Victory by two runs in the Greatest Afro-Asian ODI Ever

Players came together to celebrate wickets in the same manner that accountants gather to discuss a book-keeping oddity and the tiny band of Indian supporters waving their national flag allowed it to droop in confusion when Shahid Afridi and Kumar Sangakkara teamed up to dismiss Nicky Boje.

– Neil Manthorp, CricInfo, 17.8.05

If it finishes with a winning margin of two runs then it must be The Greatest Game Ever. Right? Wrong.

Africa defeated Asia by two runs in Centurion on Wednesday in what was, officially, One-Day International number 2269. In reality, there have only been 2267 and this game doesn’t count. But then, we know that pi equals 3.2, don’t we?

Agence France-Presse reports that 3700 spectators attended Supersport Park for a midwinter Wednesday game which began at midday local time. Ranajit Dam’s final match report for CricInfo excludes the “waiting for the dentist” remark that appeared in the mid-game report and which I quoted in my last entry. Dam’s report goes for objectivity, leaving it to Neil Manthorp to let fly.

Although I only have the scorecard to go by, I’m giving my Play Of The Day award to Asia captain Inzamam ul-Haq, exercising his substitution powers for the first time in an ICC-sanctioned one-dayer. At the end of the African innings he replaced Muttiah Muralitharan (9-1-26-1) with Mohammad Ashraful. The Bangladesh batsman was out first ball.

Speaking of substitutions, Thomas Odoyo, one of the two token Kenyans in the South African side, all set to bat at the fall of the 8th wicket – at which point captain Shaun Pollock replaced him with Justin Kemp. In the land of ICC doublespeak, this was Odoyo’s 64th ODI, and he didn’t even bat, bowl or field.

This African eleven was also sans Zimbabweans as it clashed with their second consecutive innings defeat to New Zealand up at Bulawayo. Rest assured, Heath Streak and Tatenda Taibu will be available for games two and three at Kingsmead. The Kwazulu-Natal Cricket Union states that “ticket sales have been steady”, though it must be noted that you can’t get steadier than zero…

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