ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features
Ireland v South Africa, Group B, World Cup 2011, Kolkata
The hero, turned antihero, turned hero again
ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the World Cup, Group B match between Ireland and South Africa in Kolkata
Firdose Moonda at Eden Gardens
March 15, 2011
The flat six of the day
Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith started tentatively, but in the fifth over Amla seemed to get in the mood. It wasn't a particularly short ball, it wasn't a particularly inviting one, but Amla decided that it was the one he would hit. He got under the ball and flat batted it over midwicket, with only the timing taking it over the rope. The mood didn't last, because he tried to upper-cut the next ball and the shot had none of the timing of the first, making its way into the hands of George Dockrell.
The hero turned antihero, turned hero again
Kevin O'Brien has a long way to go to recapture the magic he held in his hands against England in Bangalore. Since then, he has had two single-digit scores against India and West Indies. Looking for redemption against South Africa, Morne van Wyk fed him a ball at short cover off the bowling of Trent Johnston. He must have fed it in particularly spicy fashion because even though O'Brien didn't have to move to get hold of it, he dropped it the instant it found him. O'Brien had both hands under the ball and should have held on to it. Just when it looked like his World Cup was fading fast, he managed to grab a well-judged catch, running backwards, to dismiss JP Duminy on 99.
Desperate moment of the day
Graeme Smith and Morne van Wyk can make an equally desperate pair. One is looking for form and the other to cement his place in the national side. When two such desperations collide, the result can only be disaster. van Wyk was hitting everything he could and more, and his anxiety to turn the strike over saw him call for a run after nudging the ball no further than John Mooney at midwicket. Smith was keen to get to the other side too, heeded the call and when he realised it was time to turn back, Mooney had beat him to it.
Sluggish moment of the day
Jacques Kallis had no-one but himself to blame for the way he was run out, the second time in four matches. He laboured through the run, called by JP Duminy, and was slow to get going and slow to reach the other end. Worst of all, he didn't even put in a dive at the end. Niall O'Brien, the Ireland wicketkeeper, who had to collect a throw and break the stumps, did a far speedier job, and Kallis paid the price for braking when he should have accelerated.
Most-active player who wasn't playing
AB de Villiers was forced to sit out the match because of a muscle-sprain in his left thigh, and he has also been battling with a stiff back, but he can't be kept out of the action. When it was time to serve drinks, de Villiers was the one carrying them onto the field, making sure his team-mates had had enough and even offering a few words of advice. The cameras constantly found de Villiers in the thick of things, talking to the playing XI and being as much a part of the team as he could.
The look of death
Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel are supposed to hunt down wickets in a pair, and although they haven't always shared the new ball in this tournament, they're still regarded as a twosome. Morkel had the opportunity to help his partner twice, and both times he fluffed it. The first chance came when Porterfield pulled Steyn to fine leg, where Morkel was fielding. He overran it and the ball went for four. Steyn stared and Morkel trembled. The third ball of the next over, Morkel was offered a straightforward catch at third man off Paul Stirling's bat. Morkel went down on his knees and made a mess of it. Steyn couldn't even look at him that time, directing his angry gaze at the floor instead. It didn't help that Morkel took both Porterfield and Stirling's wickets at the other end.
Body blow of the day
Kevin O'Brien had a rude reception to the crease courtesy of Jacques Kallis. He had faced just two balls when he was given a bouncer, which he wore on the back and made him roll on to the ground. He didn't escape there and Morne van Wyk caught the ball and hit the stumps. The review, which found O'Brien to be safe, gave him time to rub the sore spot a little and recover in time to hit the last ball of the over for four.
The catch that won the match
van Wyk faced some criticism after dropping two catches against India but made up for it with four catches in this innings. The last one, which ended the Irish innings, was the finest of them all. The ball came off the shoulder of George Dockrell's bat and van Wyk had to dive to his right, full stretch. He took the catch one-handed, in picture-perfect fashion to seal the South African win.
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