South Africa
source: AFP (taken from NDTV Sports)

When one demonstrates purpose in abundance, impossible just becomes a word.

Dean Elgar and his men have vehemently demonstrated this seven letter word in the recently concluded second test against the Black Caps to level an exciting test series at one apiece. South Africa beat New Zealand by 198 runs much to the delight and relief of a die-hard Protea supporter.

This after suffering a mammoth defeat in the first test by an innings and 276 runs in just two-and-a-half days. This also after the so called cricketing pundits gave them no chance to square the series and were all but convinced that New Zealand would finally break the unconquerable frontier of beating South Africa in a test series.

Well one wouldn’t blame them with the shoddy display the visitors showed in the first outing.

Having said this, the great Protea teams of the past and to a fair extent this band of eleven men believe in the simple mantra of creating opportunity in the face of adversity.

Dean and his chargers did exactly that with much conviction when they overcame India 2-1 having gone down in the first test. Now they have again showed their metal by turning their fortunes around against a strong Kiwi outfit when all seemed lost.

This simply is testament to the sheer grit and determination that this outfit demonstrates time and again with new players coming to the fore:

  • Sarel Erwee’s resilience in the first innings

With the out for form and low on confidence Aiden Markram pushed to the one down position in this test series, Sarel grabbed his opportunity with both hands as he made a more than convincing 108 in the first innings of the second test to help his team post a respectable 364 batting first.

With Erwee still new to the five day format one cannot judge just yet if he will be the long term partner to captain Elgar but he surely has shown much meat to excel in the openers spot.

  • Kyle Verreynne finally shows his batting masterclass

With the rather sudden and unexpected retirement of Quinton de Kock from the longer format of the game at the end of last year, it was time for Kyle Verreynne to shine. Having boasted a domestic average of more than 50, a lot was expected from this youngster.

With a slow start at the international level, this effervescent keeper finally came into his own in the second innings of the recently concluded second test. His maiden ton set the impetus for South Africa to mount a considerable lead with able support from Wiaan Mulder and Kagiso Rabada resulting in the eventual outcome of a win.

  • When the going gets tough, KG certainly gets going

It is a known fact that when South Africa are in the deepest pits of uncertainty one man has consistently put his hand up to get them back on track.

The man is none other than Kagiso Rabada with an incredible showing against India and his latest eight-wicket haul in the second test against New Zealand.

The performance by this resilient fast bowler was worth every praise earning him the rightful title of the player of the match. Truly South Africa’s knight in shining armour.

Credit must also be given to the Black Caps with the way they drowned South Africa in the first test courtesy stand out performances with the bat from Henry Nicholls who scored 105 in the absence of veteran Ross Taylor who recently retired and Kane Williamson who was out injured.

From a bowling stand point Matt Henry put his hand up in the first test with a whopping nine wickets which certainly showed New Zealand are pretty well stocked on their pace bowling arsenal.

To end this piece, I would again like to extend hearty congratulations to the Proteas having won the second Test to draw level with the Kiwis with one operative word used at the beginning of this article called purpose.

One would surely hope this purpose-oriented performance continues as Bangladesh are up next when they make the trip to the southern tip of Africa. The only thing as Dean Elgar put it was to now be one nil up in the forthcoming series rather than always coming back from behind.

Well, if purpose is shown in abundance winning from the outset ought to become a habit!