Plays of the day

AB spanks, Hamilton sinks

Andrew Miller at The Oval

June 7, 2009

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AB de Villiers goes downtown, Scotland v South Africa, ICC World Twenty20, The Oval, June 7, 2009
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Innings of the day
AB de Villiers was in a spankingly expansive mood today, opening his shoulders to rout Scotland's prospects of keeping South Africa in check. None of his six sixes were as vast as Chris Gayle's on this same ground yesterday, but they were every bit as effective. His fifty came up from 25 balls, two runs slower than Gayle's effort against the Aussies, but by the time he ran out of overs with his score on 79 not out, his strike rate of 232.35 was sufficiently thumping to have put him on course for a 43-ball century.

Bowler of the day
Dale Steyn is just a little bit too rapid for batsmen of this calibre. He claimed only two wickets in his initial three-over burst, but instilled such panic that Scotland were four-down before he'd completed his second over. Ryan Watson received a beauty that trimmed the bails and flew away to fine leg, Navdeep Poonia was run out attempted a suicidal third run to third man, and Colin Smith - Mr Defiance in last week's warm-up against England - was yorked for a first-ball duck. Kyle Coetzer's subsequent swivel-pull for six over midwicket (into, and out of, the hands of a crestfallen fellow in the crowd) was a very emphatic way to slam the stable-door shut.

Catch of the day
Coetzer's back-pedalling, back-arching, one-handed pluck on the long-on boundary was a moment to grace any contest. With Gordon Drummond bowling the first ball of the final over of South Africa's innings, Mark Boucher made room to flog the ball up and over the ropes. Coetzer, however, timed his leap to perfection, and in a moment reminiscent of Vasbert Drakes' dismissal of Canada's John Davison at the 2003 World Cup, wrapped his fingers round the ball while still at full stretch. It was glorious, but sadly futile. Instead of being inspired by his team-mate's effort, Drummond's third and fourth balls were a pair of pies that de Villiers slapped for six.

Scottish bowler of the day
Despite Coetzer's best efforts in the field and with the bat, there was never a sniff of a Dutch-style upset on the cards here. Nevertheless, credit where credit's due, and in Majid Haq they had a man who could at least put a brake on South Africa's innings. After conceding a measly three runs in his first over, Haq struck twice in his second, as both the openers, Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith, fell in the space of four deliveries. With teasing flight and a tidy line, Haq conceded just two boundaries in his 24 balls (compared to 27 from the 96 that his team-mates sent down between them).

Drop of the day
Gavin Hamilton had a puzzling day in the covers - first he dropped a screamer above his head off Jacques Kallis, even though it wouldn't have counted because Jan Stander had overstepped from his previous delivery. Then, four overs later, he did actually cling onto another offering from Kallis, this time off Glenn Rogers. But, even as the bowler was setting off in celebration, out popped the ball, unceremoniously spilt as Hamilton's elbows hit the turf. He did briefly try to argue that he had the catch under control until that moment. But the sight of the ball dribbling off towards the bowler's marker rather undermined his case.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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