Before the semifinal game between South Africa and England, there was a heightened anticipation among cricket-crazy fans, and everyone hoped for a humdinger of a contest. But unfortunately, in the end it panned out to be a drab and dull affair with England’s Mr Reliable, Trott, sealing South Africa’s fate by playing a typical gritty knock.
Snapshots for today’s game:
South Africa press the panic button
As soon as the men from the Rainbow nation qualify for the knock phase of a big-ticket ICC tournament, they seem to get panicky. The way most of South Africa’s batsmen played today, one felt they had an urgent appointment with the President of South Africa. No wonder they are known as perennial ‘chokers.’
James Anderson – Cheetah on prowl
James Anderson is a fine bowler in all conditions, but when he generates prodigious swing, he becomes doubly dangerous. He is rightly compared to a cheetah. While catching its prey, stealth plays a key role for cheetahs. They employ tricks like moving low in the grass, approaching from down-wind and using small rises in the land to disguise their approach.
Up against South Africa, Anderson put up a virtuoso exhibition of swing bowling, and just like a cheetah, ambushed the South African top-order with stealth, and delivered the coup-de-grace. With his two-card trick, he dismissed Ingram. He did something similar to Robin Peterson, but this time around, from around the wicket. With Tredwell snaring three wickets too, South Africa’s chances of making a good fist of the match evaporated into thin air.
Bob Willis with binoculars?
When the ball was changed, while South Africa was in the field, one wondered whether England’s former fast bowler and captain, Bob Willis, was watching the game on TV with binoculars in his hand. During the last week, his rant about alleged ball tampering by Anderson and company without any proof was funny and didn’t make much sense.
Ian Bell – Caught by the wicket-keeper
Whether England win or lose, one fact that doesn’t seem to change is Ian Bell playing a pretty knock, before opening the face of the bat, and guiding it to the wicket-keeper or slips. It must be frustrating for fans of Bell to watch him time and again get out in the same manner.
England’s Mr Reliable
Cricket fans won’t pay to watch Trott bat in an art gallery, but that won’t bother the consistency-personified Trott. At the crease, he bats with an uncluttered mind, and plays each ball on its merit. His job is to erect large edifices for the middle-order to take advantage of. While chasing a small target against South Africa, the way England’s Mr Reliable played, it seemed like he could bat until the cows came home.
To their credit, England put out a thoroughly professional performance, and now, they have a very good chance of winning the coveted ICC Champions Trophy for the first time.