Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rampant canneries eat impotent springboks

The biggest anti-climax to hit the World Cup so far saw Australia thrash pretenders to the throne South Africa by seven wickets.

Useless Saffers totally misread the conditions and decided to go quickly onto the attack after they put themselves in to bat. Ignoring the swinging ball, Glen McGrath’s accurate bowling and all common sense, the South African top order swung merrily away only to lose their wickets repeatedly.

Just Herschelle Gibbs and Justin Kemp showed any steel against the Ozzies. Andre Nel provided some valiant resistance until the end.

Nel is a compulsive competitor. He tried to take the Ozzies on, at eight wickets down. There was slegding between himself and to the world in general. “Bring it on”, he said to the bowler. The Australians just laughed.

This was a pathetic performance and, to be honest, stupid. I think a combination of being labelled “chokers” and Ricky Ponting’s insistence that six-hitting is the way forward in modern cricket saw the end of the Proteas. They were at sea.

A more traditional, slower approach was needed in that innings. The slogging should have waited until the introduction of Shane Watson. There were still seven overs to spare and with a bit of upper-order nurdling, the SA’s could have posted a challenging score. But they were, it seems, totally incapable of changing their strategy.

This, like England's dodgy approach, was daft. One-day cricket is about adaptability and a lightness of foot. The South Africans seemed like a stodgy one-trick pony. And they paid the price.

Now I’m annoyed because only England have pushed the Australians. Let’s hope they get at least one game before they lift the trophy. This is bloody ridiculous. Bloody universe.

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