South Africa produced an ominously clinical performance to send Scotland packing in the ICC World Twenty20, beating them by the second highest margin in this format of 130 runs. AB de Villiers cracked a classy and authoritative 79 from just 34 in South Africa’s 211 for 5, the highest total of the tournament so far, before Dale Steyn and Johan Botha tore through Scotland who were rolled for 81, the seventh-lowest Twenty20 total.
This was a champion performance from one of the tournament favourites. Unlike England, who were out-thought and out-played by Netherlands in the opening match, South Africa asserted themselves from the outset to lay bare Scotland’s technical flaws, not to mention their lack of experience.
Chasing a daunting 212, Scotland were reduced to a hopeless 50 for 6 at the halfway point. Steyn knocked over Ryan Watson and Colin Smith (his second first-ball duck in as many days) while Wayne Parnell removed Gavin Hamilton, who decided to open the innings. Steyn rarely reached his top pace, but he needn’t have: he was quick and menacing enough to sound a warning to the other teams in the tournament. Kyle Coetzer briefly stood in South Africa’s way, the only Scotland batsman to take them on, smiting Albie Morkel over long-on for two sizeable sixes to give a hearty and patriotic crowd something to cheer, but these were the last desperate runs of an innings already terminated.
Coetzer’s 31-ball 42 crowned an impressive personal display from him, following his outstanding catch in South Africa’s innings to dismiss Mark Boucher. Before that, however, Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis ensured South Africa got off to a flying start. Kallis was first to open his shoulders, thumping the wayward Callum MacLeod through extra cover before flicking him fine for four more. He took to Jan Stander - who had a howler of a tournament - with greed, flaying him over backward point; flicking a stray to fine-leg before square cutting twice more past point. South Africa, unlike England who stuttered so aimlessly two days ago, were not going to let an Associate side get the better of them.
Scotland were urged to improve their fielding by the captain, Hamilton, yesterday, but he himself was twice at fault with a couple of mucky indiscretions, and overall, his side’s fielding occasionally verged on the comical. Scotland are nothing if not fighters, however, and they fought back impressively with three wickets. Majid Haq, a canny and underrated offspinner, induced a thick inside edge to a slog-sweep from Kallis to end his innings on 48. Smith, too, attempted a similar shot three balls later but top-edged it to the wicketkeeper. Ryan Watson was then brought on and a lovely piece of flight accounted for Herschelle Gibbs, who was just beginning to look ominous.
And then de Villiers took over with relish. Initially favouring an orthodox approach with a selection of elegant, classy drives, he then scorched Haq for a flat fix over long-on before opening himself up to Glenn Rogers’ slow-left-arm spin, cover-driving him with wonderful flare and elegance. With five overs to go, the manic final flurry was instigated and Watson was treated with pure disdain, carted over midwicket for a crowd-pleasing six.
His and Morkel’s fifty partnership came from 18 balls and, though Morkel fell for 24, de Villiers powered onwards to bring up a 25-ball fifty with his fifth boundary down the ground as an increasingly overawed MacLeod was clattered to all parts. This mercilessness is how to deal with Associates, England.
The moment of the day, however, belonged to Scotland. Boucher, on two, nailed Gordon Drummond over the top but Coezter was lurking at long-on, practically treading on the boundary, and with a trampoline leap he leapt high and stretched his right hand, swivelling in the process, to cling onto an extraordinarily athletic chance which rightfully received a standing ovation. It was Scotland’s only high point.
South Africa wrapped things up in the 16th over with each facet of their game looking polished and their attitude ruthless, but far sterner tests lie ahead in the coming days.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Monday, June 8th, 2009 and is filed under Cricket, General.
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