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Smith’s injury should not affect Proteas

Captain Graeme Smith’s injury scare should not have a negative affect on South Africa’s Twenty20 World Cup campaign.

South African coach Mickey Arthur said last night that he had heard a positive report concerning a possible fracture to the left-handed opening batsman’s right hand.

Chasing 206 for victory in the opening game of the T20 tournament, Smith was hit on the hand by seam bowler Daren Powell’s first delivery of the innings, and was rushed to hospital immediately after he was caught by Chris Gayle for 28 runs.

“We wanted to get him to hospital straight away, but what I’ve heard in the report is good for us, we will just have to wait and see the results of the scan,” Arthur said after his charges defeated the West Indies by eight wickets, led by Herschelle Gibbs’ brilliant 90 runs from 55 balls.

But, even though the South Africans earned the points for a group stage win, West Indies opener Chris Gayle stole the show with his world record 117 runs in 57 balls – the highest ever innings in a Twenty20 International yet.

Arthur paid respect to Gayle’s tremendous effort and is not worried that veteran seam bowler Shaun Pollock was unusually expensive with his 1/52 from four overs.

“That’s not a major worry for us, Shaun will pull it back. I would rather focus on a fantastic innings by Chris Gayle,” Arthur stated.

But the bowlers were not particularly effective and, even with this win under their belt, the South Africans still have areas on which they need to focus, Arthur admitted.

“We’ve got some work to do with the ball, we need to work on variety,” he added.

Arthur also congratulated Gibbs for his superb knock in playing his team’s most influential role.

“We just set ourselves targets and we never fell behind those targets.

“I’m especially happy with the way Herschelle batted, which shows the way one performance can flow through to the rest of the team,” he added.

The ongoing action around the field did not distract the players, Arthur said of the flashy Twenty20 activities, which create a stadium atmosphere far from that experienced in the longer formats of the game.

“It was really great, and the guys enjoyed it. There’s always a great atmosphere at the Bullring, but the atmosphere out there tonight made it even more special.”

South Africa’s next game of the Twenty20 World Cup is against Bangladesh in Cape Town on Saturday.
And they will be hoping to get some revenge for a shock 67-run defeat in their last game against the no-hopers in the Super Eight stage of the one-day World Cup in April.

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