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A B de Villiers will probably save a few
people from a burning building on the
way home from Wellington Regional
The South African cricket captain
seems to be able to do anything at the
moment and he played a big hand in his
side’s 146-run win over the UAE in the
His sporting exploits as a youth are the
stuff of legend in his homeland and his
stature in international cricketing circles
continues to grow.
Making 99 and taking 2-15 against the
UAE probably will not be mentioned in
his career highlights but it continued
his trend of producing eye-popping
He is averaging more than 80 at the
World Cup with the bat and less than
20 with the ball — admittedly he has
not bowled a lot — but it is hard to keep
him out of the game.
Bear in mind his gentle medium-
pacers are rarely spotted as he also has
the ability to wicket-keep, which he
did in the earlier stages of his one-day
When he was caught at short third
man tonight he became only the third
player to be dismissed for 99 at a World
Cup, after Adam Gilchrist and JP
Duminy; it was also the 27th instance of
someone scoring that figure in a one-day
The runs de Villiers provided were the
backbone of his side’s 341-6 from their
50 overs after they lost the toss and were
invited to bat first by the struggling
There were other contributions along
the way — namely a rapid, unbeaten 64
from all-rounder Farhaan Behardien —
but it was de Villiers who stood out.
In pursuit of their second mammoth
target in eight days, the UAE showed
little interest in making a game of it as
they appeared more content to soak up
South Africa only needed to take
nine wickets as UAE seamer Fahad
Alhashmi did not bat due to injury and
they eventually succumbed for 195 in
the 48th over.
The loss was the UAE’s fifth from
as many games at the World Cup and
tonight ’s game had a similar feel to their
defeat against Pakistan last Wednesday.
That night they needed to make 340
to claim an unlikely win but they posted
210/8 from their 50 overs. It was close
UAE skipper Mohammad Tauqir
attempted to defend their approach
after the loss to Pakistan by saying they
did not want to suffer a heavy defeat.
“ In pursuit of 350 we didn’t want to
get out in 30 overs and make a mockery
of ourselves. Plan was to keep wickets
in hand, build a partnership and in
last 10-15 overs we need to attack.
Unfortunately (we lost) a few early
wickets so we need to slow down and
build partnerships. ”
One could argue the UAE have
equally made a mockery of themselves
by simply batting for time and delaying
an inevitable result.
Either way, South Africa, who were
upset by Pakistan last Saturday, will be
pleased to book the competition points
and they have all but secured second
place in pool B behind India.
The Proteas seem destined to meet
Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals next
week in what looms as a meeting of two
powerful batting line-ups.
Sri Lanka boast the likes of Kumar
Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and
Mahela Jayawardene, while South
Africa have Hashim Amla and that man
AB de Villiers. — NZ ME
Friday, March 13, 2015
Brendon McCullum is becoming
one of New Zealand sport’s iconic
leaders; Tim Southee and Trent Boult
are a new-ball partnership for the ages;
Kane Williamson is on a fast track
to becoming the country’s greatest
All are magnetic storylines, but
quietly wheeling away in the back-
ground is a man who, across the
formats, is one of New Zealand’s all-
time greats. And Daniel Vettori may
still emerge as the key component in
New Zealand’s World Cup challenge.
A Great Uncle Bulgaria-like figure
in a team full of Tomsks, Vettori is
often put for ward as the team’s voice of
reason. When things were threatening
to get all tabloid before New Zealand’s
trans-Tasman clash at Eden Park,
there was Vettori put up to say that he
had never been sledged in 17 years of
If that had all the makings of a Tui
billboard, his next inter vention rang
more true. There was a thought that
New Zealand’s relatively easy passage
through pool A had left a few boxes
unchecked, particularly the middle-
order batting, but Vettori put the
doubters in their place by saying
box-ticking was nothing more than a
media construct and that all they were
worried about was winning.
He may no longer be a neon-lit
cricketer, but he is the glue that holds
this potent attack together. If one
of the seamers is having an off day
(as Southee, pictured, was against
Australia), throw Vettori on early.
Hold the score in check during the
middle overs, Vettori is your man.
There’s a Williamson T-shirt doing
the rounds that says “Steady the Ship”,
and it could equally apply to Vettori at
the bowling crease. “It’s the experience
he’s been able to build over a long
period of time,” McCullum said.
“The physique of the guy has
changed a lot — so has the beard and
the back hair. His development as a
cricketer throughout his career has
been phenomenal. He’s referred to as
a bit of a wizard, too, from the teams
in Australia and his art and ability to
read a game, use a change of pace, is
something not too many other guys
around the world have.
“A couple of years ago he was
struggling for fitness and what we’ve
seen is a guy who has gone away and
worked incredibly hard, and to still
have that inner drive to be part of a
New Zealand team and give himself a
chance to achieve something special.”
That he has 12 wickets already, just
one behind Southee and Boult and
one ahead of next best spinner Ravi
Ashwin, is something of a bonus to
McCullum. Vettori has not been a
renowned wicket-taker for some time.
He is the guy the opposition have been
content to milk for a low-risk four an
over, while targeting the guy at the
To highlight Vettori’s continuing
pre-eminence as a finger spinner,
we have looked at every ball he has
delivered at the World Cup, looking
not just at the value of the outcome
but also what the batsman was trying
This has been divided into three
modes: defence, attack and working.
These are subjective categories that
are not necessarily outcome-based,
but still give a picture of how difficult
batsmen, even in these run-friendly
conditions, find it to “get ” to Vettori.
Defence is when a batsman is not
trying to score a run. They are simply
trying to keep it out and move on
to the next ball. On occasions, runs
might be scored, with a squirted inside
or outside edge eluding the keeper,
but for all intents and purposes, the
batsman was not attempting to score.
Attack is a category for boundary
hitting. To be regarded as an attacking
shot in this context, the batsman
must be trying to reach the rope. It
still might be a dot ball — there were
several attacking shots by Australians
that found fielders inside the circle —
but the intent was clear.
The third category is when the
batsman is looking to work the ball
into a gap for a single. There are three
main shots here: the push down the
ground to long on or long off; the
working off the legs into gaps on the
onside; or trying to work the ball out
through point or cover to the offside
sweeper. Some are arguable, like
whether a sweep is trying to access
the boundary or is simply turning
over strike, but for the purposes of
this exercise a slog sweep is “attack”, a
paddle-sweep is “working ”.
What stands out is that even though
batsmen know they need to be more
positive against Vettori, they still
struggle to find balls they can attack.
Of the legal deliveries he has bowled,
batsmen have only tried to find the
boundary 11.8% of the time.
Compare that to 36% of his deliveries
where the strikers have not attempted
to score at all and it tells of a bowler at
the top of his craft.
Vettori the glue to New Zealand’s potent attack
CRICKET WORLD CUP
Captain fantastic de Villiers
PICTURE: Getty Images
South African captain AB de Villiers plays a shot in yesterday’s pool B match
against the United Arab Emirates at the Wellington Regional Stadium.
Grey swimmers chase NZ honours
Greymouth Swimming Club members Mason Hunt, left, Mitchell Robinson, Rachel Crawford and
Ben Whitmore are set to head off to the New Zealand Division II swim meet, in Dunedin next week.
They were the only competitors from the West Coast to meet the qualifying times, set by Swim New
Zealand, to race in the contest which will be held over four days, starting on Wednesday and finishing
on Friday. The four will be competing against swimmers from all around New Zealand. Whitmore and
Crawford attended the same event last year in Hamilton. Mason and Crawford are competing in the
14yrs age group, Robinson in the 15yrs and Whitmore the 16-18yrs.
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