Sydney – The words “you hero, you superstar” will forever be linked with JP Duminy. The high praise, of course, came from television commentator Mark Nicholas who recognised the significance of Duminy’s maiden century at the MCG that paved the way for South Africa’s first-ever Test series win in Australia seven years ago.
Nicholas was in studio again on Wednesday during South Africa’s World Cup quarter-final with Sri Lanka.
But unfortunately the charismatic Englishman was not at the microphone to provide another timeless description of Duminy’s latest momentous moment in South African cricket history when the off-spinner became the first Protea to claim a hat trick at a World Cup at the SCG.
In fact, it would have been interesting to note whether Nicholas would even have known that Duminy had indeed followed Charl Langeveldt as only the second South African to take an ODI hat trick – the on-air commentators Harshe Bogle and Duminy’s former captain Shaun Pollock were certainly none the wiser. The confusion came about due to Angelo Mathews being dismissed off the final ball of the previous over and Nuwan Kulasekara and Tharindu Kaushal the first two balls of the next over.
However, there was no doubt that Duminy was aware of his achievement when Kaushal “played all around a straight ball” judging by his manic celebration when umpire Rod Tucker raised his finger to uphold the appeal.
The magnitude though of what he had actually done has not sunk in yet considering he was little more than a part-time bowler before this World Cup.
“I was aware of it. My teammates weren’t. So, just before I bowled the ball I whispered to AB ‘listen here it is a hat trick ball’. So, he obviously went and got a few extra catches in under the bat. It was just one of those balls, there was nothing on it, he simply played all around it,” Duminy explained.
“This is obviously something I have never thought of, and never thought I would see the day where my name is under the list of hat tricks at a Cricket World Cup. Pretty pleased with that. Charl has already said I’m second to him, but he didn’t do it at World Cup!”
The hat trick was undoubtedly the foremost feature of Duminy’s bowling spell that yielded career-best figures of 3/29, but the control with which he delivered those well-flighted off-spinners deserves equal recognition. He complimented the attacking threat of Imran Tahir beautifully as South Africa’s spin twins combined with the aesthetic symmetry of Torvill and Deane.
It is one thing for South Africa to trounce Sri Lanka in a World Cup quarter-final, and even that still disbelievingly rolls off the tongue 24 hours after South Africa put the first bandage on 23 years of knockout pain, but to do it in a style that more resembles the islanders is even of greater significance.
Duminy and Tahir out spun the Sri Lankans, which incensed outgoing Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara to no end, through a genuine understanding of their individual roles within the overall gameplan.
It is a partnership that could not be more contrasting with Tahir having been imported from Lahore while Duminy is as Capetonian as Table Mountain. - The Star