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Fab Faf Strikes Again

December 22nd 2012 11:10
The second in line to the throne of South African Test captaincy took his chance at the helm yesterday, in a mauling of New Zealand. Both sides had new captains, the hosts South Africa chose Faf Du Plessis to take charge, while the touring Kiwi’s have had some recent controversy over captaincy which had led Brendon McCullum taking over from Ross Taylor. Du Plessis is expected to be a future Proteas captain in the longest form of the game, but this will be after the era’s of Graeme Smith and AB De Villiers are over. McCullum however has taken over after some large scale friction within the Black Caps camp, Ross Taylor was asked to step down as the captain of the shorter formats, but remain as Test captain, he refused and has now put himself in some self imposed exile, with McCullum taking over in all forms.

To the game, both sides had experimental sides with an array of debutants on show. South Africa gave Henry Davids, Quentin De Kock and Chris Morris debuts, all had shown great form in South African domestic cricket this year. They also gave opportunities to Behardien and David Miller with the bat,, and Rory Kleinveldt with the ball. The Black Caps gave out 4 debut caps to Corey Anderson, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jimmy Neesham and Colin Munro. With all the new faces it was hard to predict a result, but I think South Africa were just about favourites.

New Zealand won the toss in Durban, and decided to have a bat. They got off to a bit of a slow start, and lost their first wicket to Kleinveldt’s first delivery, Rob Nicol caught behind for 3. This was the start of a procession of going to and subsequently, from the middle. Fulton (9), McCullum (6) and Franklin (0) all failed on a pitch that was offering some uneven bounce for the bowlers, but not much else. Anderson and Nathan McCullum came and went very quickly, for 5 and 1 respectively. Next came a couple of partnerships that threatened to get the Kiwi’s back into it, Munro combined with Neesham (10) and then Doug Bracewell (21*) to try and get the score up to a respectable one, they couldn’t as the home bowlers got a grip and finished off the innings. Debutant Munro top scored with 23 from 18 balls, while only 2 other batsmen reached double figures. Rory Kleinveldt came away with excellent figures of 3-18, and the left arm spinner Robin Peterson was superb in taking 2-8 from his 4 overs. New Zealand were all out for 86 in 18.2 over's.

South Africa celebrate as Rob Nicol walks off early in the Kiwi innings.

Kiwi debutant McClenaghan removed Richard Levi in the first over, which turned out to be a maiden as the tourists looked to put some pressure on the chase. However, the exerted pressure didn’t last long as debutant Davids, who performed superbly in the CLT20, took on the bowlers. He produced some magnificent shots, the best of which was a booming cover drive which bounced just once before going over the rope. Davids was removed by spinner Ronnie Hira for 20 from 13 balls. This was to be the last wicket though as captain Faf Du Plessis and debutant Quentin De Kock finished the game off with consummate ease. Du Plessis made 38* while left hander De Kock looked un-troubled for his first 28 international runs. South Africa won by 8 wickets with 44 balls remaining. Rory Kleinveldt took Man of the Match for his bowling efforts, and now Brendon McCullum’s New Zealand will go off and lick their wounds ahead of the next 2 T20 matches in the series.

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