Andile Phehlukwayo celebrates as he gets the wicket of Steven Smith. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky
Andile Phehlukwayo celebrates as he gets the wicket of Steven Smith. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky

Nothing ‘lucky’ about Phehlukwayo’s dream day

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Sep 30, 2016

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Cape Town - There were murmurs of surprise in some quarters when Andile Phehlukwayo was picked in the Proteas ODI squad, but he justified his selection with an outstanding performance in Friday’s opening game against Australia in Centurion.

Some of those mutterings about the 20-year-old Dolphins bowling all-rounder would’ve cynically centred on transformation, with Cricket South Africa’s transparent target policy stating that a minimum average of 54% black players – of which 18% had to be Black African – had to be selected over the full season across the three formats.

So, Phehlukwayo would’ve been viewed as someone who was “making up the numbers” rather than a talented fast-medium bowler who could hit a long ball.

Instead, it was Phehlukwayo’s actual numbers on the scoreboard that made for tremendous reading for Proteas fans – 10-1-44-4.

And he didn’t get a few easy wickets at the end of the innings either, as the manner in which he operated was impressive to watch despite the Australians ending on 294/9 in their 50 overs.

Phehlukwayo – whose Twitter handle is @andileluck19 – was out of luck in his first over when he conceded 16 runs as Aaron Finch hit him for a six and two fours. But he showed real character to come back to get Finch’s wicket with the first ball of second over as the Aussie opener flicked it to Wayne Parnell at short fine leg.

It had an element of luck to it, as Parnell dived forward and the umpires asked for TV replays to make the final decision.

But there were no doubts about his next scalp as it was the big fish of captain Steve Smith, as Phehlukwayo trapped him lbw for eight despite the batsman reviewing the decision.

For a newcomer playing just his second ODI against the No 1-ranked team, Phehlukwayo looked unflustered, mixing up his regular pace of between 133 and 137km/h with a couple of classy variations, including a fabulous back-of-the-hand slower ball, while he also delivers a “heavy ball” as he hits the deck hard with his strong frame.

Arguably the best of his four wickets was the away-swinger to Mitchell Marsh as Phehlukwayo generated extra bounce off a good length outside off that caught the edge, and the ever alert Quinton de Kock dived to his right to take a fantastic catch.

Phehlukwayo even managed to bowl the only maiden of the innings in the 31st over, and he capped off a dream day by getting rid of John Hastings, who was caught by Farhaan Behardien at long-off for 51, to break a stubborn stand of 79 for the seventh wicket.

Proteas selection convenor Linda Zondi and coach Russell Domingo must both be applauded for giving Phehlukwayo an opportunity, and he has repaid that faith in full with his performance at SuperSport Park.

Andile Lucky Phehlukwayo has arrived, and no one can take that away from him.

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