South Africa v Australia, 1st Twenty20, Cape Town October 13, 2011

Cummins the difference - White

Firdose Moonda at Newlands

Patrick Cummins, Australia's 18-year-old fast bowler, was credited with putting his team in a winning position after their victory in the opening T20 against South Africa at Newlands. His captain, Cameron White, said Cummins' three wickets on debut in the 19th over swung the advantage Australia's way.

"It was the difference between chasing 160 and what we did chase [147]," White said. "It doesn't seem like much but when the game is getting close those few runs make a difference." White added that Cummins, who was Australia's second youngest debutant, bowled like "a seasoned pro" and his performance in his first match gave further evidence of a bright future.

The Man of the Match, Shane Watson, who is also Cummins' team-mate at New South Wales, was another full of praise. After talking Cummins up earlier in the week, Watson believed that he had lived up to his billing and that he will be careful to nurture his skills and not let any ego get it the way.

"There's no way he will let it get to his head," Watson said. "Deep down he knows that it's a really special gift that he's got, to bowl that fast at such a young age."

While Cummins grabbed the biggest haul, Australia's bowling was an all-round effort and White said the conditions had something to do with it. "They probably really appreciated the conditions. It was nice to see the ball swinging and bouncing."

One of the other debutants, Doug Bollinger, who was, somewhat surprisingly, playing in his first international T20 despite his success at the IPL, also impressed as he swung the new ball and was economical. "Doug has been doing well in Twenty20s for the last couple of years," Watson said. "He has been consistent and bowled with good pace, bounce and swing. When he is bowling well, it's hard to line him up more than anything,"

He claimed the scalp of Graeme Smith, lending weight to the theory that Smith has not dealt with his technical issues against left-armers although Watson wasn't reading too much into Smith's duck. "I think it's just luck. Whether you're right-handed or left-handed batsmen, you don't come across too many left handed bowlers," he said. "Left-armers have given batsmen a lot of trouble, not just Graeme, but having two left-armers does give us an advantage."

Watson also played his part with the ball but it was his swashbuckling 52 that took the game away from South Africa. After a lean run in the Champions League, Watson felt he was due some runs. "I had been feeling good in the nets so I knew I was not far away," he said. He was dropped on 2, by Smith in at first slip, and admitted that he needed a bit of luck but was pleased to capitalise on it.

South Africa didn't help themselves by the lapses in the field and had been put on the back foot early when Smith fell in the first over and Amla was run out coming back for a third. Colin Ingram and JP Duminy put them back on track with a third-wicket partnership of 58 and although it didn't prove to be matchwinning stand, Amla said it was one of the biggest positives of their defeat.

"That's what the selectors were hoping for, that the young batsmen would perform," he said. "JP's innings was a serious highlight for us. Some of his shots were unbelievable."

With the pair at the crease, South Africa looked on track to reach an above-par total but White said he never felt as though the score was getting beyond his control. "I didn't think it was drifting away from us," he said. "They always had to push on towards the back end and then we got a breakthrough and were really able to restrict them. The run rate was always around six."

While White said winning was a good start he added "it will be better to win the next one." Amla, meanwhile, was looking for aspects he can build on as South Africa attempt to level the series in Johannesburg. "In the batting department, we should look to score a bit more so that it gives the guys at the bottom a little more leeway," he said. "And, in the field we did show signs of not being at 100%."

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  • Andrew on October 16, 2011, 2:44 GMT

    IMO - Cummins has a big future, but as has been shown recently, he is one injury away from disaster. He looks good, he possesses a talent that not many have ever had, (let alone at 17 or 18 yrs of age. To be a Test star, he will have to do more than just bowl fast to be a great. Have a look at Brett Lee & Shoaib Ahktar & Tait. Pure speed on certain pitches will always be hard to handle, but those 3 pace bowlers I mentioned were nothing on Akram, Ambrose & McGrath. Lee got dangerous in ODIs because he learned to SWING the white ball, & in Tests got better at reverse swinging. Stays injury free & gets the RIGHT mentoring - he could be anything. At the moment - I'm just happy seeing a young bloke have good crack in SHORT FORMS. Tests in STH AFRICA now, is TOO EARLY (IMO)!

  • Christopher on October 15, 2011, 10:53 GMT

    @Winsome...great to see someone applying perspective to what regularly degenerates into a hypefest for youth without fully referencing supporting evidence. Steve Smith had a 1st class average of 56 when he was picked for Australia.In the 09/10 season,he scored 772 runs at 77 with 4 centuries from 8 matches & took 21 wickets at 44 with a best of 7 /64.He also had 320 runs at 53 & took 11 wickets at 42 in List A.His original selection was a very fair call. He made 18 and 54 not out in the last Test he played v England.Just 22,he has often be villified for playing his own game,yet thats what got him there.Hughes endured something similar and is the same age.In a masterful PR exercise,CA started the 'technique is king' myth to cover their own ineptitude.So many of the great players had techniques that cant be replicated,its barely worth reprising.It all seems extraordinary,particlularly when Argus identified CA appointments and policies as culpable for Australias woes,not age or technique.

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2011, 4:08 GMT

    @Matt Meharg- The team sounds great but doesn't stand anywhere near the aussie team of 2000's cause those guys had something that their counterparts didn't...grits of steel. This current lot of aussie teams are weak (even your selectors' minds are!), that is the reason for the aussie decline and don't see them anywhere near the top atleast for now.Your time at the top is OVER!!!

  • Anil on October 14, 2011, 19:06 GMT

    Beware India..........probably the "best batting line-up" to test your quickies against in helpful conditions. Cummins becoming a superstar is not too far away......just wait for 2 more months down under!

  • Lou on October 14, 2011, 18:11 GMT

    He looks a very good prospect BUT he hasn't done anything at all so far in the other formats, so I wish people would calm down about him. You are all going to turn on him like jackals at some stage just like with Steve Smith who had similar nonsense written about him when he first started in international cricket. It's not fair on these youngsters to hype them like this. @MattMeharg, you've started what I call the Add-on effect. Just because one young player does well you start behaving like they all are potential stars.

  • Anoop on October 14, 2011, 16:23 GMT

    Pat Cummins- A superstar in the making.

  • Peter on October 14, 2011, 15:14 GMT

    @ landl47. I have seen him live. let's just say, I am glad he is on our side bowling that stuff, rather than against us. At 18 years of age, and tipping it at 150kph, there is a long way to go, so fasten your seatbelts, folks! And there is a crop of youngsters a few years younger who are following in his footsteps, bowling just as quick as Cummins at the same age (2 14yo's were already timed at 136!). It appears a golden age for pure pace is just around the corner.

  • Dummy4 on October 14, 2011, 15:01 GMT

    i hope Dennis Lillee will talk with him in case he has a bad back injury like Dennis had.Australia need a good quality fast bowler which we have been missing for a couple of years

  • Dummy4 on October 14, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    Cummions played welll.....hope he continoues his form...

  • Dummy4 on October 14, 2011, 12:54 GMT

    look at the young aussie quicks cummins,pattinson,starc,benny cutting is another exceptional talent there all guns who bowl 140+ 150 in cummins case, the oz test team will have a test attack that will frighten opposition,imagine the test team, warner,watson,s.marsh,clarke,paine,m.marsh,faulkner/butterworth,cutting,pattinson,cummins,lyon/starc,would b a fantastic young team.

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