South Africa steamroll Australia: Bowlers who can bat not the only criteria for winning

posted on 2018-11-04 16:32:04
posted by Kausthub Swaminathan

A monumental top order failure had Australia reeling at 8-3. Comeback man Dale Steyn nicked off both Travis Head and Darcy Short in his second over, getting the 2nd wicket thanks to a flying catch by Faf du Plessis.

Image credit: The Australian

A monumental top order failure had Australia reeling at 8-3. Comeback man Dale Steyn nicked off both Travis Head and Darcy Short in his second over, getting the 2nd wicket thanks to a flying catch by Faf du Plesis. Chris Lynn got together with Alex Carey to put on some sort of a partnership, playing an highly uncharacteristic innings. To be fair that's what the team required.

A Review That Could've Changed the Story

Source: The Australian

At 8-2, Aaron Finch was the key player to get Australia out of the rut. With good temperament in both defense and attack, he would've been an ideal accomplice to the big hitters to follow. But, in the 6th over, Finch was rapped on the pads by Lungi Ngidi. The umpire gave in to the vociferous appeals and raised the dreaded finger. After some thought the Aussie opener decided not to take the review so early in the innings. 

The big screen though, wanted to make him regret the decision. In the replay, Hawkeye showed that the ball would've bounced over the stumps. In a pitch like the one Perth produced today, there was no way it could've hit the stumps off a short of length delivery. Aaron Finch's wicket could've easily given the bowlers an extra 40-50 runs to play with.

Phehlukwayo Packs the Middle Order off

Source: TimesLIVE (AUS)

Lynn looked to be doing what was necessary, occupying the crease, playing 31 balls for just 15 runs. But, the lack of flow in his innings made him have a swish outside off stump, getting a feather on to an outswinger by Andile Phehlukwayo. Glenn Maxwell walked in with one thought in his mind - "Counter Attack". He walked across the stumps on his very first ball to tickle it fine for a boundary. He got a four off Ngidi too, but the fast bowler came back by hitting him hard on the glove. That seemed to affect Maxwell's concentration as he played a halfhearted on-drive straight to Klaasen at mid-on. Marcus Stoinis looked to be positive too for a run-a-ball 14 before holing out to the same fielder, exactly at the same position. With that the South African bowling all-rounder got rid off 3 dangerous batsmen in 3 consecutive overs. 

Cool Carey, Careful Cummins & Courageous Coulter-Nile

Source: ESPNcricinfo

All the damage possible was being done at one end while young Australian wicket-keeper Alex Carey showed grit at the other. He was part of a few crucial partnerships that prevented the team from total humiliation. Carey first got together with Cummins as the score read 66/6 and stopped the leaking of wickets for a while. The defensive resolve shown was admirable, and a lesson on batting for the top order. Nathan Coulter-Nile walked in all guns blazing, smacking 2 boundaries off Rabada and Tahir. Alex Carey who was defending all that while took a cue from him and reverse swept Tahir for a boundary and took a couple off the conventional sweep. Carey did only 2 things wrong, a bad call for a single that resulted in the Cummins runout, and the lap sweep he played after getting 6 runs in the two previous balls to get himself out. 

Coulter-Nile found that there was no point in hanging around and started attacking even more. Along with Starc and Hazlewood he took Australia just past 150. He was the last man out after getting 34 off 31 balls.

Express South African Start

Quinton de Kock took a liking to the Australian pacers, taking South Africa to 28 in 5 overs by the lunch break. His off side strength was on full display throughout his innings. However, Reeza Hendricks was the victim of a steep bounce from a length when Cummins hit him high on the chest. But, he too found his rhythm and stroked some beautiful boundaries, including a four, described as the 'shot of the day' by the Fox Sports commentary panel. Both the openers looked like they'll get the win themselves, but 2 slower balls and 2 poor shots meant they were back in the hut. Two half centuries on the taking which were put to waste.

Chase Marred by Markram's wicket

Aiden Markram, a struggling ODI player, found a good flow and raced to 36 striking at more than a run-a-ball. Just when he looked on song, the Perth pitch decided enough's enough and made the ball stay low. Markram heard the death rattle of leather on the wrong piece of wood, the stumps. In a wicket where starting in the middle overs was challenging, Klaasen perished going for glory in just his 5th ball with just 2 runs left to win. David Miller, who pulled off a sensational run-out of Cummins earlier, prevented further set backs and got his team home in the very next ball. Faf du Plessis meanwhile stood firmly, staying unbeaten on 10 off 24 balls.

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