Jonty Rhodes

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Blog Posts by Jonty Rhodes

  • Miss a game at your peril

    Just about every game is a knockout from here onwards which is a fantastic endorsement of the format of the tournament because there's no cruising for the players and no blinking for the supporters. Miss a game at your peril - you might not see your favourite team again.

     

    I've thoroughly enjoyed the tournament so far although I have the feeling that we've only seen the support act so far and the real thing is about to burst onto stage. It only takes a couple of brilliant individual performances or a really close game, a classic contest and suddenly everyone is talking cricket. 

     

    It looks very obvious to me that the tournament is being played in a great spirit and there are plenty of smiles on the players' faces. I wonder whether that might become a feature of the ICC Champions Trophy. With $2 million at stake for the winners I'm not suggesting for a moment that the players won't be taking it seriously but it's not the ICC World Cup and, perhaps, this tournament can provide an

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  • SA were in complete control

    The prospect of South Africa being eliminated from the tournament after three days was too horrible to contemplate - so I didn't! I was always confident that they would be too strong for New Zealand even though the Black Caps have some dangerous players.

     

    The Proteas have not only stayed alive but did some useful work in repairing the damage which Sri Lanka inflicted on their net run rate. It didn't look like they were deliberately trying to score quickly which pleased me because you don’t take liberties with the game of cricket at any level, but certainly not in a tournament involving the best eight teams in the world.

     

    Having bowled and fielded brilliantly to dismiss New Zealand for just 214, it would have been unforgivable if South Africa had assumed that the hard work was done and taken victory for granted.

     

    It was an absolute pleasure watching them construct the run chase in the methodical and clinical way they did and, although the people around me in the Standard Bank

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  • SA’s confidence will have taken a knock

    Disappointment for South Africa in the opening game but not for the tournament organisers, not for 50-over cricket and certainly not for the Sri Lankans who were outstanding in every aspect of the game and showed the world how to play a game which requires more subtlety and thinking than is the case T20.

     

    South Africa may have been a bit rusty after a three month lay-off, perhaps they were also a bit too keen to make a flying start in their quest to end the ICC tournament 'hoo-doo' that has bugged them since 1998, and perhaps it wasn't the best decision to bowl first, but none of that should detract from Kumar Sangakkara's team and the way they overwhelmed their hosts.

     

    South Africa bowled inconsistently during the critical first 15 overs and failed to obey the crucial rule of bowling on one side of the wicket. Some of the credit for that must go to both Kumar Sangakkara and Tillekeratne Dilshan who are both highly skilled in frustrating batsmen with their innovation and

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  • South Africa and India are the favourites

    Home ground advantage is an international sporting concept on the wane. Crowds are one thing, but as far as on-field conditions are concerned I'm not sure whether the South Africa players have any more idea of what to expect than all the other teams.

     

    It's very early in the season to be playing such a high profile tournament and the grass at the Wanderers and Supersport Park has barely started growing again after it's winter hibernation. That might mean that the pitches are a bit low and slow - bare pitches usually are - but nobody is quite certain!

     

    Even if they do have the pace and bounce of traditional Highveld pitches, the home side has the depth and cover in every department to be able to adapt on the day, even during the course of a match. 

     

    We saw last season how effective Johan Botha and Roelof van der Merwe can be bowling spin in tandem in the middle overs and JP Duminy is far better than a part-timer, especially if there is some turn on a dry surface.

     

    There is plenty of

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