Kemp dumps India

South African Justin Kemp simply took the match away from the Indians. His blitzkrieg at Newlands was the talking point of the second one-dayer. A report by S. Dinakar.

The Indians once again lost the plot. From a position of dominance, they slid down the slippery Table Mountain slope overlooking Newlands.

"We were outplayed," said the Indian coach Greg Chappell later. A side, which had the opponent reeling at 76 for six, was not just outplayed.

The Indian pacemen disappointed at the `Death.' They erred by bowling a full length — the deliveries were lacking in speed — and were dumped into the stands by the tall and often majestic Justin Kemp.

When the big man hits the ball does travel a long way. Kemp was under pressure ahead of the innings. There were some who were questioning his place in the side. He was batting a slot below wicket-keeper batsman Mark Boucher and was hardly called upon by Smith to bowl his medium pace.

But the South African team-management realises Kemp's value. He can don different roles and he can change gears.

Kemp is no slogger. He plans his effort, bats according to situation, and has a reasonable defence. He did the simple things well at Newlands — defended the good deliveries, hit the poor ones into the crowd.

Those who doubted Kemp's value to the side had a short memory. The batsman had played a key role in South Africa's victory at Mohali in the ICC Champions Trophy, after the Pakistan pacemen had made the early inroads on a seaming pitch with bounce.

The situation was similar here at Newlands, in fact worse. South Africa was tottering at 76 for six when Shaun Pollock joined Kemp, who too was fresh at the crease.

Both were let off by the Indian fielders. "We had them at 76 for six, but we dropped catches. This was the turning point of the match," India skipper Rahul Dravid said.

Simply put, the Indians bowled poorly at the crunch, fielded badly, and were never in the hunt with the bat. The 106-run defeat, after India had the South Africans on the mat in the first 20 overs, showed the side did not believe in its capabilities.

"We have been in winning positions, but not cashed in on them. Perhaps we need to do things differently," said Chappell. Zaheer Khan had scalped three in a fine first spell to provide India an advantage after Smith won the toss.

The left-arm seamer hit the right areas. Champion leg-spinner Anil Kumble, in his ODI comeback match, bowled quite beautifully. The rest of the bowlers were grossly disappointing. Pressure has to be maintained from both ends to trouble and consume good international line-ups.

Andrew Hall and Kemp joined hands to scatter the attack. The last 10 overs provided South Africa 113 runs, 58 of them arriving from the final five. The unbeaten 138-run partnership between Kemp and Hall in 14.1 overs was the highest eighth-wicket association in ODIs.

The 60-run stand for the seventh wicket in 16.3 overs between Kemp and a battling Pollock was also crucial for South Africa. Kemp's 89-ball unbeaten 100, his first ODI century, was made keeping the demands of the team in mind. His second 50 was slammed off just 22 balls.

"Too many players out of form," lamented Chappell. He added that, in such a scenario, it would be wrong to pin the blame on one particular player.

The Indians hardly put up a fight, chasing South Africa's 274 for seven. Shaun Pollock, so straight, moved the ball just enough to put the seeds of doubt in the batsmen's mind. His three wickets in his opening burst virtually settled the issue.

Skipper Rahul Dravid, ever a fighter, and M. S. Dhoni made contrasting half centuries. Dravid's technical excellence stood out, and Dhoni blazed away. But India had too much catching up to do. And the others were so inadequate.

"Balls rising between waist and chest are not what we often get in India. We have not been able to adapt so far," said Chappell.

In the end, the South Africans were jumping for joy. And to think that the day started with skipper Smith and selection panel chief Haroon Lorgat having a public spat over the selection or otherwise of the injured in-form paceman Andre Nel.

Nel's replacement, Hall, sported a grin too. THE SCORES

Third ODI, Newlands, Cape Town, November 26, 2006. South Africa won by 106 runs.

South Africa: G. Smith b Zaheer 0; L. Bosman c Tendulkar b Zaheer 6; J. Kallis c Tendulkar b Zaheer 0; H. Gibbs c Kaif b Pathan 35; A. B. de Villiers c Dhoni b Agarkar 29; M. Boucher (run out) 4; J. Kemp (not out) 100; S. Pollock (run out) 33; A. Hall (not out) 56; Extras (lb-1, w-8, nb-2) 11. Total (for seven wkts. in 50 overs) 274.

Fall of wkts: 1-0, 2-0, 3-38, 4-42, 5-71, 6-76, 7-136.

India bowling: Zaheer 10-4-42-3; Agarkar 9-0-71-1; Pathan 8-1-60-1; Kumble 10-1-24-0; Harbhajan 10-0-63-0; Tendulkar 3-0-13-0.

India: V. Sehwag c Hall b Pollock 0; S. Tendulkar c Bosman b Pollock 2; R. Dravid c Hall b Pollock 63; M. Kaif b Pollock 10; D. Karthik c Smith b Ntini 14; M. Dhoni c Bosman b Kallis 55; I. Pathan c Smith b Kallis 1; Harbhajan Singh c Smith b Hall 10; A. Agarkar c Smith b Hall 6; Zaheer Khan (not out) 2; A. Kumble b Hall 0; Extras (lb-1, w-4) 5. Total (in 41.3 overs) 168.

Fall of wkts: 1-0, 2-7, 3-17, 4-44, 5-129, 6-133, 7-148, 8-156, 9-168.

South Africa bowling: Pollock 9-1-26-4; Ntini 7-2-13-1; Hall 9.3-0-45-3; Langeveldt 5-0-31-0; Kallis 8-0-29-2; Kemp 1-0-13-0; Smith 2-0-10-0.