South African skipper Graeme Smith and his “merry men” were toasted by his country’s media on Wednesday after a blitz on the England team saw them burst into the cricket World Cup semifinals.
A day after being lambasted for partying into the wee hours of the morning following a woeful loss to New Zealand on Saturday, South Africa’s press said the Proteas deserved a few drinks after their emphatic nine-wicket victory.
“Proteas drunk with success. Smith’s merry men make it to semis as last round is called,” read the front page headline of the Star newspaper. The Beeld newspaper quipped that Smith had served the English team their final drink. “If this is how the South Africans play cricket after partying, they can do so after every match,” Beeld said.
While reports of a drinking binge by the Proteas — who have had a few wobbly performances in the world tournament — had triggered heavy criticism, forgiveness was quick as a World Cup win came back into the team’s sights.
A “sobering” thought indeed, said the Star. “There would have been scores of supporters lining up to buy the South African team a drink last night,” read the newspaper. “After all the criticism they’ve endured, they would have surely raised a glass or three to their victory over England in Barbados yesterday — and who would deny them that?”
The English team faced an unstoppable onslaught at Kensington Oval Tuesday, as fast bowler Andrew Hall took what the Citizen newspaper termed a “Five-wicket Hall”, and South Africa surpassed England’s paltry 154 total with more than 30 overs to spare.
As one South African commentator quipped during the match, the only thing England won was the toss. Their decision to go in and bat first on the lively Caribbean pitch, which Hall said was very similar to South African conditions, was said to have backfired horribly.
The South African media, which had played up rivalry between skipper Smith and England’s South Africa-born batsman Kevin Pietersen did not let Smith’s small victory — catching Pietersen on three runs — go unmentioned.
“For a change, Smith won the war of words as well,” said the Beeld newspaper. Beeld said the time had come for the Proteas to settle the score with Australia who had an easy victory over them during the first round in St Kitts.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2007 and is filed under Cricket, World Cup.
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