Proteas off to perfect start

2007-09-12 11:06

Arthur Turner

South Africa made their intentions clear at the Wanderers on Tuesday night when they defeated the West Indies by eight wickets in the opening match of the Twenty20 World Championship.

The capacity crowd where treated to a memorable occasion with over four hundred runs being scored in 38.4 overs and an opening ceremony that did justice to the occasion.

The fantastic atmosphere in the ground lasted the whole match as the crowd cheered South Africa to a memorable victory.

Chris Gayle played one of the great innings in the history of world cricket with his 117 coming off only 57 balls with an unbelievable 10 sixes.

This was also the first century scored in Twenty20 internationals. It should have been a match winning innings.

The South African bowling attack once again lacked variation. The bowlers failed to bowl the correct lengths and the slower ball was not used enough.

Morne Morkel was the pick of the bowlers with his extra bounce. However, to be fair to the bowlers the batting conditions were near perfect.

I thought Graeme Smith captained the team very well and didn't panic under the Gayle onslaught. He varied his bowlers well and kept the team together in a pressure situation. His captaincy played a major role in the West Indies not scoring 230.

Herschelle Gibbs and Justin Kemp were outstanding with their undefeated third wicket match winning partnership.

The South African top order of Smith, Gibbs and De Villiers are dangerous players in this form of the game. South Africa will be hard to beat if these three players enjoy a good tournament.

The West Indies were pathetic in the field.

It is unforgivable to bowl 23 wides, concede 28 extras and to drop vital catches.

There is no doubt that they cracked under pressure in the field. The feeling one got is that the only West Indian who pitched up at the Wanderers was Gayle.

The tournament now moves to Newlands and Kingsmead. Let's hope that the weather remains fair.

The tournament made a great start at the Wanderers, however, I am not sure if the bowlers will agree.

  • Arthur is a former cricket administrator.

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