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A lekker ding. Almost

No fireworks from Smith and Gibbs but an enjoyable game nonetheless, at freezing St George's Park

Barry de Klerk
Herschelle Gibbs doesn't think much of the lbw verdict against him, Deccan Chargers v Rajasthan Royals, IPL, 25th match, Port Elizabeth, May 2, 2009

Gibbs: not quite a red-lekker day then  •  AFP

Team supported
Rajasthan Royals. Last year, because of Graeme Smith and also their underdog status; this year also because of the way Shane Warne leads the team.
Key performer
Yusuf Pathan. He bowled and fielded well. Then when he came in to bat he used the platform established for him and left his successors with an easy target.
One thing I'd have changed about the match
Batting form for Smith. A mute switch for the stadium announcer. Oops, two things.
Key face-off
The indirect one between Smith and Gibbs. Today it was a case of may-the-least-hopeless-man-win, but maybe Smith will regain his form for in time for the Twenty20 World Cup.
How could anybody at a cricket field be a bigger star than Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist or Graeme Smith? Of course the perennial star at St George's is the band, today resplendent in blue turbans.
Wow moment
Venugopal Rao dropping Shane Warne in between two sixes.
Cheerleader factor
The Royals' cheerleaders turned up in three different colour schemes. The yellow Royals cheerleaders did once seem to dance for the Deccans, while the skimpy blue Royals cheerleaders were so far away I could barely photograph them even with a telephoto lens.
Crowd meter
Just over 12,000 people, less than for the previous two matches. Season-ticket seats and related seats, presumably bought for tax reasons, stayed empty. Crowd alive, but not humming like last week. Old stand, where the band is, still the place to be for the buzz.
Local hero
Neither Smith nor Gibbs did well, neither got a lot of response, unlike JP Duminy the other day, who got the whole "JP jou lekker ding" from the old stand. "Lekker Ding?" "Ding" is "thing", often also used for a person. "Lekker" is much more complicated to translate. When used for food it means "tasty" or "delicious". Once, on tour in the West Indies, Gibbs got a Man-of-the-Match award after a spectacular innings, and Desmond Haynes in handing the award to him said "Herschelle, that was a lekker innings." "Lekker" is one of those words that makes Afrikaans such a lekker language
We had an Idols winner called Heinz Winkler performing during the breaks. He was slightly less dismal than some of the other entertainers at previous games.
Banner of the Day
"I escaped from prison to be here"
Marks out of 10
9. Great match, including pressure and panic, but a subdued crowd. Last week's crowd would have combined very nicely with this week's game. Bloody cold on the Duckpond Stand. I left on a high. Great fun.

Barry de Klerk is a 46-year-old librarian who loves to read a lot, loves obscure facts, is fascinated by numbers, follows motor racing, and belongs to the SA Military History Society. He writes a bit and occasionally speaks in public. He watches a lot of cricket because he is too uncoordinated to catch or hit a ball.