91 days to go: Captain Smith hands former schoolmate a lesson

Playing against a team led by his former Johannesburg schoolmate, Smith chose to bowl first, probably with the idea of chokeslamming his opponents

Published: 28th February 2019 08:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2019 05:34 PM   |  A+A-

Graeme Smith celebrates his fifty. (File Photo | AFP)

Online Desk

South Africa's youngest ever captain liked winning games comprehensively. Graeme Smith, who took over the reins from Shaun Pollock in 2003 at the age of just 22, built a world-class team with his upfront tactics.

Having played three cricket World Cups, two as captain and one under Pollock, his best batting performance came against Scotland at Basseterre in the 2007 World Cup. Playing against a team led by his former Johannesburg schoolmate Ryan Watson, Smith won the toss and chose to bowl first, probably with the idea of chokeslamming the Scots with his accomplished bowling attack. 

The South Africans, who themselves are yet to shed the tag of 'chokers' due to their poor finishes at ICC World Cups, stuck to the captain's plan and kept taking wickets at regular intervals with some superb bowling and fielding. But the men from the British Isles managed to get their highest World Cup total of 188/8 courtesy some late hitting that saw 55 runs come off the last five overs.

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What followed was a demolition act led largely by a Graeme Smith masterclass. Opening with AB de Villiers, who also scored a quickfire 62 runs off 45 balls, Smith put on 134 runs in 15.5 overs. Hammering 91 runs from 65 deliveries, Smith struck 13 boundaries and one hit over the fence, showcasing his shot-making and dominance. He was out with South Africa needing just nine runs to win.

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The Proteas completed the rout by winning the match with 26.4 overs to spare and seven wickets in hand. This game came after the run riot against the Netherlands that saw Smith's boys win by 221 runs, with Herschelle Gibbs clobbering six sixes in an over. 

Smith's tally of 747 runs from 20 matches in the quadrennial tournament includes six fifties and his World Cup average of 39.31 is better than his overall ODI average.


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