South Africa v India, only Twenty20, Durban January 9, 2011

Ntini gets a grand send-off

ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the only Twenty20 between South Africa and India in Durban

The goodbye
He may have gone for 46 runs in his four overs today, but you could take a five-for in a Twenty20 and not get the kind of applause Makhaya Ntini did after he finished his quota. The whole crowd stood as one and gave him a long, long ovation, and Ntini acknowledged every section of them. He kissed the crest on his jersey, had one last look at the green and gold, then bowed for the crowd that wouldn't stop clapping for him. To sit in Moses Mabhida Stadium was to realise how much Ntini meant to this country. For this moment alone, the rest of the unnecessary song and dance during the cricket could be forgiven.

The exuberance
Anything goes in the name of entertainment in Twenty20 cricket, but the man or woman who manned the music at the ground was a little too enthusiastic. Ashish Nehra had to pull out of his delivery in his very first over because the music just wouldn't stop. It was a problem that would pop up more than once. And all this before Shah Rukh Khan had even entered the stadium.

The accident?
Surely it couldn't have been planned this way? In the 10th over of the South African innings, Morne van Wyk drove Yuvraj Singh wide of Ashish Nehra at sweeper-cover, and two runs seemed on. Watching Nehra throw the ball back limply, two became a certainty, only for Suresh Raina - fielding at extra cover - to jump in the air, collect the ball, and zip in the throw. He hit the only stump visible to him and AB de Villiers was gone.

The catch
van Wyk made an immediate impact replacing Graeme Smith in the team. From Smith's customary mid-off position, he ran back, looking up, taking one moment to look down and call for the catch, and then dived almost full length to finish the catch cleanly. It is fair to say that M Vijay was unlucky.

The VVS Laxman
Also making a comeback to T20 internationals was Hashim Amla, who immediately looked to hit the ball harder than he had during the Tests. To the third ball he faced, the bat went across the line, which is not unusual for him, but here he was looking to hit the hide off the ball, and missed it altogether. Could be too early to call, but Amla looked as out of place in this cricket as Laxman does in the IPL.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vikram on January 11, 2011, 1:58 GMT

    Ntini, who shot to stardom courtesy of Indian batsmen, ironically played his last match against them and lost thanks to a no-bounce pitch.

  • Dummy4 on January 10, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    In his last test SA didnt win bcoz they gave last over to him. now in his last t20 they lost bcoz they gave all 4 overs to him other day other cricketer could not have finished his quota after 2 overs but he is nitini everyone loves him so much that no one is complainig thats what nitinis place in SA and i like him too Great man but sad end i would have been happy if india lost and nitini MOM best of luck for his future want to see him as umpaire in future.

  • Anil on January 10, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    Hat's off Ntini..One of the great player of the modern era.. who always loves cricket and a real sport man in SA team (many bigs are opposite now a days). All the best for your future and hope will seen atleast ur presence in 1st class level.

  • Senthil on January 10, 2011, 8:39 GMT

    Did anybody notice Dhoni gave Makhaya an Indian team shirt? Of course they are mates in the IPL, and know each other very well, but I thought this was a fantastic gesture by another true sportsman in this era who has an eye for history - MSD. Makhaya's goodbye was just as cheerful as his tenure. I wonder though why SA have Tsotsobe bowling at 125, when Makhaya can still crank up 136 without breaking a sweat!

  • Vinod on January 10, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    more than the game, i liked the sent off given to Makhaya Ntini (one of my most favourite sportsmen). his bowling was generous yesterday just like his heart. but his spirit was awesome....hope he will pass on some of his sportsmanship to some people in team india :-) love you Makhaya.

  • Amit on January 9, 2011, 16:45 GMT

    Ntini... You'll definitely be missed as someone who has a broad heart, smile... and furious pace.

  • P on January 9, 2011, 16:32 GMT

    Good luck with the retirement, Ntini. I think Ntini and Pollock were more formidable SA bowling attack than current Morkel and Steyn. SA surely will miss one of their finest!

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