while, England threatened to do what Sri Lanka had done at Kingsmead earlier this year, but their hopes were dashed after the home side took the second new ball as they lost their last seven wickets for 64 runs.

Here are our talking points from Days 2,3 & 4 at Supersport Park.

1. Impressive Anrich Nortje

Chosen ahead of Beuran Hendricks and Dane Paterson, Nortje justified his selection with a fine all round performance. He took the key wicket of Ben Stokes- arguably England’s best test batsman this year, in the first innings, and then got both Rory Burns and Joe Root in the second innings. He also made a vital 40 as nightwatchman- no Proteas batsman faced more deliveries than him in their second innings, and he was also involved in their biggest partnership of the game (91) with Rassie van der Dussen.

His combination with Kagiso Rabada looks very promising for South Africa and they will be hoping the duo can go from strength to strength.

2. Twin failures for YJB

It was a game to forget for Jonny Bairstow on his return to the England test team. The manner of his dismissals at Centurion will again raise questions about his suitability for the longest version of the game- he was bowled by Anrich Nortje in the first innings and attempted an ill-timed swipe at a swinging, wide delivery from Rabada, only to give a catch to Zubayr Hamza at gully. Continue reading “Impressive Nortje, Twin Failures for YJB & more- Five Talking Points from Proteas vs England-2019”