x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

South Africans hammer sorry Scotland

South Africa proved that cricket's shortest format still provides enough scope for a miss-match with a victory over Scotland.

AB de Villiers of South Africa plays an on-drive, watched by Colin Smith of Scotland, at the Oval in London.
AB de Villiers of South Africa plays an on-drive, watched by Colin Smith of Scotland, at the Oval in London.

LONDON // South Africa proved that cricket's shortest format still provides enough scope for a miss-match with a victory over Scotland which was so lop-sided it was cringe-worthy. Twenty20 has proved a triumph over its short history because it has closed the gap between the haves and have-nots. However, the Proteas ruthlessly disposed of the Scots at the Oval, winning by 130 runs. AB de Villiers laid the platform, with a free-spirited 79 not out, which included six sixes. Dale Steyn then drove home the advantage, taking two wickets with the new ball.

The Scots let themselves down in the field. Fielding is the one facet of the game where amateur sides, such as Scotland, should be able to achieve parity with the big boys. Yet they put up a display which would have been easily bettered by schoolchildren playing a scratch game on the nearby Clapham Common. The main miscreant was their new captain, Gavin Hamilton, who spilled two catches with costly consequences.

There was, however, one bright spot on the bleak landscape. Their woes in the field only served to magnify the brilliance of Kyle Coetzer's catch, one-handed leaping backwards at long on, to dismiss Mark Boucher. There is unlikely to be a better catch in the tournament. The spinners all enjoyed success here. Slow-bowlers have become increasingly important in the 20-over format, a detail which should further India's credentials as favourites to retain their title.

Pragyan Ojha, their young left-arm spinner who was making his Twenty20 international debut, was their star man as they dispatched Bangladesh in their pool stage opener. He picked up four wickets to derail a plucky run chase from the Bangladeshis, after Yuvraj Singh earlier hit a cameo 41 from 18 balls. @Email:pradley@thenational.ae For scores, see s15