That’s the lasting memory of yesterday’s T20 match between England and South Africa. The result itself pales in comparison to “that” incident between Pietersen and Pollock. There is simply no explanation for Pollock being where he was if he wasn’t trying to obstruct South African born Pietersen (don’t tell me his place of birth had nothing to do with that it). Were he trying to back up Ntini’s throw he should have been behind the stumps, not in front of them. Were he following through after bowling, he should have been moving in the opposite direction. Actually, he was, and changed direction only once the chance of the run-out materialised. There is no doubt that whether he was looking at KP or not, he knew he was there and intended to impede him. Perhaps he didn’t intend to collide, just slow him down, but either way, it was wilful obstruction.
Having said that, despite that very unsavoury moment England didn’t deserve to win (neither did South Africa but them’s the breaks). For all the talk (justified talk as well) about recent improvements in England’s fielding they managed to erase those thoughts in one match. People will rightly ask whether Snape should have come in when he did (there’s no doubt in my mind Dimi was left with way too big a task, and the prospect of Dimi and Freddie at the crease together would have put the pressure back on South African), some may even talk about whether he should have been in the side at all (I agree with the selection, his solitary over yielded two good chances, both dropped, and perhaps he should have bowled another instead of Schofield’s last) but selection was not what cost England.
South Africa could have been all out for under 100, and very easily should have been reduced to just 120 runs. Instead Owais Shah and Paul Collingwood let a simple chance drop between them and Albie Morkel made them pay. He actually had a good game with the ball too, getting rid of Owais Shah himself, just when it looked like England might recover the run-chase. That was the real difference. England lost their bottle at the crucial times, South Africa did not.