January 27, 2000

South Africa beat Bangladesh in Plate final

Bangladesh came to this World Cup with high hopes of winning the Plate competition. They would have almost certainly done so had it been for the wretched rain the first week, which knocked South Africa out of the Super League.

To beat a professional and experienced South African unit required heroism and fortune in equal measure. Neither was forthcoming and they eventually lost this game by 81 runs in the 48th over.

Nevertheless they have once again highlighted to show to the world that Bangladesh's cricket is presently developing at a rapid pace. With a development programme in place and talent in abundance it will not be long before they get the Test status.

South Africa will have mixed feelings about winning this. Having failed to qualify for the Super League they were expected to win it - anything less would have been humiliating. With nothing to gain and plenty to lose they have professionally beaten all their opponents. Deep down though they will still be desperately disappointed about not competing with the big boys in Colombo.

South Africa's domination of this match started early when they won the toss and decided to bat. In bright sunshine and in front of a sparse crowd the openers, G. Smith (51) and Puttick (19) , compiled 62 for the first wicket. The highest partnership of the match. When Puttick was out Rudolph took over and South Africa progressed serenely to 91-1.

Just when we were contemplating the record score of the tournament Bangladesh started to fight back. Inspired by the spin of Mossadek Hossain (2-39), Rajin Saleh (1-31), and Mahfuz Kabir (1-29) they reduced South Africa to 131-5 and then 213 all out. The SA batsman found it difficult to raise the tempo against the spinners and soon became frustrated.

Bangladesh will have rued a sloppy performance in the field, which included missed run outs, overthrows and miss-fields. They probably gave away 15-20 runs in the innings.

When Bangladesh started their innings, a good start was off paramount importance. Alas it was not to be and three wicket fell in the first six overs to leave them reeling on 17-3. The pace and bounce generated by the South African new ball bowlers, Senekal and Morkel, appeared to be too much of a handful for their batsmen.

The only batsman to look at ease was Hannan Sarker (51). His solid innings that included some wonderfully balanced straight drives, was Bangladesh's only chance of victory. When he was bowled by a fast yorker from Senkal the result became inevitable. The end was slow in coming and really became quite tiresome as Bangladesh gave up trying to win the game and treated the last ten overs as a net practice. Well they are preparing for the future.