Preview: South Africa look to run through Netherlands

South Africa would seek to put Netherlands firmly in place

By Suneer Chowdhary


Mohali: Mar 2, 2011


Very few teams in the World Cup, if any, possess a balance in the bowling attack as South Africa does. Based on the pitch and the prediction about the conditions in the second half, the side can tweak things around with the combination and yet, get it right.

So, when they take on Netherlands in the day game at the PCA in Mohali, it wouldn t be a surprise if South Africa decide to test the Dutch with a bit of pace than spin. Not that the Netherlands have great players of spin bowling. Far from it. However, the track at Mohali is one of the rare ones in the country which allow the pace bowlers to come into their own.

And then, Graeme Smith may not want to over-expose Imran Tahir against the minnow sides, especially after it has been reported that the leggie has been suffering from a respiratory ailment ever since he left Delhi.

Good chance then, that Lonwabo Tsotsobe will make his World Cup debut at Mohali.

Jacques Kallis had finally made his comeback to the side against West Indies after missing the entire India series back home. He did not bat or bowl much but the side would have been boosted by his presence. Given that Kallis is one of the fitter cricketers around the world, he should get going with both, the bat and the ball soon.

In fact, against the slightly lesser side in Netherlands could be his best chance to bat for as long as possible and get a few more overs in without the fear of getting hit too much.

Not if Ryan ten Doeschate can help though. He can give the ball a fair whack when in flow and could just find the pace to his liking. After an excellent game against England, he failed with the bat and the ball in the West Indies game, which could fire him up playing against the place of his birth.

But the Dutch side will require much more than a ten Doeschate alone to harbour hopes of running the title-contenders close. Australian-born Tom Cooper followed up his 47 with a 55 in the second match and is a pivot around which the side revolves.

Then, in the bowling, there is Pieter Seelaar, who has grabbed the mantle of being the lone spinner in the side with both hands. Not only has he picked four wickets in the two games, but he has also looked a part, more so when he showed no nerves while bowling at Kieron Pollard.

Where the Dutch bowling exhibits its inexperience is the medium-pace department. While not much can be had by way of pace, the least they can help the side is by not losing their lines as regularly as they have in the last couple of games.

Netherlands may find it worth a go. Despite the obviously pace-helping nature of the track, getting in an extra spinner could assist their endeavour to keep the batsmen quiet. Opening with a spinner, especially while bowling second could be a tactic they may want to consider too.

That said, if Netherlands were looking at an upset win, their most realistic chance to do so was against England and West Indies. Against South Africa, it will be a notch higher than so far.

Teams

South Africa (Probable): Graeme Smith (c), Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (wk), Faf du Plessis, Jean-Paul Duminy, Robin Peterson, Andre Botha, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Netherlands (Probable): Alexei Kervezee, Wesley Barresi (wk), Tom Cooper, Ryan ten Doeschate, Tom de Grooth, Bas Zuiderent, Peter Borren (c), Adeel Raja, Mudassar Bukhari, Pieter Seelar, Berend Westdijk.

Umpires: Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka) and Richard Kettleborough (England).

Time: 09.30 hours local (04.00 GMT).

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here: @suneerchowdhary)


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