South Africa v India, 4th ODI, Port Elizabeth January 22, 2011

Duminy is the real thing

JP Duminy's second successive half-century, both coming when South Africa were on the back foot, proves he is ready to take on responsibility in the middle order

"JP jou lekker ding," read the big screen when JP Duminy extended his arms to play at a widish delivery, stroking it past mid-off for four to bring up his half-century. Lekker ding is an Afrikaans term that can be used in many contexts, but the closest translation in this case would be the "real thing". That was only Duminy's second boundary in an innings that not only rescued South Africa when a series defeat was staring them in the eye, but had also reached a strike-rate of a run a ball by its end.

Two games earlier, when Graeme Smith spoke of batsmen going for glory as opposed to knocking off a simple target, Duminy was one of the batsmen whom that could have applied to. The result then was a heart-breaking one-run defeat as many other players went for glory. Duminy has learnt his lesson since then, playing responsibly amid two middle-order collapses. His effort in Cape Town proved inadequate, but on Friday, his innings, full of hustled twos and ones, did the job.

It wasn't an easy pitch to bat on, with its slow nature and spongy bounce making stroke-play difficult. To add to that, South Africa were bent on running themselves out. It would have been easy to either get bogged down or try to hit out in panic. However, Duminy, along with Johan Botha first and Robin Peterson later, kept finding the gaps and pushing the fielders. With three pairs of dodgy legs in the Indian side, and a wicketkeeper fielding in the outfield, there was every chance they would wilt. Duminy made sure they did.

Duminy ran 43 singles and seven twos for himself, but while he was there, Botha took 14 singles and nine couples, and Peterson 19 singles. That makes it 108 laps of those 22 yards. "Guess it has always been a strength of ours, running well between the wickets," Duminy said later. "Keeping the intensity up. That was our main focus, making sure we keep getting our four or five runs an over, and try to take it as deep as possible, and cash in at the end."

That Duminy was at ease on the pitch showed from how he cut the first ball he faced wide enough of sweeper cover to come back for two. He used his feet well against Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh, coming down the track often and chipping balls into gaps. Last year, when he went to India, against a similar attack, he scored 9, 0, 6 and 0 in the four innings he got over the Tests and one-dayers. Personally, it must be satisfying for him to get three half-centuries against the same team in a home series, two of those in wins. Duminy puts it down to the work he has done in the off season.

"I will definitely take a lot of confidence out of these performances. Something I have worked on in the off season is playing well against offspin, and obviously the short ball. I am pretty happy where I am at the moment. Hopefully I can continue that into the World Cup."

Duminy's only forceful shot on Friday, before he reached the half-century, came off a long hop from Munaf Patel, pulled between Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra in the deep. He targeted his fielders well, often running after hitting straight to Munaf inside the ring, and always putting pressure on either of the fast bowlers when they were in the deep. And Duminy can run, and he found two willing partners in Botha and Peterson.

If you were to look back at the innings, you wouldn't immediately remember even a single shot that stood out, except for the pulled six in the final over. In that regard this ding wasn't quite lekker, which, in original Dutch, is often used synonymously with tasty, luscious, or hot. In South Africa, though, the connotation becomes broader, and can easily include anything cool, good, or as in Duminy's case today, the real thing. Pretty damn lekker.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Craig on January 23, 2011, 16:54 GMT

    Duminy's back to his best after a woeful run of bad form last year, and I expect him to go from strength to strength. He is the type of player who can adapt his game to the situation, working the ball around for one's and two's or attacking with boundaries if needed. He is a wonderful fielder, and a very decent spinner, though Smith doesn't really seem to think so given how sparingly he is used. I predict he will have a good World Cup, given his ablity to play with soft hands and his growing prowess against spin, as demonstrated in this series. His fortunes will be key to SA's progress in the competition, as he brings experience and balance to the side.

  • mahjut on January 22, 2011, 17:15 GMT

    ok SamRoy - it initially seemed like another post in the same vein as: "India would have won if they'd batted first" or "if not D/L, India would have fancied their chances of 7 an over". SA have played this series too. Not just that but they're ranked lower and home has not been their castle for a few years now so I thinkthey deserve recognition. I think - and as a teamless fan, these are my two teams, though I favour SA when they play each other - if Kohli had been given his own article in this context I'd have been disappointed for JP. I'm seriously looking forward to watching Kohli play tests (my favorite form) and am sure it will happen!! As for JP, and other posters criticisms of his technique vs offies - I think someone as good as JP, who seems to have overcome the hype he was exposed to post-Oz, will deal with it (in the same way that KP manages to maintain respect despite falling to sla bowlers). time will tell - but i'm hoping he irons that out!

  • Dummy4 on January 22, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    I am a South African, but I must say the Virat Kohli looks like the real deal. I don't understand how India gets it's selections wrong so often. I know you have issues with favourites being selected, or players with reputations rather than good form, but seriously if you had the selections right India would dominate world cricket. You all talk about the many Indian players who should be playing here, but in contrast South African have maybe only 2 or 3 others outside their WC squad who are good enough to make our team. Your problem is not playing talent, its administration.

    Why is this article about Duminy and not Kohli? 2 reasons: First, SA won this game and Duminy played the pivotal innings that won it. Second, Kohli is seen as the next superstar to replace the likes of Tendulkar, Laxman and Dravid........but Duminy is ALREADY required to perform as a regular, so lets give him his due for a change.

    Not EVERY article has to be about an Indian player. Please keep the bias out.

  • Dummy4 on January 22, 2011, 14:41 GMT

    he's the same duminy ...who was EASIEST target for offies..Swann in SA and Bhajji in with one and half good innings he is reffered to as the MAN... perhaps siddarth moonga is also another Sanjay manjrekar ...who'll eat his words once his the MAN comes to sub continent

  • sam on January 22, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    And now @mahjut I should write why I wrote about Virat, what I wrote. This innings might pave the way for Virat to give him the confidence required to become a world class batsman (and I hope a great one) just like the ODI hundred did for Gambhir against Australia in Australia exactly 3 years ago. Yet such a significant innings didn't get a column from Cricinfo whereas Yusuf's slogging got one. But I guess even when you play a brilliant innings and end on the loosing side it's not highlighted. Such is the reality. Well I don't like that and I will raise my voice when I feel something is not right. But then someone has the right to say what I think is not right. Freedom of speech.

  • Ajay on January 22, 2011, 13:33 GMT

    What an innings by Kohli under pressure and under lights just great!!!!! Had india won the toss the series wud have over...3-1 to india..

  • Dummy4 on January 22, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    Lekker is not a Dutch word it is borrowed from German which means tasty (as you said)

  • Sanjiv on January 22, 2011, 11:37 GMT

    Duminy was a treat to watch. I expect he will impress at the World Cup. On a different note, excuse some fellow Indian fans for being fanatically one eyed about their team. My dad is one! o dear.

  • sam on January 22, 2011, 11:32 GMT

    Well @mahjut thanks for clearing that up mate! I never care much about the results of some ODI match India plays but rather look at the broader perspective. Just because Yusuf played a match winning innings against SA doesn't make him a good batsman. He was a hitter then and he is a hitter now! No less, no more. Probably slightly more judicious in his strokeplay, that's all. Same could be said of Justin Kemp and Klusener the batsman (he did show early promise as a bowler before fading away). I really don't care about how he plays. For Virat, Rahane and to some extent Rohit I care. Because I believe they are the future of India's test team. And my intention was never to berate any fan or expert in cricinfo. It never was and never will be. Goes against my personal beliefs. Last thing I want is to look at other's faults when I have plenty of them myself.

  • Varnendra on January 22, 2011, 10:13 GMT

    Virat Kohli is the next Brian Lara; no doubt about that. He can defend against very aggressive bowling like Tendulkar but he can also find boundaries against quality bowlers even if the field is spread; Tendulkar did not manage to do it frequently. In his prime in almost every century except for one or two against Oz Tendulkar killed India's chances by moving to 100 from 50 very slowly; he was adament about opening the innings; he never believed he could contribute if asked to bat lowere down the order; but Kohli can do it. Kohli is a captain material but India should not make him captain before the 2023 WC. He should play for India as its Premier Batsman.

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