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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report

South African top order too good for middle men

Telford Vice | April 06, 2007 18:09 IST

Ashwell Prince defended the mediocre display by South Africa's middle order batsman at the World Cup, saying they have not had a chance to prove their worth.

"Our top order is batting so well... it means that the guys in the middle order haven't had much chance to bat," Prince told a news conference on Thursday.

"We've had very little time in the middle because our top order have been in good form and they have knocked off the runs that have been required."

Opener and captain Graeme Smith and number three Jacques Kallis have scored a significant chunk of South Africa's runs in the tournament.

Kallis has scored 328 runs at an average of 164.00 in four innings, while Smith has scored 332 at 66.40 in five trips to the crease.

Only Australia's Matthew Hayden has scored more runs with 395, but he has batted once more than Kallis.

In contrast to their top order, South Africa's men in the middle have let the side down.

Seven South African wickets tumbled for 38 runs in the 83-run group-stage loss to Australia and they lost four wickets in four balls -- all to fast bowler Lasith Malinga -- against Sri Lanka but hung on to win by one wicket.

Prince did not expect a similar scenario to unfold in South Africa's match against Bangladesh on Saturday.

In fact, he regarded the weather as a bigger threat than the opposition, who are among the weakest sides at the World Cup.

"We want two points from this match, that's the most important thing," Prince said. "There's a lot of rain about and we're hoping to get enough overs in to complete the match and get two points."

The seven-week World Cup culminates in the April 28 final in Barbados.

The Cup: The Complete Coverage

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