AB de Villiers won’t play any part in the next two one-day internationals against New Zealand after being suspended by the ICC for a slow over rate. The rest of the side, meanwhile, was fined 100% of its match fees. For a side which just lost to the Black Caps when they really shouldn’t have, maybe it’s the rude awakening they needed to get back on track. By ANT SIMS.
If AB de Villiers wants to focus on his captaincy and communicate better with his bowlers as he and the coach so insisted before the one-day series against New Zealand, he might have to focus on it off the field in the next two matches.
The South African skipper has been suspended for the following two one-day internationals against New Zealand for a slow over rate, while the players have been fined 100% of their match fees.
The Proteas were ruled six overs short of their target at the end of the match when time allowances were taken into consideration, and David Boon of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees imposed the suspension.
De Villiers pleaded guilty and accepted the proposed sanction and, as a result, there was no need for a formal hearing.
According to the section of the ICC Code of Conduct (the “Code”) which deals with slow over rates, a captain receives two suspension points for slow overs while the players are fined 10% of their match fees for each of the first two overs short. Thereafter, they are fined % every additional over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time.
David Miller has been called up as a replacement batsman, but with a number of batsmen already in the side and vying for a spot, selectors will be scratching their heads over who exactly will play in the next match in Kimberley.
Faf du Plessis has been named as captain in the meantime, and although Hashim Amla is the official vice-captain, he asked not to be considered for the role so that he could focus on his batting. Du Plessis has entrenched himself within the heartbeat of the South African squad in the last few months, and was the natural choice to fill in for De Villiers in the two matches.
For De Villiers, the suspension might be a blessing in disguise. However, despite waxing lyrical with all the usual words about pride and room for improvement, he was visibly irked at the post-match press conference on Saturday.
“To not bat for the full 50 overs in one-day cricket is a sin,” the South African captain quipped after his side went down by one wicket to a New Zealand side that pulled a great escape in the blazing heat of the Boland on the weekend.
The South African team battled its way to 208 in 46.2 overs – thanks to the evergreen Du Plessis, who notched up 57 off 72 on a day where neither side was particularly impressive and proceedings were sluggish.
New Zealand won the toss and chose to bowl first – something De Villiers admitted his side would have done, too. However, there was seemingly no chemistry at the top of the order as the top four were bundled out for 56 in 21 overs.
The middle order also struggled, and despite a late blitz from Rory Kleinveldt, with the bowler hitting three sixes to chip in with 26 off 20, the hosts still only managed a measly total of 208.
It wasn’t quite good enough, given that they were playing on a rather slow and frustrating pitch where the ball didn’t really come onto the bat much.
The task for the bowlers was always going to be tricky, and the Proteas got off to a good start, with New Zealand losing a couple of wickets early on. De Villiers himself completed a spectacular run out just like in the old days.
Despite BJ Watling’s effort of 45 off 78, the Black Caps looked down and out; and with eight wickets down, a win should never have been on the cards for the visitors.
Yet, somehow, South Africa’s seemed to drop the intensity which got them into such a strong position in the first place, and James Franklin stayed as cool as ice. His 47 off 78 helped the Black Caps to an unlikely win.
At the end of a gruelling day on the field, he pumped his fists in triumph in the New Zealand dressing room, surrounded by ecstatic players. The 37-degree heat combined with power failures at the ground which interrupted the ability to use DRS and, given the lingering scars from the Black Caps’ Test thrashing, it couldn’t have been an easy day for them.
Yet they managed to eke out a win, and while there has been much talk of team culture in the Test side and how the Test team has matured and come into its own, it still seems to be seriously lacking in the ODI side.
With experienced campaigners like JP Duminy and Jacques Kallis missing, and a whole bunch of new faces in the side, it seems as though there is a spark missing – a spark that ignited the discipline and set the wheels of a well-oiled machine in motion.
Maybe, just maybe, the kick up the backside for ill-discipline in their over rates will be what the one-day side needs get back on track.
South Africa 206 all out; 46.2 overs.
Faf du Plessis 57 (72), Ryan McLaren 33 (39); Mitchell McClenaghan 10-2-20-4, Kane Williamson 7.2-0-22-4
New Zealand 209-9; 45.4 overs
BJ Watling 45 (78), James Franklin 47* (61),
Ryan McLaren 8.4-0-46-4, Rory Kleinveldt 9-0-37-2 DM
Photo: South Africa’s AB de Villiers plays a shot against Sri Lanka during their Twenty20 World Cup cricket match in Hambantota September 22, 2012. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte
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