South Africa Too Strong For PCA MastersPosted on: 15 August 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
South Africa beat the PCA Masters by 23 runs in Wednesday’s eagerly awaited Twenty20 match at the Wormsley Cricket Ground in Buckinghamshire.
Over 2,000 fans poured in to see the South African superstars strut their stuff in a fixture that precedes the Proteas Twenty20 match with England at the Riverside next week.
Senior players Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher, Dale Steyn and current captain Graeme Smith were all given a rest after their successful test series win against England.
Johan Botha took over the captaincy for the first time, won the toss and elected to bat first. Despite a few heavy downpours, the game was able to go ahead with only a slight delay.
The Proteas got off to a flyer, reaching 27 from just three overs before Dougie Brown had Herschelle Gibbs (18) caught by Vikram Solanki at mid-wicket.
Justin Ontong joined Hashim Amla at the crease and the pair added a brisk 54 for the second wicket, before off-spinner Gareth Batty dismissed Amla for 31 from 23 deliveries.
Despite the ever-changing conditions, South Africa had plenty of momentum at this stage and although AB de Villiers fell cheaply (5), Ontong (46) and exciting youngster JP Duminy (30*) pushed the score on at a pace.
Albie Morkel produced a superb cameo innings, coming in at number six, smashing 35 not out from just 21 deliveries, including three 4s and two 6s, taking the Proteas to a highly competitive 181-4 from their 20 overs.
Dougie Brown (2-32) and Worcestershire’s Gareth Batty (1-25) were the pick of the Masters bowlers.
The Masters reply stuttered at the start, with skipper Knight (8) and Solanki (2) both falling cheaply, before a superb third wicket partnership of 75 in just six overs from former Kiwi international Nathan Astle and Worcestershire’s Stephen Moore.
Astle fell for 26 but Moore continued blazing the South African attack to all parts of the ground, confirming his reputation for a sweet striker of the ball. He eventually fell for 52, the highest score of the day, from just 33 deliveries. Despite sixes struck by Ali Brown (8) and Chris Lewis (7), the experienced Masters went down fighting, just 23 runs short.
Albie Morkel was named man of the match, adding fantastic bowling figures of 3-29 to his innings of 35 not out.
After the game, losing Masters captain Knight declared South Africa worthy winners.
“They’ve got tremendous strength in depth, a real close-knit squad and they all seem to just love going about their daily business as South Africa’s best players,” said Knight.
“We thought we had them when Stephen Moore and Nathan Astle were in but they showed real character to fight back and they deserved their win.”
“England are in for a very tough game next week - when these boys [South Africa] are fine tuned they’re one of the best one-day teams in the world.”
Did you go to the game? Can England go where the Masters failed and beat South Africa in Twenty20? Is Kevin Pietersen the right man to captain England?
Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment in the box below. Alternatively, share your thoughts in the 50connect forums.
For the full scorecard from the PCA Masters defeat to South Africa, visit Cric Info.
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