Friday, 27 February 2015

AB – Nobody is better

There is no better batsman in the world right now than AB de Villiers. The guy is pure genius. His 162 not out off 66 balls demoralised the West Indies team on 27 February, allowing the Proteas to crush them by 257 runs in their World Cup group match. His innings included the world's fasted One Day International 150, and second fasted World Cup 100. What a privilege to have him in South Africa's team, and even better to have him as our ODI captain. 

AB de Villiers is without doubt the best batsman in the world.

As good as Hashim Amla and Virat Kohli are as batsmen (they are ranked second and third in the world in ODIs according to the ICC), they cannot contend with the brilliance of AB. His innings are characterised by indomitable determination, unbeatable (although uncanny) technique, and innovative stroke play. Furthermore, AB is probably the best fielder in the world. He is lightning quick and has enacted many run outs and great catches. 

I am glad that Quinton de Kock is currently our wicketkeeper. Not just because AB can captain without trying to keep wickets at the same time, but also so AB can be in the field. 2015 has been an incredible year for AB, with him also scoring the fastest ODI 100 of all time (off 31 balls). His statistics are actually improving, despite his age of  31 years. In conclusion, AB is the best batsman in the world and has done SA proud. If he cannot lead us to our first World Cup trophy, who can?

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

SA on course in the World Cup

The Proteas are on course to do well in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. We may have only played one match so far, but the way we performed bodes well. We beat Zimbabwe by 62 runs on 15 February. It was through brilliant centuries by David Miller (138 off 92 balls not out) and JP Duminy (115 off 100 not out), an excellent bowling performance by Imran Tahir (three wickets for 36 runs) and fielding by AB de Villiers (three catches and a run out).

David Miller scored 138 not out to help the Proteas to a win against Zimbabwe. Photo taken from
We scored 339–4 in our 50 overs and Zimbabwe did well to reach 277 all out. It was a tough game, but a good one because we were tested in all departments and passed with flying colours. When batting, we lost wickets early, but recovered to set a great score. When bowling, we were made to work hard for our wickets and were disciplined (although we gave 22 extras). The Zimbabweans had to work for their runs. Then in the field, our only dropped catches went down because they were incredibly difficult ones to take. AB de Villiers took one of the best catches I have seen to dismiss Solomon Mire.

Our next match will be played against India on 22 February. India recently beat Pakistan by 76 runs and their morale will be very high. They are a great team and will be very difficult to beat. Then we will play the West Indies on 27 February. The Windies recently lost to Ireland by four wickets, and their morale will be low. However, they will be determined to progress through the group stage, and will play hard against us.

Monday, 09 February 2015

Do our bowlers have what it takes?

In my last blog I said that the Proteas' bowling attack is its problem in One Day Internationals (ODIs). If South Africa are to do well in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, I believe that our bowling will need to be much better than it has been in recent months. In Tests we are great, but in ODIs our bowling is mediocre. Our death bowling is especially poor, with bowlers carelessly giving runs away in the final overs of an innings. We bowl too wide, too many half volleys, and not enough yorkers.

Morne Morkel is not the bowler he used to be. Photo from
Imran Tahir is not the world's best spinner. But I like him. He is always trying to take a wicket, and his passion is contagious. Our backup spinner, Aaron Phangiso, has his moments but is usually average. With the hard pitches in Australia and New Zealand, it would have been better to leave him out the squad and let JP Duminy play the role of backup spinner.

Our biggest problem is the fast bowling department. Dale Steyn is always difficult to score off, with pace, away swing and reverse swing. Vernon Philander is accurate and moves the ball well. These two do not bowl many yorkers but they take wickets and keep the runs down. The rest, not so much. Morne Morkel began his career as a positive, tall fast bowler with lots of potential. He was good at first. Now he gives lots of runs away and takes few wickets.

I thought that Kyle Abbott would be better in the international ring, but he has been very expensive. Wayne Parnell is not a good all-rounder. He does not bowl well and he does not bat well. Between him and Morne Morkel, I do not know who bowls more wides and gives more runs away.

To answer the question this blog post is headlined, I think that our bowling will have to improve for us to have a chance at taking this year's World Cup. In fact, they will have to be about 40 per cent better than they currently are.