Titans v Sixers, 2nd semi-final, CLT20, Centurion October 26, 2012

Cool Cummins does it again

Pat Cummins was the Sixers' finisher but their impressive starts with ball and bat were just as important

You know you are witnessing a good cricket match when the advantage veers to and fro with the unpredictability of a runaway train and then a moment of magic happens. Like when Pat Cummins cleared long-on to put Sydney within sniffing distance of the final.

Or when Cummins grounded his bat just before a direct hit came in. Or when he took the bye that put Sydney into the final and dumped the Titans out. This match was full of moments like those.

Cummins featured in many of them, as he cost his team runs with the ball but earned them back with the bat. While excitement see-sawed with almost every move he was involved in, Cummins showed little sense of being affected, especially after struggling with ball in hand.

"If he was [upset after his bowling], he didn't show it," Corey Richards said, adding that he had full confidence that Cummins would be able to handle the final few deliveries. After all, he had done as much in a Test match in this country less than a year ago. "For such a young guy, he is very cool under pressure. Some people are cooler than others when the game is on the line and when you do it more than once, it's not a fluke."

Cummins was one of the players Sydney were thought to have to protect during this tournament, as injuries have already studded his fledgling career. While he is under a monitoring program, Man of the Match Steve O'Keefe mentioned Cummins' maturity as an indicator of how he can manage himself.

"It is remarkable. Sometimes when you are talking to him, you forget that you are chatting to a 19-year old," O'Keefe said. "He is growing into a young man and he is such a talent, that it's important that we let him be comfortable in his own skin and let his cricket look after itself."

While Cummins will be lauded as the late star, Sydney may prefer to praise the players who featured in the first parts of both innings because that's where the contest was decided. After restricting the Titans to 32 runs from their first five overs, they blasted 54 runs in the first quarter of their own innings.

The Titans were made to come back both times and Martin van Jaarsveld, their captain, felt that the second was a bridge too far for them. "I thought we were down and out with the bat," he said. "But [Henry] Davids played a good anchor role and I have been talking [David] Wiese up from the first press conference so was glad he proved me right.

"The emotions are running high because we got ourselves out of a deep hole to get over 160 but then to go out and go and bowl, we were just nowhere."

Although the Titans took the match to the last ball, van Jaarsveld maintained that the early damage was irreparable in the end. "They got off to a flier and that cost us the game," he said.

It marked the end of the road for a local side who looked the team to beat after their first two matches. They overcame Perth and Auckland by posting big scores and giving their bowlers the freedom to be attacking.

They then considered themselves unlucky to come up against Kolkata on a day when everything just worked for the IPL side and they lost further momentum when their match against Delhi was washed out. Their countrymen in the Lions franchise - Sydney's opponents in the final - have had to claw their way to wins in this competition, but the Titans were unable to do the same tonight. Sydney, on the other hand, could.

Rather than giving them issues to mull over, O'Keefe said the tight victory proved to the side that they are capable of almost anything. "I can't say it in normal language but everyone was nervous and you could see it because we had a few uncharacteristic run outs," he said. "But we know we are playing our best cricket, we are tough to beat. We got there on our knees but good sides can do that. Good sides can win when they are not playing their best cricket."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on October 29, 2012, 0:47 GMT

    @Warren Smith - yep, he has gone from being the better of 3 Sixers quicks, to be a notch below. I would love for him to skip the BBL & play Futures League in a bid to be right (form permitting) a shot at Sri Lanka. I feel he is not ready to do battle with the Saffas yet.

  • Dummy4 on October 28, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    @ Meety. Agreed 100%. Hes falling over to the left in delivery and bowling to full. Hes leg side cannon fodder at the moment.

  • david on October 27, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    fast bowlers however good can go big time in T20 its the nature of the beast. normally they bowl at the 2 worst times of a game sometime in the 1st 6 overs and sometimes in the last 4. this can also be the best times to gain wickets. the point i would make why sydney are allowed to bowl him and why would australia play him in SL wc. its crackers to play what many think could be a 1st in line speedster of the test side in a couple of years. what does he learn nothing get him playing state cricket then at least his body is getting ready for the real game.

  • Andrew on October 27, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    @Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (October 27 2012, 05:31 AM GMT) - according to recent research, this will be the danger time for a fast bowler. The changing from T20/ODI loading to FC/Tests, are when a bowler is most likely to get injuries! I am awe of Cummins POTENTIAL, but I worry about how much short forms he has played & there have been newspapers suggesting he'll be playing at the Gabba for the 1st Test!

  • Dummy4 on October 27, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    Brett Lee early day career was pretty much similar to what Cummins is having now. He might be a lot expensive but he has a pretty good bowling strike rate. Give this kid some more international matches he'll be a great asset.

  • Dummy4 on October 27, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    its unfair to praise a player primarily in the side for his bowling capabilities and giving 51 runs in his 4 overs...the best for Sixers in this tournament has been Hazzlewood with his 4.55 economy rate and Starc with his 13 wickets...in fact if Lee would have been available Cummins should not be in the 1st team any more...the sixers landed in the spot of trouble due to Cummins's bowling in the 1st place

  • Terry on October 27, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    Cummins will be back in Australia next week & effectively start his Shield career before being considered for Tests later in the summer. I imagine CA thinks these 4 over stints are a sort of build up to seeing how he copes with proper cricket.

  • Andrew on October 27, 2012, 1:24 GMT

    I think Cummins is going backwards playing all the never ending T20 matches!

  • Jay on October 26, 2012, 23:07 GMT

    Rock on boys in Pink !!! You looking good to take the title.

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