• Monday, July 28, 2014

Reverse Swing

Wasim Akram

South Africa kept their nerves, unlike their style. The "C" (chokers) word is always thrown at them but at Chittagong they were superb at the end. It was Dale Steyn who kept his cool and delivered two great overs, the 7th cost eight and then he defended the last in which New Zealand needed seven. This is called true grit.
Steyn has been the top bowler in all three formats of the game and on Monday he lived up to his billing. Not many bowlers have this tendency to keep nerves when it matters. I have been a great admirer of his pace and guile. On the other end Morne Morkel was smashed to all corners and under these circumstances it was more praiseworthy that Steyn kept his cool.
Steyn had to bowl the last delivery to a set batsman Ross Taylor but he had the target in his mind. He bowled a full pitched delivery to Taylor who could only drive it back and Steyn had him run out. That sparked a celebration amongst South African players. Why not, they won a match which could have easily gone against them. These are the vagaries of Twenty20 cricket.
When Taylor smashed those three sixes off Morkel it looked New Zealand will be home and dry but a few good overs and the target became difficult and difficult. Good teams learn from their mistakes and South Africa did that exactly. So it was two great games in two days. India's win over the West Indies was facile as the defending champions failed to ignite the match and managed just 129.
This was the match South Africa badly needed to win after their loss to Sri Lanka. Much to their luck they had their captain Faf du Plessis back for the match. It worked for them as du Plessis was energetic and up to the task although he did not score much. Jean-Paul Duminy was superb in SA innings. He cleverly held one end and was unbeaten at the end. They had a good plan for the dangerous Brendon McCullum. He was trapped by leggie Imran Tahir and that helped South Africa.
I think it was a good lesson in his innings for the batsmen from Asia. He could have tried to hit every ball out of the park but he realised his duty. On Tuesday, we have Bangladesh playing their first match. I am sure they too have learnt from their miserly acts in the first round. If they bat well and bowl through their spinners they can upset the West Indies.
I am sure Mirpur Stadium will be lit up with the support for the home team. I wish them good luck.


The writer is a former Pakistan cricket captain and one of the finest swing bowlers and currently a TV commentator and presenter

Published: 12:00 am Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Last modified: 2:50 am Tuesday, March 25, 2014

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