Big, bigger, biggest
Twenty20 is bringing many new facets to the game and the latest seems to be one-over spells. Nathan Bracken starts with a solitary over for Australia, but England took it to a whole new level against South Africa. The first six overs each brought a bowling change and the running order read: Anderson, Broad, Flintoff, Anderson, Broad, Flintoff. Stuart Broad was then given a second over, which equated to an extended spell, but Paul Collingwood's tactics paid off in the first six overs as England took three key wickets. In all, there were seven bowling changes in the first 10 overs.
Remember the middle
When Mark Boucher walked to the crease it was his first bat since the tournament started, and he'd only had one hit in the warm-ups. South Africa's comfortable victories in the group matches meant most of the middle order haven't had much of a outing, but here they were needed. Boucher was soon into his stride with a trademark pull through midwicket and his 29 was an important contribution.
He is the absolute Twenty20 specialist. Jeremy Snape doesn't even play first-class cricket for Leicestershire anymore and he almost transferred his success into England colours. Off his fourth ball Boucher swung him out to deep midwicket where James Anderson couldn't hold on, then next ball Luke Wright dropped a simpler offering a midwicket inside the circle. To rub salt into Snape's wounds, Justin Kemp then swept the final ball of the over onto the grass bank at deep square-leg. That was his only over.
It's already well known that Kemp hits the ball hard. But when he tried to smash Chris Schofield onto the railway line a chunk of wood flew off the bottom of his bat towards the bowler, while the ball trickled to midwicket. Matt Prior kindly threw the broken piece back to Kemp, but the batsman didn't have time to change his bat before the next delivery. It didn't matter. Boucher kindly picked out Kevin Pietersen at long-on so the swap could take place.
On its way to Pretoria
With South Africa needing something to ignite their innings, Albie Morkel - who showed his skills against Bangladesh - took the long handle approach against Schofield's final three balls. Aiming over the shorter boundary, his first slog-sweep went onto the railway track and is now on its way to Pretoria, while the next two weren't far away. One bounced on the canopy above the stand and another finished well back into the seats at long on. The TV company broadcasting the Twenty20 is now using Hawkeye to measure all the sixes. Morkel's blow onto the tracks is No. 1.
Pietersen doesn't do much quietly. He was greeted with boos ringing around Newlands as he strode to the crease, but quickly silenced them with a delightful clip through midwicket. However, when he pushed the ball towards Ntini at short fine leg and set off for a single a chaotic few moments ensued. Pietersen, watching the ball, raced down the middle of the pitch and careered into Shaun Pollock. In the process his bat got tangled in Pollock's legs and was dropped. A tumbling Pietersen then crashed through the crease as the throw hit the stumps. He climbed up clutching his elbow to find he'd been run-out and left the arena with cheers rocking the ground.
A few words
Morne Morkel is a fiery young quick bowler and it isn't only his pace and bounce which give him that tag. He isn't afraid of having a few words, either. After a rapid first over he followed through towards Prior, who has been known to give out a few chirps here and there, and there was a brief verbal bout. It appeared fairly one-way traffic and clearly Morne was suggesting somewhere for a post-match beverage.
If you thought that was big
A couple of paragraphs up from here you will read how Albie Morkel's six off Schofield was the biggest in the World Twenty20. With England falling further behind the asking rate, Owais Shah swung Vernon Philander out of the ground over deep midwicket, nearly doing himself an injury in the process. If Morkel's blow landed on the train line, Shah's was heading for the brewery. It looked a longer strike although wasn't confirmed by the TV gadgets.
Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer on Cricinfo