Batting collapses? Pah, they’re just par for the course


Batting collapses? Pah, they’re just par for the course

They are a mitigating factor in white-ball cricket, which might otherwise fade to a grey mass of run-glutting


Think SA losing nine wickets for 120 runs at Centurion on Wednesday was bad? Think Sri Lanka then losing 9/109 was worse? Think again.
In a Champions Trophy match in Sharjah in December 1986, the Lankans plummetted from 45/3 to 55 all out – a crash of eight wickets for 10 runs.
A tall, 24-year-old Jamaican playing the 20th of his 205 one-day internationals bowled 4.3 overs and took 5/1 for West Indies. His name was Courtney Walsh.
SA know something like that feeling. They were able to deal with Waqar Younis, who claimed 1/30 from his six overs in an ODI in East London in February 1993. But Wasim Akram took 5/16 in 6.1 and Pakistan were gifted three runouts in a slide of seven wickets for 11 runs as SA went from 151/4 to 162 all out.
Batting collapses are a mitigating factor in white-ball cricket, which might otherwise fade to a grey mass of run-glutting. So much so that a player is unhappy with himself for scoring 83, 81 and 94 in his last three ODI innings.
“I was quite disappointed,” Quinton de Kock told reporters in Centurion after falling six runs short of a century on Wednesday. “Lately I have been converting these 80 and 90s to bigger scores and wanting to”.
De Kock and Reeza Hendricks shared 91 for the first wicket but no other stand passed 40 in a total of 251.
“We spoke after the batting performance and we did say we’re disappointed with the way we got out, but it’s alright: we ended up winning the game but not the way we wanted to,” De Kock said. “We understand that after a good start like that we do need to finish off well. There’s no point getting a good start and then your run rate drops off again.”
That SA were able to win by 113 runs to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series came down to the fact that the visitors’ had only one partnership of 25 or more: the 40 put on for the fourth wicket by Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis.
Collapses can do that to you, but at least the Lankans didn’t suffer the fate that has hit Zimbabwe a record five times – that’s how often they have lost four wickets for no runs in ODIs. It’s happened to fellow minnows Bangladesh three times, and to West Indies, Namibia and the Netherlands once.
But Australia and Pakistan have also known the pain of losing four for none three times, while India, New Zealand and the Lankans have felt it twice. England have inflicted four-fors on their opponents five times and India and Sri Lanka thrice each.
SA? Not once on either side of the equation: they have neither lost nor taken four for none in ODIs. Or, we should say, not yet …
But they did take six England wickets for nine runs in a T20 at the Wanderers in February 2016. Then again, they were 12/6 on their way to 58 all out in another T20, against the Windies at St George’s Park in December 2007.
Swings. Roundabouts. Whatever. Collapses add context, and for that we should be grateful.

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