TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
THAT Quinton de Kock struck the first century of this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) on Sunday is cause for celebration among South Africans. But how much vicarious pride should we allow ourselves?
De Kock was as vintage as 23-year-olds can be for Delhi Daredevils against Royal Challengers Bangalore, reaching his hundred off 48 balls and finishing with 108 off 51.
He opened the batting and lasted into the 19th over before pulling at a bouncer from Shane Watson and gloving a catch to the wicketkeeper.
De Kock flayed 15 fours – starting with the first ball he faced – and smashed three sixes. Better yet, he outshone a slew of superstars.
Chris Gayle? Gone for a third-ball duck. Virat Kohli? After facing 48 balls he was out for 79. AB de Villiers? A mere 55 off 33.
Such was De Kock’s dominance that his team didn’t need much more than Karun Nair’s unbeaten 54 to reel in their tall target of 192 with seven wickets standing and five balls to spare.
Hooray. In these difficult times for SA cricket, we should be pleased about every ray of light that comes our way.
Not so fast, Herschelle Gibbs said on Monday even as he tried hard not to sound like the grinch who stole crackerjack cricket.
“Not all the bowlers were internationals, and in Bangalore the biggest boundary is 50 or 60 metres and the ball comes on quite nicely,” Gibbs, who knows a thing or two about extravagant batting, said.
“You still need to play your shots properly but the stats say teams chase down scores quite easily at that ground.”
Indeed. Of the 688 international and first-class caps RCB’s six bowlers have won between them, 542 belong to Watson and David Wiese.
De Kock’s hundred, meanwhile, was the 10th scored in the 52 IPL games played at the M Chinnaswamy stadium – where the side batting second have won three of the four T20 internationals the ground has hosted.
Chuffed though Gibbs was for De Kock, he was more interested in De Villiers’ display, which marked his second half-century in as many innings in this year’s IPL.
By contrast, in four trips to the crease for SA in the World T20 in India last month De Villiers reached 50 only once.
“I’m surprised to see how AB de Villiers is suddenly scoring runs when he couldn’t get a run in the WT20,” Gibbs said. “It would have been nice to see some of those performances in the tournament rather than in the IPL.”
Which served to sum up Gibbs’ abiding view of the IPL: “I understand the entertainment value of T20 but it’s only international cricket that really matters.”