Just this morning, I was reading an article about seventeen countries vying to host world events in the 2024-31 ICC cycle amidst which one nation that caught my eye was Pakistan.
Yes, as per the article, this sub-continent nation is ready as ready can be to bring a world tournament back to their beautiful country after decades of desolation.
Historical, isn’t it?
For the love that fans in Pakistan have for this beautiful game, I sure as hell hope they do get a world event to host.
Well speaking about historical, another achievement for me that can be spoken of in the same vein has been the recent Proteas T20 series win over World Champions, the West Indies, that too in their own backyard.
The reason for saying historical is, for a team considered once the mighty force of world cricket in South Africa registered their first T20I series win in more than two years after five previous series bouts had gone all but south.
The last time the Proteas had won a T20I series was way back in March, 2019 beating Sri Lanka 3-0 when Mark Boucher wasn’t even their coach, the debacle of the 2019 World Cup was yet to happen and most importantly the world was still considered a normal place to live in.
Certainly, ages back as memory in cricket is as short-lived as certainty in these pandemic-ridden times.
Speaking about beating the West Indies, as a Protea lover what made me even happier was the way South Africa overcame a Caribbean outfit boasting stars galore.
That’s right, apart from the big four in Gayle, Pollard, Russell and Bravo, the West Indies also had other match winners in Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Fabian Allen and Jason Holder. A team stronger than any cricketing force in the entire galaxy.
Looking at the Calypso flair, one would have thought the South Africans would get a mauling of their life only to succumb to their sixth successive T20I series failure before these contests even began.
Truth be told, to think of a Protea mauling as a preview to this series, wasn’t surprising to me one bit as a team of proven match-winners and reigning World Champions took on a side that had anything but wins to show and were also missing their meat of match winners in Faf du Plessis, Chris Morris and Imran Tahir for reasons better unsaid.
Well, as they say in cricket much like any sport you can always expect the unexpected.
And that is exactly what we got as the Proteas being underdogs in their own right put on a clinical performance to take the T20 series 3-2 enroute to soaring further from the strong foundation they had already laid with the test series hurrah.
The reason for the Mzansi success was simple.
South Africa played as a team and were instrumental in winning crucial moments in matches where collectively they did better than the individual stars of the West Indies.
In truth, West Indies also did self-destruct in critical moments with the classic example being the decider in which they were cruising with a well settled Lewis and a destructive Pollard at the crease chasing 167, before they decided to go in mayday mode losing their last five wickets for a paltry 33 runs ending up 25 shy of the target.
Something that might resonate with West Indian fans when it comes to their stars imploding on their own accord.
Quinton de Kock continued from his test excursion success mounting 255 runs at a healthy strike rate of 142 to be anointed player of the T20 series as he was even for the test leg.
Tabraiz Shamsi was instrumental for the Proteas when it came to their bowling picking up seven scalps at an economy rate of just 4. Yes, unheard of when it comes to T20 cricket, truly justifying his ranking as the numero uno bowler in this format.
Credit must also be given to new captain Temba Bavuma who got the best out of his chargers and was rather astute with his captaincy to put the Proteas on top.
In hindsight, one would more than agree that South Africa put up a rather impressive showing to conquer the Caribbean challenge in both legs of this tour after two years of misery galore as they now travel to Ireland to build further on this strong foundation in their insatiable need to get an elusive ICC trophy home.
With the Proteas almost back to winning ways or certainly as their obsessed fan I would like to believe that, can they charm their way to conquering the Irish curse?
In a matter of two weeks starting this Sunday we shall have the answer as I surely hope to still have a smile on my face with the hope of the new dawn not setting any time soon on South African cricket.