Proteas firmly back on their feet

2016-02-24 06:00

WHAT more is there to say? After managing on the last ball of the first T20 game at New-lands to scrape home by the skin of their teeth against England, the Proteas cruised along, as though it’s no more than a practice exercise to win the second encounter at the Wanderers last weekend by a staggering nine wickets!

Which means they won the two-match series 2-0. As they say in the classics: “Will wonders never cease?” The performances in both matches were simply amazing.

For quite some time it looked as though AB de Villiers (71) and his opening batsman partner, Hashim Amla (69 not out), were intent on winning the match on their own.

This was South African T20 cricket at its very best. Certainly, the kids on the popular side seemed to think so. The posters they thought up and held up with utter glee were hilarious.

As De Villiers raced to the fastest 50 by a South African in a T20 match – his 71 coming just off just 29 deliveries – the home-made posters came up one after another.

Here are just a few of them as the younger spectators played havoc with the alphabet. Perhaps the best of them all was: “AB D(everstating)” and no wonder, suddenly the statistics were being turned upside down.

After just 10 overs had been bowled the score was 134 with only De Villiers back in the pavilion, having practically given his wicket away with a mighty slog that didn’t quite reach the boundary that time.

No wonder they call it “The Bullring”. England were very definitely the bulls and they were being teased to death – by a Proteas team that last time round only just managed to get there on the final ball of the game.

One cheeky little fellow’s placard read: “Don’t worry, Mom – I’ll study later!” Now suddenly the match equation was turned on its head. When De Villiers departed with his 71 coming off just 29 balls, the South Africans needed only 45 to win off 66 balls.

Looking ahead, the selectors have an interesting little problem on their hands. What do they do with specialist wicketkeeper and high-scoring left-handed batsman, Quinton de Kock? Specially after AB de Villiers declared at his post match interview: “I’ll keep on opening the innings for as long as they want me to.”

Whatever the selectors decide upon come the ICC World T20 Championship – just around the corner now – De Kock must be behind the stumps.

If AB, the captain after all, wants to continue opening the batting for the South Africans, well and good. De Kock can bat lower down and in fact might well benefit from not having too much responsibility on his hands.

One thing seems to be certain, the Proteas – after being made to look like rank amateurs in the Test series against England – are now back on their feet and looking like a team that has the ability to go all the way. Go, Proteas! Go!

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