ICC WT20: Parnell Spoils West Indian Parade
Walking into The Oval this morning, one could have conceivably thought they were in the Kensington Oval Barbados, rather than the Kennington Oval in London, such was the support for Chris Gayle's West Indies team.
While West Indies might have been the crowd favourites, there is no doubt that South Africa are the tournament favourites as the Proteas have so far been ruthless in the ICC World Twenty20 competition winning all their games including the warm-ups.
Batting first, South Africa posted a formidable total of 183 and in Twenty20 cricket such a total always puts you in a very strong position.
All the talk was of Chris Gayle repeating his heroics of last week when he smashed 88 from 50 balls as the West Indies made a mockery of Australia's 169 to win by seven wickets.
Gayle's movement appeared to be hampered by an injury and he confirmed after the game that he will indeed need surgery in the near future but he is putting it off as long as possible. Lendl Simmons played with great maturity and composure as he struck 77 from 50 balls to give the West Indies some real belief that they could overhaul the target, but South Africa took wickets at regular intervals and the West Indies fell 20 runs short of their target.
Parnell was instrumental in South Africa's victory picking up four for 13 from his four overs, he has recently played county cricket for Kent, and he said while his time in county cricket helped him get used to the conditions.
"It has helped me get used to the conditions but I have found as a bowler in England when I bowled for Kent as well that the white ball doesn’t really swing, so you have to learn to try different things," he said after the match.
Parnell was impressive against England as well taking three wickets and he says he is not overawed by bowling at some of the biggest names in the game.
"The other day was my first time playing against England and today was my first time against the West Indies," he added. "I want to bowl against the best - the likes of Ricky Ponting to test myself and see where I am at."
The clinical nature of South Africa's victory against a team who 18 hours ago beat the defending champions will serve notice to the rest of the field, that this may just be the tournament where South Africa stop being the bridesmaid's and become the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 champions, time will tell.
© Cricket World 2009