Preview: South Africa chase knock out qualification at Eden Gardens

South Africa keeper Morne van wyk during practice

South Africa chase knock out qualification at Eden Gardens

By Jamie Alter

Kolkata: Mar 15, 2011

Having knocked off India to move towards the quarter-finals, South Africa have Ireland in their sights to secure progression and top Group B in which they are placed third with six points from four matches. Ireland have no option but to win to keep hopes of a place in the quarter-finals alive.

After a thoroughly disappointing loss to England a match they should have won South Africa showed brilliant resilience to overpower India in Nagpur, a win from which Graeme Smith wants to take much forward. “For 25 overs up front we took a beating but for the other 75 we came back really hard and showed some real fight,” he said “The guys showed a lot of composure … to chase down the runs under pressure is great. The confidence you get out of a win like this is huge.”

At 267 for 1 in the 40th over, India looked set to post at least 350. But, inspired by Dale Steyn, South Africa grabbed nine wickets for 29 runs and that ultimately proved the difference between defeat and victory. Then, as the run rate began to spiral, South Africa s lower order displayed commendable spirit to steal a three-wicket win in the final over. It is from such bravado that Smith hopes to run over Ireland, though he knows what the Associates nation is capable of, even if they haven t quite touched the lofty heights of Bangalore.

Ireland did manage to stretch India and West Indies before losing, but against arguably the best bowling attack in the tournament their skill will be severely tested. The likes of William Porterfield, yet to do anything in the tournament, Ed Joyce and the O’Brien brothers – Kevin and Niall — surely know how to bat but consistency has been their main problem.

Ireland they have a major worry in the form of an injury to their in-form pacer Trent Johnston. Johnston, the former Ireland captain, picked up a knee injury and remains a concern as the team seeks to win their remaining two games.

Eden Gardens will also have its performance scrutinised after renovation delays led to an earlier World Cup game being moved to another venue. The venue, which has a capacity of 90,000, has hosted many a thriller but this one looks rather a mismatch.

South Africa (Probable): Graeme Smith (c), Hashim Amla, Jaques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Morne van Wyk (wk), Faf du Plessis, Johan Botha, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel

Ireland (Probable): William Porterfield (c), Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Niall O Brien (wk), Gary Wilson, Kevin O Brien, Alex Cusack, John Mooney, Trent Johnston, George Dockrell, Boyd Rankin.

Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) and Billy Doctrove (West Indies)

Time: 14:30 local (09.00 GMT)

(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine. His first book, The History of World Cup Cricket, is out now. His twitter feed is @jamie_alter)

Pictures Getty Images

By Jamie Alter

Kolkata: Mar 15, 2011

Having knocked off India to move towards the quarter-finals, South Africa have Ireland in their sights to secure progression and top Group B in which they are placed third with six points from four matches. Ireland have no option but to win to keep hopes of a place in the quarter-finals alive.

After a thoroughly disappointing loss to England a match they should have won South Africa showed brilliant resilience to overpower India in Nagpur, a win from which Graeme Smith wants to take much forward. “For 25 overs up front we took a beating but for the other 75 we came back really hard and showed some real fight,” he said “The guys showed a lot of composure … to chase down the runs under pressure is great. The confidence you get out of a win like this is huge.”
At 267 for 1 in the 40th over, India looked set to post at least 350.

But, inspired by Dale Steyn, South Africa grabbed nine wickets for 29 runs and that ultimately proved the difference between defeat and victory. Then, as the run rate began to spiral, South Africa s lower order displayed commendable spirit to steal a three-wicket win in the final over. It is from such bravado that Smith hopes to run over Ireland, though he knows what the Associates nation is capable of, even if they haven t quite touched the lofty heights of Bangalore.

Ireland did manage to stretch India and West Indies before losing, but against arguably the best bowling attack in the tournament their skill will be severely tested. The likes of William Porterfield, yet to do anything in the tournament, Ed Joyce and the O’Brien brothers – Kevin and Niall — surely know how to bat but consistency has been their main problem.

Ireland they have a major worry in the form of an injury to their in-form pacer Trent Johnston. Johnston, the former Ireland captain, picked up a knee injury and remains a concern as the team seeks to win their remaining two games. Eden Gardens will also have its performance scrutinised after renovation delays led to an earlier World Cup game being moved to another venue. The venue, which has a capacity of 90,000, has hosted many a thriller but this one looks rather a mismatch.

Teams:

South Africa (Probable): Graeme Smith (c), Hashim Amla, Jaques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Morne van Wyk (wk), Faf du Plessis, Johan Botha, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel.

Ireland (Probable): William Porterfield (c), Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Niall O Brien (wk), Gary Wilson, Kevin O Brien, Alex Cusack, John Mooney, Trent Johnston, George Dockrell, Boyd Rankin.

Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) and Billy Doctrove (West Indies).

Time: 14:30 local (09.00 GMT).

(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine. His first book, The History of World Cup Cricket, is out now. His twitter feed is @jamie_alter)

Pictures Getty Images