October 6, 2002

Gibbs onslaught sinks sorry Banglas

Wisden CricInfo staff

Close South Africa 155 for 0 (20.2 overs: Gibbs 97*, Smith 48*) beat Bangladesh 154 for 9 (50 overs: Ntini 3-28) by ten wickets

A savage onslaught by Herschelle Gibbs guided South Africa to an embarrassingly one-sided ten-wicket win over Bangladesh in the second one-day international at a sun-drenched Willowmoore Park. Gibbs cracked an unbeaten 97 off just 66 balls as South Africa reached their target of 155 with almost 30 overs to spare.

Gibbs began his innings looking for a record his fourth consecutive one-day century. In the end he fell one stroke short. Needing a four to reach his goal, and just one to win the match, he drove Alok Kapali straight but the ball was fielded ten yards in from the boundary. A second straight Man of the Match award was some consolation for Gibbs. Perhaps it was all for the best as it would have been a rather devalued record. Of his three previous centuries, two had come against one-day minnows - Kenya and Bangladesh.

An early finish was almost guaranteed from the moment that Shaun Pollock won the toss and put Bangladesh in. Javed Omar and Hannan Sarkar followed a game plan which appeared to be based on survival rather than scoring runs, and to that extent they succeed. Sarkar finally looked to open up and immediately perished, edging Makhaya Ntini to Adam Boucher for 7 (26 for 1). Four balls later Al-Shahriar Rokon was clean bowled by Ntini for 0 and the innings was following a depressingly familiar pattern.

Omar briefly threatened to play an innings of some substance after a shaky beginning in which he had looked extremely unhappy with the pace of Ntini. When he edged Lance Klusener to Boucher for 24 in the 21st over (46 for 3) the floodgates were opened. A spirited ninth-wicket stand of 37 between Tapash Baisya, and Monjural Islam only delayed the inevitable.

The rare boundaries were cheered enthusiastically by the few hundred flag-waving Bangaladeshi supporters. When Tushar Imran cracked Allan Donald for successive fours they were close to ecstasy, but the pace and experience of South Africa's fast bowlers left the batsmen outclassed.

Once again, Bangladesh were woefully short of being able to compete with the big boys. Their bowling lacked control, their batting generally revolved around crease occuptation rather than run-scoring, and their fielding was poor. To give them as much experience of international cricket as they have had is admirable but they appear to have made little progress. This kind of display does little other than distort the international averages.