TELFORD VICE, Newlands
THE struggling Springboks finally gave South Africans a reason to be cheerful at Newlands on Thursday, but not on they rugby field.
Instead they had a crowd of 7110 cheering down the road at the cricket ground, where they may have helped Hashim Amla get his groove back.
Admittedly, the game was the less than serious Nelson Mandela Legacy Cup, an anuual charity event pitting the Proteas against the Boks over 20 overs.
But the way Amla went about drilling his 94 off 43 balls, eight of them hit for four, another five for six, suggested he could be on his way out of the woods that have stopped him from scoring a century for South Africa in a dozen completed innings across all formats.
Amla’s effort helped the Proteas reach 252/9. They limited the Boks’ reply to 236/9 to register victory by 16 runs.
The result was nothing unusual for a Bok team who have lost eight of the 12 tests they have played this year, including one to Italy.
Other highlights of Thursday’s match were two athletic catches in the deep by winger Sergeal Petersen, centre Damian de Allende’s 55 off 30, Imran Tahir’s furiously serious two overs, in which he took 2/3, and JP Duminy’s very occasional wicketkeeping – replete with two stumpings.
Graeme Smith served as the Boks’ player/coach, and during his innings of 13 confirmed that his technique had not lost any of its rough edges even though he retired more than two years ago.
Faf du Plessis, meanwhile, was greeted by a forest of sucker sticks when he came out to bat, each of them protruding from the mouth of a Bok fielder.
At the time of writing, the International Cricket Council had shown no interest in pressing charges despite what appeared to be multiple flagrant transgressions of law 42.3.