In the latest cricket news, South Africa’s World Cup hopes are all-but finished, after losing to New Zealand by four wickets.
By Pieter Swanepoel.
Woeful fielding and sub-par batting let down a side that showed promise only in its bowling effort. With just three points to show from six matches, the Protea fire power has most certainly run out of fuel.
With New Zealand’s win against the Proteas, the World Cup is in danger of turning into a ‘Big Three’ (and New Zealand) competition for the next three weeks.
It would make it a very tired tournament until the semi-finals, exactly the opposite of what this 10-team format was meant to achieve.
Cricket News: A shame we already know the semi-finalists…
Having shunted the likes of Zimbabwe, the UAE and Scotland, who all played in the 2015 tournament, to the sidelines to give the event a more competitive feel – and ensure the primary money makers ,India, play as many games as possible – if the play-off spots are effectively decided just after the halfway point of the round-robin phase, it would be a damning indictment of the ICC and provide even more ammunition to those who have criticised the organisation’s expansionary plans.
Other than Pakistan beating England, none of the ‘Big Three’ has lost to anyone outside their wealthy triangle, so far making this tournament all too predictable – the Proteas’ failings aside.
It says it all when these are the odds on each of the Big 3 (plus New Zealand) making the semis with just over half of the Group Stages being played: India (1.01), England (1.01), Australia (1.02) and New Zealand (1.08). The West Indies are the side rated most likely to gatecrash that party but at odds of 17.0, it’s not very likely. Prices on the Betfair Exchange.
Catches win matches as fielding is more important than ever
I believe it is true to say that, while individual batters and bowlers grab the headline, it’s the players in the field who are making the difference at the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.
It may be an overstatement to say that Jonty Rhodes’s fielding changed the game of cricket; but in the modern one-day game, there’s no questioning the value of an aggressive, attentive attitude in the field. England was reminded of this in their CWC19 defeat to Pakistan.
After beating South Africa at The Oval in their opening game (thanks, in part, to Ben Stokes’s spectacular one-handed catch on the boundary to dismiss Andile Phehlukwayo), England then lost to Pakistan at Trent Bridge (no thanks, in part, to sloppy work in the field).
T20 cricket has changed the ODI game in a number of ways. By emphasising batting (in many cases, hitting every shot to the boundary) and bowling (in many cases, trying to force a catch on the boundary), it has taken some of the focus away from fielding.
But, while you won’t find any mention on the scoreboard of two runs prevented here, or three runs saved there, it’s often the team that does the best work in the field that wins the game. Those twos and threes – accumulated over 50 overs – make all the difference.
A handful of teams during CWC19 have been guilty of flat-out laziness in the field, with a couple of players guilty of standing with extended arms, guiding the ball to their team-mate on the boundary, instead of attacking that ball themselves.
While the individual batters and bowlers we all keep talking about, it’s the attitude of the team in the field that will ultimately decide who wins this ICC Cricket World Cup.
If they can put men on the moon….
The weather continues to rain on the CWC19’s parade. The UK was hit by downpours and deluges last week, with railway lines flooded, sinkholes appearing on the M25 motorway, and at least 39 flood alerts being issued across the country.
This again brings up the question of reserve days.
Bangladesh’s English-born coach Steve Rhodes posed the question on why we could put men on the moon, but cannot have a reserve day during the round-robin phase.
Compounding the issue is the ongoing dissatisfaction around how rain-adjusted one -day matches are decided through the Duckworth, Lewis and Stern (DLS) system.
Rhodes spoke for many when he suggested that a fairer way of determining the winner would be to simply take an extra day and allow both teams a chance of batting and bowling their full 50 overs each.
Four years is a long time to wait for a World Cup. A full day wouldn’t hurt anybody.
In other cricket news…
Rounding up the cricket news, the Proteas’ CWC19 stats thus far does not paint a rosy picture. Their batsmen have scored no centuries, Kagiso Rabada’ wicket tally stands at 6, equal to New Zealand’s all-rounder Jimmy Neesham.
The South African top bowler race has actually become one of the more open betting heats at the World Cup. Chris Morris, at best a batting all-rounder, has nine wickets and is the even money favourite. Imran Tahir has eight and is 6/4. The interesting runner is Phehlukwayo at 8/1. The talented all-rounder is just two behind Morris on seven and has already bowled 43 overs in five matches. With three matches still to go he’s perfectly capable of contending for the honour of being SA’s top bowler. Prices with Betfair Sportsbook.
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Quinton de Kock, South Africa’s highest run-scorer is placed 11th on the overall top-scores list and South Africa has a tally of 15 sixes, while England captain Morgan hit 17 in one innings.
On Sunday the Proteas play Pakistan at Lord’s. The only thing that counts in South Africa’s favour is that Pakistan is languishing in ninth place, with only Afghanistan below them, after a single victory in five matches. Keep in mind, however, that it was against England. Unibet make South Africa the 1.67 favourites for that one.
You can open an account with Unibet and back South Africa to beat Pakistan at 1.67 with Unibet, as part of your welcome bonus.
Finally in cricket news, it was good to see the Proteas joining the ICC Cricket for Good programme , together with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in changing the lives of youngsters in Birmingham on Monday. The initiative, which took place at Edgbaston, was part of promoting the #OneDay4Children campaign, aimed at transforming children’s lives around the world.