Welcome back to the year 2000 where my fledgling coaching career has just about managed to regain some credibility. Coming from 2-0 down to draw the five match series with South Africa (away from home no less) is up there with my all time achievements in life. Ignore that it is on ICC2. Anyway, due to ‘popular’ demand I am carrying the series on. I’m also still in South Africa. Why you ask? Well I have three words for you. Well two words and an acronym…
ODI Triangular Tournament
For some awful reason I have to face South Africa and Zimbabwe for no real benefit. When it’s over I have to play four ODIs with Zimbabwe. It doesn’t sound great but you’ve seen how bad I am at ODIs from the World Cup, so this might be spectacular.
To make matters worse, there’s no chance to select a new squad. Maybe I didn’t read the fine print but we’ll crack on with the Test squad and hope things work out.
The conditions give nothing away. I hope I don’t win the toss, to be honest.
I’ve been advised on Twitter, possibly as a joke, that Atherton is a very useful ODI batsman despite being very defensive. He’ll open with Lathwell, who is aggressive. Stewart drops down the order and Thorpe misses out. Gough is knackered so Bicknell is recalled and that’ll be about it. South Africa make a lot of changes. Some Pryke comes in at 10 and Klusener is in for that annoying left armer.
The Call Is Heads
We’ve won the toss. Bad start. We’ll bat. Don’t ask me why. In a change of plan, Pollock and Klusener take the new ball, presumably because of the cloud cover, but Atherton and Lathwell are on fire against the fielding restrictions. Lathwell’s 32 from 35 includes a cover driven 6 which was delightful, before he perishes LBW to Pollock. Atherton takes over though with Habib developing a more cautious approach. The skipper passes 50 and the partnership is worth 72 before Habib is bowled by Donald for 25.
Atherton continues to wield his axe though and it’s a real shame when he’s out LBW on 84 from 95 deliveries. It doesn’t sound much now but back then it was incredible. Hollioake and Stewart put on exactly 50 but Adam finds Kallis at first slip on 34 with the score at 205. The final 9 overs require us to do some serious hitting to be competitive and thankfully Stewart is ably assisted by Wells and Ramprakash and we finish on 257/5. It’s not bad. Ramprakash’s 13 off 5 could prove vital.
They See Me Bowling
The field is in so we will bowl aggressively and hope for the best. Bicknell keeps it tight but Dean Headley is on another level. Kirsten bowled, Cronje trapped LBW and then the prize wicket of Liebenberg is secured when he tamely slogs to Atherton. A brief recovery from Kallis and Benkenstein is curtailed as Headley tempts Kallis into a drive that ends up at slip. 54-4 and we’re in the driving seat.
With our aggressive tactics the run rate isn’t a problem though and Benks and Cullinan are able to rebuild. Headley’s last two overs are saved for later and once again Tufnell gets nothing out of a docile pitch. Bulbeck’s poor and it’s left to Vince Wells to bowl Daryl Cullinan. The man for the big occasion. 113-5. Klusener arrives and it’s like his bat is bigger than everybody elses. He is clubbing it around and Benks is heading for 100. Hollioake’s first over went for 11 but he returns a new man, bowling the future Durham skipper for 90. Phew. 204/6 though and the run rate is under 5. It’s got to be Headley time. He removes Pollock for 0 and gives little away in his final deliveries to finish with 5/48. Love you Dean.
There’s still a game to be won though. Enoch Stewart, so often a nuisance in the test series, hits two consecutive 4’s before Hollioake uproots his stumps. 223/8. The dangerous Klusener is still there though he is running out of partners. Pryke is trapped in front by Hollioake for 11. And that’s 223/9. South Africa are well ahead of us on the run rate comparison but we just need to get rid of Allan Donald. The last pair add 13 but Wells is not to be denied and gets the LBW decision on Klusener, who’s 50 off 54 balls nearly won them the game.
Headley picks up man of the match because he’s a hero to us all.
I’ve just seen a graphic that says each team plays each other three times. Christ. South Africa beat Zimbabwe and for some stupid scheduling reason, we’ll play South Africa again next. That will have to wait for next time though, we’ve had as much fun as we can have for one day. Until next time…