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Posts Tagged ‘ab devillers’

The second season of the IPL (or the first season of the SAPL, if you prefer) gets underway this weekend, so here’s the lowdown on the teams taking part:

Bangalore Royal Challengers
Bangalore’s main pre-season activity was the purchase of Kevin Pietersen and KP will join a host of his fellow countrymen in Kallis, Steyn and Boucher. Last year the Royal Challengers finished seventh of eight teams, with only 4 wins, and Rahul Dravid didn’t look much of a Twenty20 batsman last time out, so it is to be hoped that the signing of Pietersen and the availability of Nathan Bracken following injury last year will improve things.

Zaheer Khan has departed to the Mumbai Indians in a swap deal for Robin Uthappa, but Steyn and Bracken – when available – should be enough to keep the bowling up to standard. Nevertheless, the Royal Challengers are unlikely to be amongst the favourites for the competition this year (although as Rajasthan showed last year, the odds may not be a fair indicator of each team’s relative chances).

Chennai Super Kings
Initial indications are that Chennai look strong again this year. Matthew Hayden’s retirement from international cricket means he is available for the whole competition, and new signing Andrew Flintoff, if fit, could potentially be the archetypal IPL all-rounder. In addition, MS Dhoni remains a potent threat.

Last season, the Super Kings lost out to Rajasthan in the final on the last ball, and the squad looks good enough to go one better this time around if fortune (and fitness) favours the Super Kings.

Delhi Daredevils
Dehli have been hit by the loss of Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Asif, but have added Australian master blaster David Warner and English duo Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah. Perhaps most important of their new additions is ‘Dirty’ Dirk Nannes, a Twenty20 specialist who has been part of successful Middlesex and Victoria teams in the shortest form of the game.

Dehli also have the likes of Sehwag, Gambhir, Vettori, de Villiers and McGrath at their disposal, so if the Daredevils can get the make-up of their side right, they have a strong chance of success. The fact that most of their overseas stars will be available throughout may lead to the odd selection problem, but they will be problems of the sort that other franchises would like to have.

Deccan Chargers
Last year’s wooden-spoon winners in dead last place, the Chargers suffered heavily in the batting department as Shahid Afridi, Scott Styris and even Herschelle Gibbs failed to live up to expectations. he has been recalled, and they have a preponderance of all-rounders having also added Dwayne Smith and Ryan Harris.

RP Singh is also under pressure after a disappointing season last year, as is Chaminda Vaas, and Fidel Edwards’s arrival should improve the effectiveness of the bowling unit. In all, there is some hope for a better performance this year, although it would be hard for the Chargers to do any worse.

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The brief interlude of the two Twenty20 matches between the Test series and the ODIs, combined with the absence of Graeme Smith, seems to have taken the wind out of South Africa’s sails a little. As well as the two defeats, stand-in captain Johan Botha also has the headache of slow over rates to deal with – he was fined 10% of his match fee on Tuesday for Saffer tardiness in the field.

Botha can at least console himself with the knowledge that AB deVilliers and Jacques Kallis have both recovered from the injuries which kept them out of the second Twenty20 match, and with the good form of JP Duminy, who’ll be looking to make some big scores following a disappointing ODI series in England.

Australia, meanwhile, are brimming with regained confidence in the shorter form, and will be looking to capitalise on their Twenty20 success as the series moves on to 50-over matches. The two teams haven’t actually met in an ODI since the last World Cup, and Australia’s last defeat to South Africa was the celebrated run-fest in Johannesburg, when even 434/4 from 50 overs wasn’t enough to secure victory for the Aussies.

The most interesting sub-plot in the ODI series is the question of who will open the batting for Australia alongside Shaun Marsh. Michael Clarke is a strong possibility, as is James Hopes, but it’s also possible that someone could come out of left field to make the slot their own.

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Australia’s bowling attack has been crying out for someone to back up Mitchell Johnson in the wicket-taking stakes, and Peter ‘Vicious’ Siddle seems to have volunteered. He took the wickets of Smith, Devilliers and McKenzie as Australia put South Africa well and truly on the back foot in the Boxing Day Test.

Stuart Clark’s recovery from injury may now be more of a pressing subject for the consideration of Brett Lee (13-2-68-0) than it was a couple of days ago.

The tourists, meanwhile, are in trouble.

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The Saffers pulled it off, chasing down a massive 414 run fourth-innings target in Perth with seeming ease.

Following Graeme Smith‘s valuable contribution yesterday, the bulk of the runs today were scored by AB deVilliers, but with Duminy and Kallis chipping in half-centuries.

One of the positives that Australia will be able to take out of the match, if they are looking to do so, is the fine performance of Mitchell Johnson, who took 11-159 in the match as the rest of the Aussie attack struggled in the fourth innings.

This is sure to go down as a famous victory for the tourists, but South Africa still have a lot of work to do before they can claim to have overhauled the Aussies as the best side in the world.

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There are, in my opinion, two types of run out.

There is the type which is due to fantastic fielding, which South Africa seem to specialise in: see this AB Devillers effort, this flying leap from Jonty Rhodes, or similar athleticism from Herschelle Gibbs for proof. Even their domestic cricket seems to be full of such occurrences.

The other type of run out is where the blame lies entirely at the feet of one or both of the batsmen involved. South Africa are no strangers to this type, either. Perhaps my favourite example, though, is this double play. The first batsmen run out isn’t even holding a bat as he tries to make his ground.

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