Thursday, 11 December 2014

SA to win Tests, West Indies to take T20Is

The upcoming South Africa vs West Indies tour will not be as one-sided as it might have been a year or so ago. Although the Proteas are probably the better team on paper, they have not been in great form lately, and the men from the Caribbean are extremely good in the shorter formats of the game. To make matters worse, JP Duminy is injured and may miss all the Test matches.

Proteas Batsman JP Duminy is injured.
With three Tests, starting 17 December, three T20 Internationals and then five One Day Internationals, we can look forward to a lot of great cricket over December and January. The Test series is probably where SA will be the strongest, and the T20Is is where we will be the weakest.

The Proteas have also included some new players in the Test squad which will make it interesting. Stiaan van Zyl, Temba Bavuma and Kagiso Rabada are exciting prospects. I am especially looking forward to seeing how far Rabada goes in his career. We need a young, good fast bowler in our international squads, as our more experienced fast bowlers are showing their age. Even Dale Steyn will not be good forever...

All in all, I think the Proteas will win the Test series at least by two matches. I think the West Indies will take the T20I series. Their prolific T20 players such as Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, Andre Russel, Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy will likely be too much for us. I can even see us losing it 3–0. The ODI series could go either way.

Kieron pollard could hurt South Africa in the shorter cricket formats. Image from 

Thursday, 04 December 2014

Three players who make the Black Caps a dark horse

Stephen Fleming recently said in an interview on Hooked on Cricket, that New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa all have a very good chance to win next year's cricket world cup. New Zealand have never been given much of a chance to win a world cup before. Could it be that they are a dark horse to win next year's? I believe so.

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will be held in New Zealand and Australia. The hard, bouncy pitches in these countries will support the fast bowlers, while making it harder for spinners. This will suite the above-mentioned teams, yet pose a challenge to sub-continent teams, which usually rely on their spinners. New Zealand have had a tough couple of years lately but now seem to be getting it right.

Here are some players I love watching in the New Zealand team, and who I believe will pose a threat to their opposition:

Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum. Photo from
Even if he doesn't keep wickets anymore, he is a match-winning batsman. The 33-year-old once scored 158* in an Indian Premier League T20 match! The aggressive batsman is generally inconsistent, either scoring few or scoring lots of runs. But he has accumulated 5 200 runs in One Day Internationals at an average of 30.05, and at a strike rate of 90.56 (as of 04 December), making him both a dangerous and experienced batsman.

Ross Taylor

Ross Taylor. Photo from
My favourite Black Cap player to watch. Taylor has been in and out of the squad because of injury, and because of favour, or rather lack of it, with management. Yet he remains indisputably their best batsman. The 30-year-old has been through it all and tempers his world-class skill with patience and innovation. He has scored 4 238 runs in ODIs at an average of 40.07, and at a strike rate of 82.39. This guy has big match temperament (BMT), one to watch out for.

Mitchell McClenaghan

Mitchell McClenaghan. Photo from
He may not be the most experienced fast bowler in the side, but from what I have seen from him he has what it takes to make a difference in the world cup. The 28-year-old is quick, has a nice action, controls the ball well, and has proven that he can take on the best teams. In his ODI debut he took 4 wickets for 20 runs against South Africa. He has taken 50 ODI wickets at an average of 23.48, with an economy of 5.77. Not the best stats, but he is better than they show, and will be a handful on the fast and bouncy pitches.