Another bullet dodged

2014-03-28 00:00

HISTORY has shown that more often than not, if someone pulls off too many escapes, it all eventually catches up with them and leads to dire consequences.

That’s where the Proteas find themselves after another escape of epic proportions against the Netherlands in their third match of the Twenty20 World Cup in Bangladesh, leaving people wondering when the axe will eventually fall and stop any further shenanigans.

It was touch and go and the six-run win is nothing to be proud of. If there is anything from the match to focus some pride on, it’s how the Dutch bounced back from their 39 all out against Sri Lanka in their previous match to be one hit away from causing the biggest upset in international T20 history.

In all honesty, one must sympathise with the men in orange rather than celebrate our ongoing survival in the tournament. They were just better than us in bowling, fielding and batting up front and did everything except cross the line as victors.

Again, it was a dismal performance from the Proteas. We needed to win by a healthy margin to give our run rate some beef, but again we looked like headless chickens, playing rash shots, bowling wrong lines and having no clue as to an established batting order.

JP Duminy, the man in form after a match-winning (just) 84* against New Zealand, came in at number six; Albie Morkel, who has yet to lend any confidence as to why he is in the side, came in at five (and failed again) and the pressure proved too much for David Miller to conjure any magic at number seven as he scratched around to no effect.

By rights, the Proteas should be taking in the sights of Chittagong having been bundled out the tournament and the Dutch must feel aggrieved at missing an opportunity to stick it to the Proteas.

Batting first after losing the toss, the Proteas stumbled from the start with Quinton de Kock (0) going in the first over.

The only light in the stuttering effort of 145-9 was Hashim Amla’s 43 from 22 balls, the next best being Du Plessis’s 24 (14 balls) and 21 (21 balls) from AB de Villiers. The best partnership was a mediocre 42 for the second wicket between Amla and Du Plessis.

Hero for the Netherlands was medium pacer Ahsan Malik, who exploited the conditions beautifully to finish with 5-19 in his four overs.

Pretoria born Stephan Myburgh, who has played for KZN Inland, set about the target with purpose and abandon, smashing 51 from 28 balls, putting on 58 for the first wicket with Michael Swart (8) as Du Plessis strangely opted to open the bowling with Albie Morkel and debutant Beuran Hendricks.

They were well above the run rate and so close did the Netherlands come to the target, they could have cruised home in singles had they done things right at the end.

Thankfully for Mr Du Plessis and his men, they tried a little too hard and once the Proteas had made the breakthrough, they were fortunate to pick up wickets when it mattered, Tom Cooper’s 16 the next best to Myburgh’s effort.

Relief greeted every wicket and the introduction of Imran Tahir (4-21) put the skids on a brave Dutch effort as the leg spinner picked up the man of the match award, increasing his tally of wickets to nine from three matches.

Hendricks picked up the final wicket finishing with 1-16. Dale Steyn bagged 2-19 with Duminy and Lonwabo Tsotsobe getting a wicket apiece.

A relieved Du Plessis said, “We are making it hard for ourselves but there are positives when the side is not playing 100% but still getting across the line. Credit to the Netherlands for playing very good cricket for 70% of the game.”

Dutch skipper Peter Borren summed it up succinctly, saying, “I’m miffed we never got across the line”. And who can blame him?

The Proteas meet England in Chittagong in their final group match tomorrow, starting at 3.30 pm (SA time).

South Africa

Hashim Amla c Barresi b Malik43

Q. de Kock c Myburgh b Swart0

F. du Plessis c van Beek b T. Cooper24

AB de Villiers B. Cooper b van Beek21

A. Morkel c B. Cooper b Malik5

JP Duminy c Barresi b Gugten12

D. Miller b Malik17

D. Steyn c Barresi b Malik5

B. Hendricks c c Borren b Malik3

Imran Tahir not out9

L. Tsotsobe not out1

Extras (b1, w4)5

TOTAL (for nine wkts; 20 overs)145

Fall of wickets: 1-3 (de Kock), 2-45 (Amla), 3-84 (du Plessis), 4-92 (de Villiers), 5-102 (Morkel), 6-120 (Duminy), 7-127 (Steyn), 8-133 (Hendricks), 9-135 (Miller)

Bowling: Swart 2-0-26-1 (1w), Gugten 4-0-28-1 (1w), Malik 4-0-19-5, van Beek 2-0-14-1 (2w), Bukhari 4-0-26-0, Seelaar 1-0-9-0, T. Copper 3-0-22-1

Netherlands

S. Myburgh b Duminy51

M. Swart c du Plessis b Steyn8

W. Barresi lbw b Tahir14

P. Borren lbw b Tahir13

T. Cooper b Tahir16

B. Copper c de Kock b Steyn5

Mudassar Bukhari c Miller b Tsotsobe11

P. Seelaar c Duminy b Tahir2

L. van Beek run out1

T. Gugten c de Kock b Hendricks8

Ahsan Malik not out1

Extras (b4, lb2, w3)9

TOTAL (all out; 18.4 overs)139

Fall of wickets: 1-58 (Swart), 2-80 (Myburgh), 2-80 (Myburgh), 3-82 (Barresi), 4-97 (Borren), 5-116 (B. Cooper), 6-116 (T. Cooper), 7-118 (Seelaar), 8-124 (van Beek), 9-134 (Bukhari)

Bowling: Morkel 2-0-19-0 (1w), Hendricks 3.4-0-16-1, Tssotsobe 4-0-46-1, Steyn 4-0-19-2 (1w), Tahir 4-0-21-4, Duminy 1-0-12-1 (1w)

Result: South Africa win by six runs.

Team P W L Pts NRR

Sri Lanka 3 2 1 4 2.199

South Africa 3 2 1 4 0.05

New Zealand 2 1 1 2 0.276

England 2 1 1 2 -0.067

Netherlands 2 0 2 0 -2.95

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