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    April 26, 2007

    Capitulation - Outplayed and out-psyched

    I commented over on Will's site during the first devastating and match winning 10 overs of the Aus v SA semi-final, that I haven't enjoyed watching a one day match this much since 1999 - yep, that other semi-final.

    Contrasting means, to the same end though. Many people say "we want good close, exciting matches". They must be supporters of other sides! When it's your side playing, I don't care how much they win by, and just quietly when it's South Africa you're thumping - I say bring it on! I'd rather that than a tie any day.

    I sat down to take in this game thinking I wouldn't be able to stay up late enough into the night (with work the next day) to see anything too decisive. Especially when South Africa won what everyone thought would be potentially a match winning toss - I figured they'd post some sort of reasonable total and Australia would struggle. I honestly thought, based on what Botham and other commentators were saying, that 250 odd would be too much for the Aussie's to chase down, under pressure, late on a dieing wicket.

    Well the wicket never got a chance to die, and by the time I was forced to retire to bed, the matched seemed fairly safe. Thanks mainly to a mind melt down by captain Graeme Smith, who seemed to think he was Matty Hayden, walking down the track - twice - missing both, the first nearly an edge and second taking off stump, then disintergration by Kallis, who was completely sucked in by the Aussie's talk. Kallis fell hook, line and sinker for the talk about "letting him occupy the crease and take up valulable deliveries", managing to strike one nice four then being cleaned up by a regulation, full pitched McGrath ball, while Kallis was stretching across from somewhere over on the leg side? Mind boggling! Even Andre Nell was seen to be shaking his head - no doubt because bowling to the looming low total was never going to leave him much room for sledging.

    McGrath, who many believed shouldn't go on this tour, moved to front runner for taking out the player of the series. No-one will write him of now, even when he's been out of the game for 10 years! He cleaned up Kallis, was lucky when Prince chased what, had it not been for his thick outside edge would've been a side, then, possibly the most important one of all - Boucher - so often a lower order thorn in the side of the opposition, was dismissed by a ripper, moving away, taking the edged and finished off by big Matty Hayden. At 5 for 27, SA got another let off with Gibbs given not out, from what seemd like a fairly obvious inside edge. 6 for 27 would've seen a total around 50 I believe, as it was they only managed to limp to 149.

    Australia cruised passed, the one concern - Gilchrist again failing. Surely now, he'll make up for everything with a classic Gilly ton in Glenn McGrath's fair well performance, a World Cup Final which could be a "three-peat" for the Aussies.

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    Thus spake Stuart Helwig @ 8:22 AM |
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    2 sledge(s):

    I really don't know what was going through our (SA) batsmen's heads, if anything. I just don't think we know how to read a situation well and I feel this is particularly emphasised by Kallis' performance since that first group stage match against Australia. He was slammed in the media etc for his slow batting when he had to go at 7.4 an over and didn't. Then since the Sri Lanka match when I think our slow batting almost undid us, he has tried to smack balls around all over the place with varying degrees of success. He did not have to go out the way he did in the Bangladesh game, we were only chasing 5 an over and yesterday we were trying to SET a score not chase 400. He does not seem to understand that he was critised for batting slowly when it was required to keep up with a huge run rate. We need Kallis he is our best batman by far, but he must read a situation and play accordingly, he has all the talent I believe to play accordingly in any situation. Smith on the other hand I think has to learn that he can't out bully the Australians. He tried in Australia by getting into a war of words with the aussies in the media and it backfired severely, and him trying to dominate them again yesterday failed the way it did down under. Re the Australia tour, I remember him saying that you have apply pressure on them or they eat you alive, but they did anyway, they bank on his unfounded arrogance, its what gets them his wicket! The plus side of this fiasco however is that finally we are going to invest in a spinner!! I don't think Smith knows how to captain them personally judging from his over defensive field settings when playing Peterson (what spinner has ever been successful without any catching fielders around the bat etc!!?) but maybe they will pack him off to India too to get coached on how to deal with them. I was listening to a radio show the other day and someone called in saying the only problem with us winning the world cup is that everyone will then be perfectly satisfied with our bowling attack and forget about the spinners and variety we need - well at least that won't happen now!! Here's hoping Sri Lanka do something special Saturday...

    By Blogger Francesca (27-Apr-2007, 2:40:00 AM)  

    Exactly. The problem with Kallis is that he doesn't play according to the situation at all (See these incidents - World Cup v Aus, test v Aus and ODI v Ind)

    I don't think South Africa are going to invest in a spinner. There's no specific reason why, but I just dont think they'll put in any effort!

    By Blogger Jagadish (27-Apr-2007, 8:59:00 PM)  

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