May 2005 - Lucky Dippenaar
10 Jun 2005
By: Neil Pickup
It's the quiet season, it seems. We've seen England bludgeon Bangladesh amidst renewed calls for reviews of their Test status, with more candidates for Saturday morning county leagues than Player of the Month awards, with England's players enjoying little above a glorified net.
The only other action in the month came in the Caribbean, as the West Indies took on South Africa and Pakistan in ODI series, before Pakistan continued their tour into the longer form of the game - but what happened of note? Let's be honest, little. Aside from Charl Langeveldt's thrilling last-over hat trick, the scripts were followed to the letter. Few West Indians made runs, Ian Bradshaw took wickets, South African batsmen feasted upon limp bowling.
Pakistan followed and the scripts remained unaltered. Naved-ul-Hasan was as efficient as Shahid Afridi was devastating, and Pakistan's consistency overcame the brittle hosts - who only had three batsmen average above thirty and whose dependence on the rested Brian Lara showed through in the sharp change in fortunes between his absence and Test return.
Finding a star amongst such a swathe of mediocrity is much like selecting a designer shirt from the clearance rail at an outlet village - sometimes you have to settle for an own-brand item that's delicately ironed - and in the South African ODI team, I found that man.
Five innings, one century and three fifties - two of them unbeaten. 317 runs at nearly 106. Boeta Dippenaar, please stand up. Starting playing the second fiddle to Graeme Smith as he accumulated fifty at Kingston before moving to a leading role the day after with his second half-century.
Bridgetown witnessed his second ODI hundred, at almost a run a ball with half the runs in boundaries. Port-of-Spain witnessed a rare failure, before a third fifty closed the series as Dippenaar anchored a 20-over run chase with an explosive effort. It's not much - but it's more than anyone else managed...
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