Friday, 22 August 2008
Pietersen plunders South African potential
England stepped up to the mark tonight, with a wonderful and well-timed 20 run win against South Africa. In the first of five One Day Internationals, England dominated with the bat and ball, leaving fans and Nightwatchgirl believing there is hope after all.
The England innings started well under (Elvis) Bell (35 runs) and the ever-whistling Prior (42 runs), scoring a slow, but constant 77 runs. It was then left to Pietersen (90, not out off 82) and Flintoff (78), who added an immense 158, leaving South Africa a total 276 runs to win (wow, that's a lot of numbers in one paragraph).
But England were committed and aggressive in the field, determined to start the ODI series with a win. Flintoff, Harmison and even Pietersen (yes, that's not a typing error, he really did bowl, 2-22) bowled with intent and intelligence.
And South Africa really ran out of steam after losing wicket after wicket of some of their more reliable batsmen (Graeme Smith - 21 runs, A.B. Devilliers - 24, Mark Boucher - 16). This all worked wonders for the England spirit, as Nel, Steyn and Ntini could offer South Africa no hope of getting the runs necessary for a draw, let alone the win.
England go in to the next match on Tuesday 1-0 up, but the boost to the confidence of the team is priceless.
Nightwatchgirl can barely speak from all the shouting and cheering.