Thanks for the entertainment

HARARE - A good game of One Day International cricket was desperately wanted by the crowd who went to watch yesterday’s encounter between South Africa and Australia, and that was exactly what they got.

The pitch was a tad greener than the low, slow and dry pitches Zimbabwe had been playing their matches on, and it provided much more entertainment as well.

At first glance, thoughts were that the team bowling first would have got the usual Harare Sports Club assistance seamers used to get in the first hour of play, but it was not to be.

The Australians showed wonderful intent as they always do, and forced both Dale Steyn and in particular Wayne Parnell to change their lengths.

Surprisingly, Aaron Finch was quite prepared to take the backseat while the recalled Philip Hughes took on the senior role in a productive opening stand of 92.

Hughes is not normally known for his stroke play, but he has been in terrific form for Australia A.

Hughes had recently smashed a double hundred in a 50-over list A game against South Africa A, and has clearly carried that form to the next level.

South Africa would have been very disappointed with all of their seamers, who suffered at the hands of Finch and George Bailey who made 102 and 66 respectively.

An area of concern for the Proteas must surely be their death bowling.

Surprisingly, Parnell was entrusted to bowl the final over, and conceded 20 runs.

One would have thought that Steyn would have bowled the final over.

Not only is he the quickest, but he is an expert of reverse swing bowling, and getting the ball right up in the block hole.

Unlike Monday’s game, there was a great sense of expectancy when South Africa came out to bat.

Even when openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock were dismissed with just 51 runs on the board, there was no visible panic or concern on the South African balcony.

Du Plessis and de Villiers went about their business as if they were chasing 228 runs to win, and not 328.

They rotated the strike smartly, and were brutal on anything that deserved to be punished.

Du Plessis showed that he too is very capable of scoring at better than a run a ball, as he notched up his maiden ODI century.

Thankfully, it was against Australia, and not Zimbabwe.

De Villiers was his usual self, and had the large crowd in raptures with his combination of stroke play, and innovation.

In short, this was the tonic the supporters needed after the one sided and dull cricket of late.

Both teams gave us a fine demonstration of how to pace your innings without taking any apparent risks, and one hopes that the Zimbabwean players were watching closely, and taking notes of how to build an innings especially when chasing a total.

That is to say, if coach Steven Mangongo allowed them to take notes.

Who knows, we may just see the entire team being banned for watching the opposition teams play each other.

Comments (2)

To be honest, i think mangongo was a BAD mistake...treating adults like school children...he is going to be the downfall of Zim cricket...Surely It cant get worse than it is now?????

Tich - 28 August 2014

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