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”

Talking Points- India vs South Africa 2nd T20 September 18 2019 Mohali

India started their home season with a comfortable seven wicket win as they brushed aside South Africa by seven wickets in Mohali. Here are our talking points from the game.

Another Virat Kohli masterclass:The only player to average over 50 in all three formats of the game, Kohli produced another chasing masterclass as India went 1-0 up in the series. He ensured that the hosts always remained ahead of the asking rate, and his 52 ball 72 was studded with some fine shots- none better than the flicked six off Kagiso Rabada towards the end of the chase.

Virat Kohli Average over 50 + in all 3 formats

He also took a fine diving catch to dismiss his opposite number Quinton de Kock just as the latter was beginning to look dangerous. Kohli was off the field in the final stages of South Africa’s innings with an apparent back problem- the only way the Proteas might have made a match of it was if he didn’t recover in time to take the crease. But he did, and once he got into his stride, the outcome was inevitable.

Temba Bavuma’s T20 debut: South Africa handed a T20 debut to Temba Bavuma and the gritty batsman made a pretty decent fist of it- scoring 49 off 43. However numbers don’t quite tell the exact story- Bavuma was 42 (31) at the end of the 14th over, and his struggles at the death meant South Africa couldn’t quite tee off. They managed only 16 runs between overs 16-19, and only got to 149 thanks to two sixes in the last four balls from Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius.

Bavuma is a decent batsman, but South Africa possess too many similar players – several who can strike at a little over a 100, but take their time to get in. If they don’t convert (like Kohli did today), it doesn’t exactly help the team’s cause. Someone like Shreyas Iyer, with his ability to strike from the word go, would walk into this Proteas T20 side comfortably. Continue reading “Talking Points- India vs South Africa 2nd T20 September 18 2019 Mohali”

Talking Points- India A vs South Africa A 1st Test in Thiruvananthapuram September 2019

South Africa A’s struggles on their tour of India continued as they were comfortably beaten by the hosts in the first test between the two sides in Thiruvananthapuram. A change in personnel from the ODI’s didn’t really help the Proteas’ cause as they were outplayed in all three facets of the game. We take a look at our talking points from the fixture.

Worrying times for Aiden Markram: Markram, the A side’s captain, and the likely partner for Dean Elgar when the official senior test series begins, made only 0 and 4 in this game. He struggled badly on South Africa’s last tour to Sri Lanka, and long-suffering Proteas fans will be hoping that this India tour doesn’t go the same way for him as it did for Stiaan van Zyl four years ago. Fortunately for Markram, he’s a more natural opener than Van Zyl, and there aren’t too many contenders knocking on the door in domestic cricket back home.

South Africa’s batsmen fail again: It wasn’t just Markram, but the likes of Pieter Malan, Khaya Zondo and co. also came a cropper. Across both innings, no Proteas batsman managed to make a single half century. The highest score came from the bat of Titans keeper Heinrich Klaasen (48)- a man who has seen his international career stall over the last eighteen months or so. Batting has been a serious issue for the Proteas for the best part of this decade, and more so after the retirement of AB de Villiers. The Proteas batting was a key component of their unprecedented success between 2006 and 2014- there doesn’t seem to be anyone in the class of De Villiers, Kallis or Amla coming up the ranks.

No Anrich Nortje in the SA XI and Muthusamy underbowled: Anrich Nortje has a strong case to be in the Proteas test side next month, given that Vernon Philander doesn’t quite have the pace required for Indian conditions and Lungi Ngidi tends to struggle with heavy workloads. Nortje wasn’t even in the squad for this game, and all rounder Senuran Muthusamy, who has been talked of as a potential third spinner option for the test side, bowled just a handful of overs.

Jalaj Saxena makes his mark: Saxena stamped his authority on this game- his 61 in the first innings bailed India out after they were in a spot of bother at 199/7, and also took two wickets in the second innings.

South Africa (164 and 186) lost to India (303 and 49/3) by seven wickets.

India Test Squad for South Africa Series Announced- Shubman Gill in, Rohit to open?

India have today (September 12, 2019) officially announced their test squad for their upcoming home series against South Africa.

After a mediocre performance with the bat in the recently concluded series against the West Indies, Karnataka batsman KL Rahul has been axed, with the the selectors opting to bring in young Shubhman Gill into the squad. Gill captained India A in their recent test against South Africa A in Trivandrum, a game that was comfortably won by the home side. The India U19 star opened the batting in this fixture, and scored a masterful 90 in the first innings- the highest score by an individual player across both teams in this test.

As suggested by previous media reports, the selectors have also given Rohit Sharma another chance at resurrecting his test career- this time as an opener. The MI skipper is expected to partner Mayank Agarwal at the top Continue reading “India Test Squad for South Africa Series Announced- Shubman Gill in, Rohit to open?”

India T20 Squad for South Africa Series Announced- Hardik Pandya back, but no MS Dhoni

India have officially announced their squad for the three T20 internationals against South Africa next month at home.

The three fixtures will be played at Dharamshala, Mohali and Bengaluru on 15, 18 and 22 September respectively, following which the two sides will lock horns in a three-test series beginning October 2.

The Indian selectors have opted for continuity, opting to keep faith with the squad that did the job against the West Indies in the Caribbean. There is only one change- all rounder Hardik Pandya returns, with pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar making away for the MI star.

Somewhat surprisingly, there is no place for either Kuldeep Yadav or Yuzvendra Chahal, with the selectors choosing to again back the trio of Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar in the spin department.

Former Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni continues to be sidelined from the squad, with the Men in Blue looking to give rookie keeper Rishabh Pant as many opportunities as possible behind the wickets ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.

India T20 Squad vs South Africa 2019 Continue reading “India T20 Squad for South Africa Series Announced- Hardik Pandya back, but no MS Dhoni”

End of an era- Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn retire from cricket

It’s officially the end of an era. With the retirements of Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla, all members of the South African side who scripted that famous series victory Down Under against Australia in 2008 have called it a day.

That Proteas team was also the first one since readmission to beat Australia in Australia, and they didn’t lose a single away test series between 2007 and 2015- quite an amazing statistic given the variety of conditions that prevail in test cricket today. Amla and Steyn were both key members of that squad as was AB de Villiers, who also hung up his international boots last year. Interestingly, the trio were the 295th, 296th and 297th players for South Africa and made their debuts in the same year- will the Proteas ever have a more impactful troika of players in the future? Continue reading “End of an era- Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn retire from cricket”

Fan Analysis & Talking Points from Australia vs South Africa & India vs Sri Lanka

The group stage of the World Cup came to a conclusion earlier today, with India taking on Sri Lanka at Headingley in the day fixture and Australia squaring off against South Africa in the D/N clash at Old Trafford. Let’s take a look at our talking points from the day’s action.

South Africa’s batting finally clicks, and sends Australia to Birmingham for their semi-finak

South Africa vs Australia as a World Cup clash brings back memories of that great game between the two sides back in the 1999 edition of the tournament.

The Proteas have been one of this tournament’s biggest disappointments, but with nothing to lose, they turned the tables on Australia at Old Trafford with a fantastic batting display. For the first time in this tournament, they got off to a flying start with the bat after winning the toss. With Hashim Amla out injured, Aiden Markram was asked to open the batting with Quinton de Kock, and the flurry of fours at the beginning of the South African innings forced opposition skipper Aaron Finch to turn to spinner Nathan Lyon as early as the 6th over of the game.

Markram and De Kock both departed before the 20th over, but the foundation had been set, and it allowed Rassie van der Dussen, traditionally a bit of a slow starter, time to get himself in. He was 5 (25) before going on to smash 95 in 97. Faf du Plessis scored the Proteas’ first century of the tournament, and South Africa were able to set Australia an imposing 326 to win, which proved to be 10 too many for Justin Langer’s men at the end.

How South Africa would’ve loved the tournament to begin today instead of the 40 odd days before that it did!

And in sending Australia to Edgbaston, a ground known to favour England historically, they might have sounded the death knell for their great opponents’ hopes of defending their crown. Edgbaston was also the venue for that SA-Aus 1999 semi-final that began Australia’s dominance over the 50 over format.

CWC table after group stages of World Cup-2019

Rohit Sharma writes himself into the history books

With a hundred against Sri Lanka, Sharma not only took India to the top of the table, but also broke the record for most centuries in a single World Cup. In the absence of the injured Shikhar Dhawan, Sharma has taken on added responsibility and handled it with aplomb.

He’s also not too far away from Sachin Tendulkar’s record for most runs (673) at a single World Cup. And the way he’s been going, few would bet against him achieving that record as well!

South Africa’s fielding sees them stave off a spirited Australian comeback

There were three great pieces of South African fielding today at Old Trafford- first the run out effected by De Kock to dismiss Marcus Stoinis (one which even MS Dhoni would’ve been proud of), the second a leaping catch, again by De Kock, to dismiss Glenn Maxwell, and the third a stunner from Chris Morris to take out David Warner just as Carey and he were beginning to take the game away from the Proteas.

They had a few lapses in the field- most notably in the form of missed run outs, but this was a far superior effort in terms of catching, and it helped them end their tournament on a high.

Alex Carey the unsung hero for Australia at CWC 2019

With a first class average of 29, few would’ve expected Alex Carey to have the impact he’s had on this tournament. The wicket keeper nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat here, and may be promoted to No.5 in their semi-final against England, given the stunning form he’s been in.

A few alarm bells for Australia?

Australia still remain formidable opponents, as evinced by their never say die attitude during the chase that saw them score nearly 200 in their last 25 overs despite having effectively lost half their side.

However they appear to be in a bit of disarray- Shaun Marsh has already been sent home injured, Usman Khawaja’s tournament looks over after a hamstring issue, Marcus Stoinis had a side strain and even Mitch Starc needed the physio to attend to his knee. At this rate, Marsh Jr and Peter Handscomb may need to make their first appearance of the tournament in the cauldron of a World Cup a semi-final against the hosts at the “Bear Pit”

Not quite panic stations for Australia yet, but England will fancy their chances to advance to the final. Even Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis said he expected the hosts to meet India in the decider at Lord’s in a week’s time, when quizzed about it by Mark Nicholas at the post-match presentation.

The semi-finals will be India vs New Zealand and England vs Australia- same as the first WC warm-up fixtures for these four sides played on May 25.

Can South Africa qualify for the World Cup semifinals? A look at the Proteas chances

Can the Proteas still qualify for the Cricket World Cup semifinals? Despite their dreadful start to the tournament, South Africa, as it stands, are still in with a chance. Ahead of today’s clash against Pakistan at Lord’s, we take a look at the best (and most likely route!) for the Proteas to make it to the last four of the tournament.

Table after June 22 Games

World Cup Standings after 22 June 2019 Games

Games left for Proteas & major competitors

Proteas (3 points from 6 games)– Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia

England (8 points from 6 games)- Australia, India, New Zealand

Sri Lanka (6 points from 6 games)– South Africa, West Indies, India

Bangladesh (5 points from 6 games)– Afghanistan, India, Pakistan

West Indies (3 points from 6 games)– India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan

Pakistan (3 points from 5 games)– South Africa, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Bangladesh

How can South Africa still qualify for the CWC semis?

The Proteas must win all three of their games, which will take them to 9 points.

They need England to lose all three of their remaining games- England haven’t won against Australia, India and NZ in group play at the World Cup since 1992. England will then finish on 8.

They also need Sri Lanka to win only one of their three games. Given that SL should beat the Windies, that means India have to beat Sri Lanka.

If the Windies beat Sri Lanka, they (WI) need to lose to India. Given the Indian game is before the SL one, the Windies might be out of the tournament by then, which is why we think Sri Lanka would beat the Men in Maroon.

They also need Bangladesh to win only one game. If Bangladesh win two, it could come to net run rate (and they could improve theirs against Afghanistan), which means the Proteas would want India and Pakistan to beat Bangladesh.

In an ideal world, for the Proteas, Pakistan would lose to New Zealand but beat Bangladesh. If the Proteas beat Pakistan, but the latter win their remaining three, it could come to net run rate- Pakistan have a terrible current NRR (-1.933), but they do have a game in hand against Afghanistan.

In such a scenario, the Proteas will finish on 9 points, and all their challengers below them (England 8, Sri Lanka 8, Bangladesh and Pakistan 7 each)

Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- South Africa vs New Zealand World Cup 2019

New Zealand took a massive step towards the semi-finals as they beat South Africa in a final over thriller that all but ended the latter’s slim chances of making it to the last four. Here are our talking points from the game at Edgbaston, which was also the venue for that epic SF involving the Proteas two decades ago!

The Williamson dismissal that wasn’t reviewed

In Imran Tahir’s last over, with New Zealand at 173/5 in the 38th over, Kane Williamson was beaten as he attempted to glide the ball. Tahir had half an appeal on his lips, as he always does, but more importantly, Proteas keeper Quinton de Kock did not appeal. Replays showed that Williamson had edged the ball and if South Africa had opted for DRS, they would’ve had the Kiwi skipper out at a crucial period in the game.

The Proteas missed more chances (run-outs and dropped catches among them), but this is the one they’ll rue the most. Faf du Plessis did not enjoy the luck of his his Australian counterpart Aaron Finch, whose last second DRS review got rid of Wahab Riaz at a crucial stage in their game against Pakistan. In fact, Du Plessis wasn’t even aware that Williamson would’ve been out until Pommie Mbangwa told him in the post match presentation!

Kane Williamson Edge off Tahir World Cup 2019

Andile Phehlukwayo chooses the wrong time to have an off day

Over the last couple of seasons, Andile Phehlukwayo has been one of South Africa’s most consistent performers in this format and has rightly established himself as the Proteas No.1 all rounder. Unfortunately the Dolphins star had a bad day at the office- a five ball duck and 1/73 in 8.3 on a day when all his fellow bowlers went for under 5 an over.

Did Du Plessis err by not giving Aiden Markram a bowl?

Andile Phehlukwayo didn’t have a great day with the ball, but despite knowing Colin de Grandhomme’s struggles against spin, Faf du Plessis choose not to go to Aiden Markram for an over or two in the middle. De Grandhomme was cautious against Imran Tahir, and it would’ve been interesting to see him take on Markram with the run rate steadily rising. Perhaps a day when Du Plessis needed JP Duminy in the side- clearly didn’t feel confident enough to ask Markram to roll his arm over despite Phehlukwayo’s struggles. Continue reading “Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- South Africa vs New Zealand World Cup 2019”

Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- South Africa vs India World Cup 2019

India’s recent dominance over South Africa in ICC events continued as Virat Kohli’s men opened their World Cup campaign with a six wicket win at the Rose Bowl. Here are our talking points from the game.

Proteas fail to win the small moments

When you have only 228 to defend and your bowling ranks are depleted due to injury, you need to take EVERY chance that comes your way. Unfortunately for the Proteas, skipper Faf du Plessis dropped Rohit Sharma in the third over of the game when the Indian opener was just on 1. It wasn’t a straightforward catch, but not an entirely difficult one either. The drop went on to cost 121 runs as Sharma scored a fine century to take India home in a tough chase. There were a few other “what if moments” too- the ball dropping just in front of Amla at slip after Chris Morris had drawn an edge off Rohit, and David Miller dropping an absolute dolly in the 44th over.

Chris Morris delivers an inspired performance

On paper, Chris Morris has all the ingredients to be one of the world’s best all-rounders. Unfortunately for South Africa, that promise hasn’t quite translated into success on the pitch, with Morris guilty of being very inconsistent. Today though was one of his best ever performances in a Proteas jersey- top scoring with 42 (the only one to score at over a run a ball for South Africa), and then producing a fine 10-3-36-1 spell with the ball. Morris wasn’t in the selectors’ WC plans over the last year, but got into the squad as an injury replacement. If this version of Tipo turns up more frequently, he will have no problems holding down a first team spot.

South Africa’s spinners fail to have the same impact as India’s

Having lost both Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi to injury, South Africa opted to go with two spinners at the Rose Bowl in the form of Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi. Both failed to deliver- Tahir finished with 0/58 in his 10, while Shamsi was also wicketless, going for 54 in his 9. In a game where South Africa needed them to strangulate India in the middle overs after Rabada, Morris and Phehlukwayo had put the Men in Blue on the back foot in the opening stages, their performances were disappointing.

By comparison, India’s spinners took five wickets between them and consistently broke partnerships just as they were beginning to look dangerous, robbing the Proteas of much needed momentum. Yuzvendra Chahal for instance, broke both the Faf-Rassie and Miller-Phehlukwayo partnerships, and finished with four wickets.

South Africa Line up vs India-2019 Continue reading “Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- South Africa vs India World Cup 2019”