De Villiers cuts down Scottish upstarts

South Africa 211-5 Scotland 81

So much for giant-killing. The world returned to its normal axis in the first match here at The Oval yesterday when Scotland, the tiddler among the minnows in the World Twenty20, were given not a sniff of an opportunity of unseating South Africa.

They had given New Zealand a run for their money in a seven over match the previous day but were outplayed in the long game. It was grotesque to watch by the end and it would have been no surprise to see the League Against Cruel Sports organising a protest march outside the Grace Gates. The margin was 130 runs.

South Africa made 211, their largest total in a T20 match and dismissed Scotland for 81 in the 16th over. If Scotland were humbled there was no disgrace. Their captain Gavin Hamilton seemed to fear for the future of cricket in the country afterwards. Scotland have already failed to qualify for the 2011 World Cup and their recent performances have been disappointing.

"We play Australia soon and we have to got to come back hard," he said. "These games aren't going to keep coming along and we can't keep making excuses. Cricket is going forward at a huge rate of knots and we have somehow to keep chugging along behind them or the gap will get bigger."

To retain credence as a global sport, cricket needs its associate nations – those below the Test nations – to continue growing stronger and yesterday showed anything but. "We got together eight days before this tournament started and everyone will be going back to work tomorrow," said Hamilton. "I'd like to see an academy established in Scotland and produce players that way and hopefully five or six of them can be full-time."

He should not be too hard on himself or his team. South Africa are a splendid side who look certain to be in the final stages of this competition and when England spoke before it began of each player knowing his job in the team, this is what they must have had in mind. The difference being that in South Africa's case the players are actually equipped for the purpose. They were bristling from the start yesterday, ferociously determined that what had happened to the host nation was not about to be inflicted on them.

Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith set off at a natural gallop in the opening overs and had 55 after six overs, 20 of them from one. There was a period of relative calm afterwards but this was merely setting up the storm. In the final five overs South Africa made 85 runs and hit seven sixes.

It was perfect pacing of a Twenty20 innings because they knew what firepower they possessed. Scotland's bowlers were not truly up to the task with the honourable exception of Paisley's Majid Haq whose guile, drift and turn with his off breaks kept South Africa's batsmen honest.

To concede only 25 runs in four overs in any T20 match is commendable, to do so against thunderous batsmen determined to set a benchmark was magnificent. Haq went for only two boundaries – one six, one four – and removed both openers who made the mistake of trying to put him into the bleachers and misjudged the pace.

AB De Villiers piloted the rest of the innings and his 79 from 34 balls was an uncompromising blend of cultured slogging, premeditation, and sound timing. De Villiers who has been around international cricket for five years and is still only 25, has burgeoned into a complete all-round batsman. He is a glittering advertisement for picking them young and watching them grow. Albie Morkel, for whom the format of T20 could have been specifically designed, bashed 24 in 11 balls, scoring from every legitimate ball he faced except the one to which he was out, driving down Kyle Coetzer's throat at long off.

If that was a straightforward catch, the one that Coetzer took two overs later will stay in the minds of those who saw it down the years. Mark Boucher, got plenty of bat on it, as they say, and it looked to be soaring over Coetzer's head but he leapt, arched his back and took a quite breathtaking one-handed catch.

If that might have given Scotland some encouragement it lasted as long as the first over. Ryan Watson, having clipped Dale Steyn for four off his legs, made room to hit through the off side next ball, was beaten for pace and bowled middle stump.

Thereafter the kill was quick. Coetzer enjoyed himself, striking three sixes, in his 42 from 32 balls but it was not so much resistance as defiance. The end in truth was merciful.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own