South Africa smash and grab

Three days ago they were pedestrian, and that’s a compliment. Today South Africa were devastating, inflicting a forth successive loss and certain elimination to hosts West Indies (there’s actually still a mathematical chance). The sudden turnaround is sure to renew the hopes of the Proteas while West Indies’ imminent exit will surely empty a couple more seats for the remaining games. I’m suspicious that many weren’t watching anyway.

AB de Villiers smashed his maiden one-day century leaving the field with cramps, dehydration, heat exhaustion and some fond memories. Boucher bashed the third fastest fifty (at least this one came against respectable..er opposition) in World Cup history and Gibbs recovered from his calf strain to bash another fifty of his own. Even Kallis looked like a one-day player.

Thoughts? I’m not going to bed anytime soon. It’s still daylight here.

Scorecard here and Bulletin here.

Video of Gibbs’s six Dutch sixes

A video of Herschelle Gibbs’s six sixes in an over against the Netherlands

Click here if you can’t see it above.

Racism schmacism; get on with the cricket

Chris Broad has a fairly unenviable job and much of his blog is a diary of the standard of airport lounges and hotels he comes across. All jolly interesting, but this latest post was much more like it: his handling of the Herschelle Gibbs ban.

Almost half the SA side accompanied Gibbs into the hearing which made things very cosy because I also had the Pakistan management and the captain in our small umpires’ room. There was a lot of frank discussion with SA defending their man but Pakistan saying how hurt they were by the remarks. After 45 minutes of chat and counter chat both side had just about finished so I adjourned the hearing so that I could get my head around what had been said and come to a decision. I made that decision after calling the players back to the room and I could get away from the fact that the remarks, however provoked were racial and were offensive to the Pakistanis. I was left with no option but to ban Gibbs for 2 Test matches. This is the worst part of my job because I was very passionate about the game when I played and I sometimes boiled over at instances that happened but this has to be stamped on as racial abuse, whether it’s player on player or crowd to player or player to crowd, must be eradicated.

I trust this will be the last we hear of this subject in this series and I hope Cricket SA take the case of crowd control very seriously because this is how the whole ugly incident began!

Indeed so.

Racial issues are understandably eggshellish. And while everyone and their uncle rightly wants it stamped out, it’s somewhat complacent, irresponsible and naive to just state this without any suggestions as to how it can be achieved. It irritates me that the ICC, in particular, tend to puff out their moral chests and beat the anti-racism drum…without actually doing anything about it. However, in their defence I don’t necessarily believe the that this is cricket’s problem. It’s far, far wider than the sport; this is about a confused society.

The disappointing aspect is that cricket, often the bridge between cultures and societies, seems to be acting as the catalyst. Or worse, a forum for other people’s warped opinions and abuse.

Broad is right. Cricket SA need to get hold of these supporters and never let them back in. However, just don’t let them, or any other board for that matter, mirror the dictatorial practices enforced by Cricket Australia…

Herschelle Gibbs cartoon

Herschelle has been at it again.

A cartoon of Herschelle Gibbs

Via Miller and his cronies. See the video of the incident here.

Bad luck Herschelle. Getting abused is part of the cricketer’s lot

What do readers think about the two-Test ban that was given to Herschelle Gibbs today? I think that given all the circumstances, match referee Chris Broad got it about right. It is simply not on for players to lose their cool when there’s a stump microphone about, regardless of the provocation.

It is odd that a South African of all people should fall for this sort of trap, but there you go.

And commendations to the South African ground authorities for chucking out the Pakistani fans who were abusing the South African players. Crowd behaviour world-wide is an absolute disgrace, and there’s not a country in the cricketing world that hasn’t had problems with this regard, particularly with one-day internationals. It’s a fact of cricketing life that has long been accepted that players from the away side are going to cop vociferous abuse from the fans; now that travel is becoming cheaper, home players are starting to get verbally abused as well.

This is the downside to the globetrotting cricketer’s lifestyle, and it is something that the players will just have to get used to.

South Africa vs New Zealand 1st Test, Day 1

South Africa are batting, but Gibbs is out early. Open thread folks, come on you Black Caps.

South Africa chase down 435 to beat Australia

Nothing to add. South Africa have just chased down 435 to win a game of cricket. 434 was the highest score a few hours ago, broken now by South Africa. Andrew Miller’s bulletin will be up soon, so go and read that, the scorecard, and whatever. Ahhh, it’s a great game is cricket!

UPDATE South Africa v Australia, 5th ODI, Johannesburg

About an hour ago, me and my colleage were screaming at the TV while watching South Africa attempt to reach 435. The commentators – Tony Greig and a South African, Barry Richards I think – were getting far too excited and claiming the hosts were going for the win. What tosh.

I’m slowly reaching for my hat which I might have to start eating, as we’re witnessing something rather extraordinary.

Oh bugger, the curse of the blogger. Graeme Smith is out (90 off 55!) and Mike Hussey’s celebration after taking the catch in the deep perhaps said it all: Australia are relieved. I think they felt the game was slipping away from them…

What an incredible day’s cricket it’s been

Update

Gibbs reaches incredible hundred. Nathan Bracken DROPS HIM at mid-off! What the hell is going on? South Africa 247 for 2, needing 188 from 23 overs

14.34 GMT

Gibbs 150 from 100 balls. 164 needed from 21. Rate under 8 for the first time. Pictures I’m upping are here

14.48

Gibbs falls for 175 from 111. De Villiers also out. Kallis and Boucher now in. 136 from 18.1 overs.

15.48

30 from 18 needed, ANOTHER FOUR, Boucher’s doing it for South Africa. And Mick Lewis brings up his hundred too!

15.51

It’s gotta be SA now. 17 from 13

15.52

Four from Roger Telemarketing! (Telemachus) 13 from 12! Mick Lewis has the most expensive bowling stats, ever.

15.53

Telemachus caught, brilliantly, by Hussey, diving forward at mid-off! 12 from 10 with two wickets remaining. Bloody hell. Andrew Hall gets a standing ovation for walking onto the ground.

15.58

7 from 6

16.00

Lee struck on foot, saved four, ouch. 6 from 5

16.02

Hall smashes Lee through midwicket for FOUR! Brilliant shot.

16.04

Hall caught! OUT GONE! 2 from 3 needed, ONE WICKET LEFT

16.05

Ntini screams, gets a single, South Africa cannot lose. 1 from 2. Australia cannot, obviously, win it. This is bloody incredible

16.06

Boucher wins it with a slog over mid-on to record the best one-day victory ever. In the greatest one-day match, probably. Speechless.

Gibbs and Kallis depart

The last over before lunch, Harmison grabbed Kallis – an excellent, low catch by ‘keeper Jones and England were clearly overjoyed. It had been quite even up until then when Rudolf and Gibbs had camped in for a long innings. But – Harmison also got Gibbs out, caught very well by Giles in one of 2 wide gullies.

Long way to go, but SA’s chances of victory are now pretty distant with the 2 big guns gone.

Scorecard

South Africa omit Boucher and Gibbs

This news “broke” a few hours ago, and I still don’t know what to make of it. I was suprised when Boucher wasn’t included in his country’s tour to India, which makes this latest decision not to recall him doubly confusing. This BBC article suggests it’s yet further evidence of African politics infiltrating the selection of their sportsmen. Full squad below

Graeme Smith Captain (Nashua WP/Boland)
Nicky Boje Vice-Captain (Goodyear Eagles)
Hashim Amla (Nashua Dolphins)
Zander de Bruyn (Nashua Titans)
AB de Villiers (Nashua Titans)
Boeta Dippenaar (Goodyear Eagles
Andrew Hall (Highveld Lions)
Jacques Kallis (Nashua WP/Boland)
Makhaya Ntini (Mercedes Warriors)
Shaun Pollock (Nashua Dolphins)
Jacques Rudolph (Nashua Titans)
Dale Steyn (Nashua Titans)
Thami Tsolekile (Nashua WP/Boland)

Herschelle Gibbs, one of the stand-out fielders of the last 10 years (in my opinion) is injured and doesn’t make the squad. Good article on him here

I think England will be quietly pleased. Although, as this columist inferred, Fletcher thrives on fastidious preparation and he can’t prepare for players he’s never seen before. Gibbs is mercurial – he has a touch of pure class and gleams talent & a carefree “see it/hit it” simplicity…but he’s just as fallable in making stupid mistakes (not least in World Cups – sorry!)

I’ve always admired Boucher (who I’ve seen referred to as a “veteran” – he’s only 29! 2 years older than Andrew Strauss who’s a relative newbie to Test Cricket). He has a lot of guts and spirit, and is a damn handy number 7/8/ who can take the game away very quickly. He’s been replaced by [who?] who I, and most people outside SA – indeed probably some in SA! – know nothing of. To me, this looks like one of those bizarre “for the future” decisions which England were so fond of doing in the 90s…if I were South African, I’d be wanting the selectors to pick a team “horses for courses” whilst they’re in this “slump.” (note the inverted commas…I’m not ready to eat my hat!)