No losers at Makkie’s farewell

2011-01-10 00:00

THE results column will say India won, which they did, but no one in the Moses Mabhida Stadium yesterday felt like a loser after a day of colour, celebrities and, oh yes, a bit of cricket.

India probably thought it was a home game yesterday, with a massive chunk of followers in the stands — and a tailor-made strip — as they won the one-off Twenty20 international against South Africa by 21 runs at the iconic World Cup venue.

Of course, the occasion was bigger than anything the match could have produced, with Makhaya Ntini getting a fitting farewell in front of nearly 50 000 spectators on a belter of a day in Durban.

As results go, this was probably as inconsequential as it gets in South African cricket, as the party atmosphere lingered throughout the day.

The Indians, who have certainly made themselves at home in South African conditions over the last month, won an important toss on a predictably slow, drop-in pitch.

“It was a crucial toss because batting got harder as the day went on,” India’s captain MS Dhoni said.

Indeed, the nature of the pitch was more Delhi than Durban, and the Indians made a fast start through Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, who came in early after Morné van Wyk had taken a blinder of a catch over his shoulder to give Wayne Parnell the first wicket ever at the venue.

Man of the match Sharma, showing no manners at all, clubbed man of the moment Ntini into the stands for the dubious honour of the first six at the ground, as the IPL’s $2 million man made his way to a brisk 53 off 34 balls.

On the other end, Kohli drove well down the ground, with the Proteas finding the going tough on a surface with little for the pacemen.

Kohli was bowled by skipper Johan Botha, before Ntini got some sort of revenge on Sharma, holding on to a catch at long-on off the part-time spin of JP Duminy.

Yuvraj Singh, who memorably smashed six sixes off Stuart Broad at Kingsmead once, looked like he was just getting into his stride when a mindless bit of cricket saw him run out at the non-strikers end for just 12.

It was a good break for the Proteas, as India didn’t quite finish with the flourish they had in mind.

Suresh Raina, looking in much better nick after a torrid Test at Centurion, spanked 41 off 23 balls — including three sixes — as India posted a stiff 168 for six in their allotted overs.

Ntini received a sustained standing ovation after his spell of four overs was done, though he didn’t get that one, final wicket the crowd craved

South Africa, missing a few regulars, lost Hashim Amla after just eight balls as the Durbanite was bowled by Ashish Nehra.

Colin Ingram didn’t last much longer and the Proteas were suddenly 31 for two.

AB de Villiers then rotated the strike well with the rampant Van Wyk, who blasted the fastest T20 half-century in South African history.

He reached the mark off just 24 balls as he relished the short, square boundaries.

He eventually holed out to Nehra off Praveen Kumar, for an excellent 67 off 39 balls. Without his resistance, South Africa would have been embarrassed.

De Villiers, who had looked untroubled, then got run out by a sharp relay throw between Nehra and Raina, and the 57-run stand for the third-wicket was over.

JP Duminy was trapped leg-before for a second ball duck, as the Proteas fell more and more behind the run rate.

David Miller cracked one six, before he was also out leg-before, leaving Botha to add some respectability to the total with a quick 25.

The only thing left for the crowd to look forward to was Ntini at the crease one last time, and Botha holed out with four balls left to set the scene.

The target was already out of reach, but Ntini did manage to get off the mark, before India wrapped up their victory by 21 runs.

Ntini got on to a golf cart for one last lap of honour, before he and Sachin Tendulkar were honoured for their remarkable achievements in the game.

The match was forgotten in a hurry, as even Ntini encouraged the crowd to party the night away.

In truth, the Bollywood bash that followed probably produced more fireworks — and certainly more noise — than the exhibition contest.

It was just one of those nights.

 

SCOREBOARD

India innings

V. Kohli b Botha28

M. Vijay c Van Wyk b Parnell14

R. Sharma c Ntini b Duminy53

Yuvraj run out12

Y. Pathan b Theron6

S. Raina c Miller b Theron41

M. Dhoni not out10

Extras (lb 1, w 3)4

TOTAL (for 6, 20 overs)168

Fall of wickets: 1-18 2-67 3-109 4-110 5-136 6-168

Did not bat: R. Ashwin, P. Kumar, A. Nehra, M. Patel

Bowling: Parnell 4-0-25-1 (w-1), Ntini 4-0-46-0, Theron 4-0-39-2 (w-1), Petersen 3-0-20-0 (w-1), Botha 3-0-25-1, Duminy 2-0-12-1

South Africa innings

M. Van Wyk c Nehra b Kumar67

H. Amla b Nehra1

C. Ingram c Kumar b Patel2

A. de Villiers run out14

J-P Duminy lbw Yuvraj0

D. Miller lbw Pathan10

J. Botha c Sharma b Nehra25

R. Petersen c Kohli b Pathan2

W. Parnell c Pathan b Ashwin14

J. Theron not out1

M. Ntini not out1

Extras (b 4, lb 3, w 3)10

TOTAL (for 9, 20 overs)147

Fall of wickets: 1-6 2-31 3-88 4-89 5-93 6-108 7-120 8-141 9-144

Bowling: Kumar 3-0-17-1 (w-1), Nehra 4-0-22-2, Patel 2-0-26-1, Ashwin 4-0-33-1 (w-2), Yuvraj 4-0-20-1, Pathan 3-0-22-2

Result: India won by 21 runs

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