Sunday, April 08, 2007

Bangladesh bop SA

Well, who’d a thought it? “Minnows”, Bangladesh, destroy the world number one team by 67 runs.

This was a cracker of a match: the Tigers’ intensity on the field was only matched by the Proteas suicidal nonchalance. The Bangladeshi fielding was fearsome; every ball was seized upon by some crazy green-clad figure flinging himself at the ground, denying any easy runs. I would like to say that the pressure this created was too much for South Africa, but I feel their lack of effort was the chief cause of their downfall. The feeble SA innings saw two run outs and two caught and bowled. It was as if they couldn’t be bothered to counter the building pressure.

Bangladesh enjoyed the conditions, and with their army of left-arm spinners, they exploited the dry, dusty pitch well. Racing through their overs, at one point I counted 13 dot balls on the trot within about two minutes. Speeding through your overs in this way is an excellent way to intensify the pressure on the batsman, as it hardly gives an opportunity for the striker to examine the field and consider the next ball.

The South Africans seemed lost at sea against the spinners, and totally unable to get on top of them. Only the walking wounded Herschelle Gibbs got the better of them, lofting the spinners for repeated boundaries on his way to a gutsy 56 not out. The commentators made a lot of the SA’s inexperience of facing spin, due to the lack of slow-bowling in the domestic set-up. I really don’t find this argument convincing. South Africa is an international quality team that has played in the sub-continent and enjoyed success against spinners in the past. They simply failed to formulate a team strategy to counter the left-armers, probably because they didn’t take the Bangladeshis seriously.

Nevertheless, full credit to the Tigers. 251 was a superb effort batting first, against a world-class bowling attack of Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini (whose ten overs were dispatched for 61) and the slightly psychotic Andre Nel. Mohammed Ashraful spanked a feisty, and probably match-winning, 87 helping Bangladesh to score 50-odd off the last six overs. A crashing lower-order display in batting the death, after the upper-order had played sensibly to preserve their wickets over the tricky opening overs and power plays underlined a great team endeavour. This mature pacing of their innings was deliberate and made the SA’s floundering performance looked amateur and even desperate in comparison.

Sadly, we didn’t see much dancing in the Tiger’s celebrations. I did, I am ashamed to admit, break out into a spontaneous Bangladesh Bop when the sixth South African wicket fell and it became obvious that the game could not be saved. I was in my dressing gown and wriggling delightedly at the minnow’s success. It’s a good job I don’t have a dog any more, otherwise I would have had some funny looks.

In other news, Ayalac has temporarily lost access to a copy of Photoshop, so there won’t be any pictures for a few days. Sorry. I know it’s depressing, but let’s try and get through this together.

1 comment:

Trapper John said...

Some serious Irish jigs today . . .