It was déjà vu for South Africa as they raced to another landslide win in the ICC World Cup 2015. The game at the Manuka Oval at Canberra bore such a stark similarity to the previous matches that it was almost uncanny. South Africa raced to yet another landslide win by 201 runs as Ireland were simply outclassed in all departments. As for other teams, it is a lesson that if they let a couple of them from the Proteas top order score big, the game is virtually a no-contest.
1. Quinton de Kock’s early blow: Ireland were fired up the early stages and Quinton de Kock was dismissed by John Mooney, who was spot on in his early spell. The burly Irish pacer had De Kock tied up at the crease and the batsman ended up nicking the ball to the keeper. The decision was initially given not out by Ranmore Martinez but the Irish were sure of the nick from the South African wicket-keeper’s bat. The decision was referred and was given out. Ireland were ‘Kock’-a-hoop and were on the march after playing with such authority in the first two games of theirs. Catch the Full Video Highlights of then match here
2. Ed Joyce’s costly miss off Hashim Amla: The Irish have always prided on their fielding. Unlike other Associalte Nations, (Afghanistan in particular), they have always been holding on their catches like seasoned professionals ever since they burst onto the scene. South Africa had just lost De Kock and were looking a tad vulnerable. Amla pulled Kevin O’Brien but William Porterfield had a man at short mid-wicket and it was the old warhorse Ed Joyce. The ball came at a nice height and a top professional out to have been holding on those. He spooned the catch and there was anguish written large on each and every Irish fielder as they knew how costly that drop would go on to be. The afternoon simply snowballed miserably from there for Men in Green.
3. Rilee Rossouw — South Africa’s fastest rising player: With three consecutive ducks after being drafted into the side, nobody would have predicted such a rise to the top. So much so, that the southpaw can actually hold his own against the stalwarts of the South African top order. Leading up to the tournament, wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock was injured and that opened up a slot for Rossouw. At this moment, he can do no wrong. As an opener, he flourished. Being slotted back to the middle order, he is growing from strength-to-strength with every passing game. South Africa lost a couple of quick wickets with centurions Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis perishing within close proximity of each other. In came Rossouw and just like the game against West Indies, he was in a punishing mood from the word go and tore into the Irish bowlers. Instrumental in the side going past 400, Rossouw has gone a long way in solidifying the somewhat brittle look of the South African lower middle order. Also Read: ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Schedule: Complete Fixtures & Time Table of all Cricket World Cup 2015 Matches.
4. Faf du Plessis , Hashim Amla make merry: Ireland would have learnt a valuable lesson to not drop catches off big players. After dropping Amla, Faf du Plessis and Amla went about their business with total ease. There was not a moment or a passage of play where the two batsmen looked in any sort of trouble and were slamming fours and sixes with ease. Amla, at one stage was slogging sixes and looked slightly out of character; almost like he wanted to fit in with the others Proteas in their top six. The bowling nosedived too and despite staying upbeat and confident, Irish bowlers were in for a pasting. Faf was doing his AB de Villiers tribute; full of dabs and reverse sweeps and showing how one can play cricket while doing yoga too. Amla was piercing the gaps effortlessly and runs were coming thick and fast. Amla got his 20th hundred and is now one behind Herschelle Gibbs on the South African list. Amla also became the fastest to reach 20 hundreds, beating Virat Kohli’s record by a fair distance.
5. Kyle Abbott’s rise: The South African bowling lineup reads a peerless Dale Steyn and the terrifying Morne Morkel. Throw Vernon Philander in the mix and you have a pace treat — complete in every sense. When Philander’s injury forced him out of the squad, in came Kyle Aboott and he has sparkled with the ball so far. He was in such fine for against West Indies and has continued it at Canberra too. Always known as a bowler with heart and aggression, Abbott has had his moments in his fledgling career, with the eight wicket burst in his first Test being a high point. Recently cut to ribbons by Chris Gayle in a T20 match leading up to the tournament, Abbott came for much criticism. The pacer has bounced back in style and looks to have cemented a place in the side.