Connect with us

Cricket

South Africa turn things in ODI format with series win

Published

on

The resurgent South African side have beaten Australia 3-0 in the recently concluded ODI series. In the process they extend their dominant run against the Aussies with 11 wins in the last 12 ODIs. With a 5-0 win in 2016 and 2-1 win against Australia down under, the 3-0 win will certainly boost the moral of a young South African side, ending their home summer on a high.

Embed from Getty Images

After being dominated by Australia in the T20 series, South African side will be delighted with the middle order batting and bowling performance through the series. Though it did not start smooth for the home side when the first ball of the series caught debutant Janneman Malan LBW for a golden duck against a searing inswinger from Starc. But another debutant in Kyle Verreynne stepped up to the occasion making a composed 48 setting up a platform.

Following this the experience of Klaasen and Miller formed a strong accelerating partnership with contributions of a maiden ton (123) and 64 respectively. They helped the home side set a target of 292. The lack a genuine 5th bowling option hurting Australia where 70 runs were conceded between Mitch March and Darcy Short.

The same 5th bowler proved vital for the home side who played a batsman short despite poor batting performances in the T20 series. With no bowler conceding over 5.5 runs per over, Ngidi was the pick among the lot with figures of 3 for 30 in his 8 overs. He picked up both openers before Australia countered with 84-run partnership between Smith and Labuschagne. Despite 76 runs by Smith, Aussies fell well short of the target, credit to the Protea pacers who with their cutters exploited the slowness the surface had in offer.

Embed from Getty Images

South African sealed the series in the second game at Bloemfontein with another dominant batting display. With Australia opting to bat first, Warner started briskly getting his team to 50 in 6 overs. Finch played a steady 69 setting up partnership with Short after quick dismissals of Smith and Labuschagne. Ngidi was the pick of the bowlers with 3 top wickets and 3 in the death ending with figures of 6 for 58. With the lack of explosive runs at the death the home side stiffled Aussies to an about par 271.

In the chase it was the opener Malan who stepped up scoring his maiden ton batting out the innings. Showing maturity after being out for a golden duck on debut he steadied the game building partnerships with Smuts, Klaasen and Miller. South Africa lost their captain on just the 3rd delivery of the case to Starc yet again. Malan scored his century with just 3 boundaries and 3 sixes showing great grit and composure. He certainly has claimed a case for himself to be a regular in the side on their tour to India. Klaasen’s nearly run a ball 50 and Millers explosive hits towards the end ensured the series for the Proteas with 9 balls to spare.

Embed from Getty Images

With the series winner decided both teams were willing to take chances and experiment. But for the home team with victories far in between in the last year, were hungry to take the series 3-0. Once again it was the Protea’s batting that stole the show. Putting Australia into bat, a misery bowling performance restricted Australia to a modest 254.

For the Aussies, Labuschagne scored his maiden ODI century at his home town but lacked contribution from the rest of the batters. On a slow surface the only fluency in their innings was seen in the last 5 overs where they managed to get 42. In reply, South Africa began fluently but lost their openers by the 11th over. Smut then struck a strong partnership frist with Verreynne and then with Klaasen, all scoring fifties. Smut nearly batting his side to victory showed the technique and temperament required from a number 3 batter. Consistent partnerships ensured South Africa were always in control of a modest run chase.

Australia will be hurt after not being able to dominate over a young Proteas side after a dominating T20 series. With scattered performances, they would want to show longer duration of consistency and win the important moments in the game. The home side without Faf and Rabada will be delighted with the character shown by a young side under the captaincy of Quinton De Kock. With no major contributions from their skipper, various batters stepped up throughout the series with match wining contributions. Their bowlers too out shined those of Australia. With the tough time the home side and management have seen over the last year, this series victory will give them the much needed confidence to raise their game and be competitive again at the international stage.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cricket

Future of the Cricket-ing Calendar

Published

on

By

Lockdown around the world has brought global sports to a stand still. There is no specific time given to when one can assume things to fall back to normal proceedings. With the uncertainty in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, the future of a busy sporting calendar is in great doubts.

Cricket has a number of ongoing and shortly upcoming world tournaments in progress. The world Test Championship, initiated post 2019 world cup is currently on going and midway as teams tussle for points heading into the final next year in June. The world T20 tournament is also scheduled in Australia later this year along with the new ODI league which would be the pathway for teams to qualify for the men’s 2023 ODI world cup – scheduled to start from May. All of these should be under re-scheduling considering the current crisis the world is facing.

Embed from Getty Images

World Test Championship (WTC)

India currently occupy the top spot on the points table for the WTC. However, their 2-0 series loss to New Zealand, and with more away tours scheduled, a number of teams stand in contention to make it to the top two spots. With a large number of series cancelled or deferred, there will not be adequate time to accommodate all games in time for the finals scheduled for June 2021.

One possible option is to play the final with current WTC points table leaders, else a revised schedule needs to be considered to allow for some form of parity. Another consideration would be defer the final to ensure all teams play equal number of series to stand an equal chance to top the points table. Either solution would require careful consideration considering other tournament schedules and the second edition of the Test Championship.

2020 T20 World Cup Down under

Though ICC is not considering any change in the current scheduling of T20 World Cup in Australia and are optimistic in their approach, one would need to consider the worst-case scenario. A reschedule to hold the tournament later in the Australian summer would be difficult with a full length series against India scheduled between November to January 2021. Another option is to postpone the tournament to next year, which would also push the next edition of the tournament scheduled in India to be held in 2022. This could be a viable option considering there are no global tournaments scheduled for in 2022.

Embed from Getty Images

Cricket World Cup Super League

Scheduled to begin in May this year and expected to go until March 2022, the ODI Super League would serve as a qualification pathway for the 2023 World Cup. With all top 13 teams participating in it, each team would play eight series over a two-year cycle on a home-and-away basis and gain rankings similar to the World Test Championship. This would add context to the stand alone bilateral ODI series. As a number of tours are cancelled, it is highly unlikely for the cycle to commence from May which could either result in the reduction in the total number or series between teams or to completely rule out the Super League. In such a scenario, the qualification process for the 2023 World Cup would need to be reworked.

Currently with no cut-off date set for the final verdict on the future schedules of these major tournaments, these will certainly be the major points of discussion in the ICC’s quarterly meeting scheduled in May. As we await optimistic news in our fight against COVID-19, the future of cricket is currently as fluid and uncertain as one can image it to be.  

Continue Reading

Cricket

Grey Areas in Cricket: Front foot No-Ball

Published

on

By

A “Front foot No-ball” is in general terms referred to as the crossing of the line by the bowlers front foot at the point of release of the ball. If the bowler does not comply to the above, the umpire can rule the ball to be illegal and reward the batting team with an extra run and an extra delivery. Though this is not the only way in which an umpire rules a delivery illegal, the front foot no-ball has raised a number of arguments in recent times with the difficulty the rule causes. As cricket takes a pause in response to COVID-19, let us look into the No-Ball rule (front foot no-ball), the arguments it presents and some possible alternatives to overcome and provide a fair means to resolve this grey area in the sport.

Law 21.5 of the MCC rule book for “Fair delivery – the feet” describes No ball in the following manner:
21.5 For a delivery to be fair in respect of the feet, in the delivery stride
21.5.1 the bowler’s back foot must land within and not touching the return crease appertaining to his/her stated mode of delivery.
21.5.2 the bowler’s front foot must land with some part of the foot, whether grounded or raised
–       on the same side of the imaginary line joining the two middle stumps as the return crease described in 21.5.1, and
–       behind the popping crease.
If the bowler’s end umpire is not satisfied that all of these three conditions have been met, he/she shall call and signal No ball.”

The above law clearly reveals the complications and attention to detail an umpire needs to give prior to the ball reaching the batsman’s end. A result of which is the umpires often referring a no-ball decision much later after the outcome of the delivery has been dictated. This is mostly taken into consideration on the fall of a wicket which on a number of occasions has resulted in overturning of the decision as the bowler has overstepped the popping crease. A result of this is frustration of the bowler and fielding side who have done much of the hard work in dismissing the batsman.

Embed from Getty Images

So why is it that only at a dismissal is a no-ball being referred to the TV umpire? Perhaps one can argue that the front foot no-ball is a major factor determining the dismissal of the batsman. On the contrary, if the clarity of the no-ball was provided earlier on any regular delivery, the bowler could make the necessary adjustment prior to any dismissals being taken place. This instance was recently used in the limited overs series in India by the BCCI where every delivery was being supervised by the TV umpire in judging the front foot call. Certainly, proving to be a fair means to conclude, this method can certainly be adopted in the long run particularly with technology becoming a vital part of the game and its decision making.

Some traditionalist of the game argue regarding the use of this technology and taking the power away from the on-field umpire. They also state that additional time will be taken from the game in making this call on the front foot by the TV umpire. These arguments though do not make a strong case for themselves. Technology here is being used to aid the umpire and relieve them of certain duties to help them make better calls and decision at the striker’s end. Additionally, although the regular check by the TV umpires may cause a marginally longer time between deliveries, all playing teams and fans would certainly agree to this approach.

Embed from Getty Images

Furthermore, there is also the argument that the on-field calls on no-balls allows the batsman the decision to change their shot as there is no fear of a dismissal. Most current batsman would contradict it as there is very little time for them to make a change in their shot after an on-field call. This is certainly true for a fast bowler but the adjustment is possible to be made for a slower bowler. However, with a free hit on offer on the next delivery, a batsman would care less to focus on an on-field call to change the shot in a split second.

Technology clearly providing a number of benefits that can be put into practice without any change in the law. For the sake of the argument, even if we do consider prioritizing the on-field call, the practical solution in that case would be an amendment in the law.

Embed from Getty Images

In all of the above instance, we certainly are forgetting the position of the backfoot in the no-ball decision. With bowlers making use of the angle to create opportunities to dismiss batsman, they often do violate and get very close to the sideline on their delivery stride, which is often neglected. Also, the front foot is not clearly visible on most occasions to the umpires with the bowlers body blocking their vision. The amendment in this case to control both the above factors is to dictate the no-ball with regards to the back foot of the bowler. A number of experts have given this suggestion which clearly has a number of positives. At a delivery stride, the bowlers back foot lands first and is also clearly visible to the umpire. Though just a fraction of a second, it would give the umpire that little time to shift his attention from the no-ball call to see what happens at the strikers end. By allowing the call to be made early, the change also gives batsman that little advantage to capitalize on the no ball.

The change in law of the backfoot no-ball call certainly aids the decision making in several ways. This along with the available technology should certainly be used to make the playing field fair and balance the competition between bat and ball. With technology already in use for front foot calls, and with IPL dedicating a separate TV umpire for this in its 2020 season (currently on hold due to COVID-19 pandemic), cricket is certainly finding ways to address this Grey area in the sport. 

Continue Reading

Cricket

Hurt India brace for upbeat South Africa

Published

on

By

India will host South Africa for a 3 match ODI series starting at Dharamsala. Both teams come on the back of contrasting performances in the format. With a young South African side winning three consecutive games against Australia at home, they certainly have the confidence to compete a strong Indian side at home. India, on the back of three consecutive losses away to New Zealand will seek respite in the comback of their more regular stars to the side.

Embed from Getty Images

South Africa had a nightmare-ish last 12 months, particularly in the white ball formats. With retirement, injury and management shakeup, the side they have put together now shows promise. The clean sweep series victory to a strong Aussie set up will certainly assure that they belong at the international stage. Though for this young side, these Indian conditions will certainly be foreign. With Faf back in the side and form of the more experienced players in Klaasen and Miller will be cruitial for them to stage dominance over a strong Indian side at home. The young members will need to be led well, not just by the experienced players but also their captain who has certainly enjoyed facing the Indian attack in his career.

For India, the return of Hardik Pandya seems to be the center of focus with the balance he provides to the team. With strong batting performances in a domestic T20 series, he has not obtained enough game time particularly with the ball and how the body will take to bowling longer spells. Jadeja’s presence as the spin all rounder will aid India and lift the load of a full 10 over spell from Pandya. The other major return for India is at the top of the order in Shikhar Dhawan. The lack of top order performances in the New Zealand series certainly hurt India. Shikhar’s presence will add some experience and India will be hoping for him to pick up from the form he left off prior to injury. Bhuvaneshawar Kumar also makes it to the side post injury and should most likely be featuring in all games. He will be in need for match practice who with Bumrah need to rise to the performance they were producing nearly a year ago.

Embed from Getty Images

The return of Pandya puts a number of questions on the team selection for India. Though a happy headace to have, India will be looking to achieve a form on consistency in the playing combination to ensure clarity of roles. With the side backing Iyre and Rahul at 4 and 5, Shaw will retain his place along with Shikhar at the top of the line-up. Pandya will be coming in at the expense of Manish Pandey who once again will need to site out despite strong performances and showing maturity to finish games. Jadeja will also keep his place in the side adding to valuable overs and batting depth coming in at 7. Bhuvaneshwar, Bumrah, Saini and Chahl should form the last 4 members in the first game.

South Africa on the other hand do not have as many headaces. Both Maharaj and Shamsi have bowled well to be in the side as lead spinners. Ngigi’s form with the ball will certainly make him the leader of the attack along with the pace of Nortje and all round capabilities of Phehlukwayo. The middle order will be where the bulk of the exprience lies for the Proteas with Faf, Klaasen and Miller. Bavuma’s injury scare could result in Malan parterning his captain at the top with Smut’s part time spin edging him in the side over van der Dussen.

Continue Reading
Advertisement