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Ken Borland

‘Knights fully deserve their triumph’ – Boucher 0

Posted on February 20, 2017 by Ken


Titans coach Mark Boucher said his team has not played to the best of their ability and that the Knights fully deserve their narrow triumph in the Sunfoil Series.

The Knights beat the Highveld Lions by an innings and 121 runs in the final round of fixtures, but they only topped the log by 1.78 points and it could have been so different for the Titans had they just batted better in the first innings of their last game, against the Warriors, when they were bowled out for just 227 and only earned 2.54 batting points; just 90 more runs and the Titans would have won the title.

“We knew what we had to get, we knew we had to bat well, but we haven’t played the way we can the whole season and we didn’t deserve to win the title. The Knights threw their all into their game against the Lions, their gamble worked and they played unbelievable cricket to score 443 and then bowl the Lions out for just 87.

“Our batting in general has to improve, particularly in terms of partnerships, centuries win you trophies. We only played to within 60-70% of our capabilities and were within a point or so of winning the title, but I don’t blame the last game, there were other matches where we didn’t bat well enough and we tended to lose sessions badly. There were some great individual performances, but we didn’t quite gel as a unit, we played good cricket but not great cricket,” Boucher said.

Two of those great individual performances came in the final game against the Warriors as Shaun von Berg became the first player to score a century and take 10 wickets in the match in a franchise game, and Heino Kuhn steered the Titans to a record target of 315 with an exceptional 165 not out.

“Every time Shaun comes into the team, he produces the goods and does the business. Last week he and Heinrich Klaasen won the game for us and he’s a street-fighter, I really enjoy having him in the team. He’s one of those guys that it would do the Proteas no harm to have a look at – his leg-spin has come on leaps and bounds, he consistently hits good areas, and he could do a good job as a second spinner on the subcontinent.

“Heino showed what a great player he is and showed his character by toughing it out when he said he didn’t feel great. That innings answered everything when it comes to questions over him playing for the Proteas, he carried his bat and won the game,” Boucher said.

The coach danced around the issue, however, of whether the Titans had unsuccessfully gambled with a Willowmoore Park pitch that had inconsistent bounce from the first day, making it very difficult for them to keep up with the Knights’ haul of 6.70 batting points.

“The pitch was strange, it was up-and-down on the first two days but then it flattened out. It was a bit of a mystery and when the ball is keeping low it will be in the back of the batsman’s mind, but we should still have somehow got to 320. There were some indifferent shots so we can’t blame the pitch, we didn’t apply ourselves in the first innings and it was only an unbelievable knock from Shaun that got us in front of the Warriors. The first hour of the second day was a train smash,” Boucher said.

Warriors once again show chasing ability v Titans 0

Posted on October 15, 2015 by Ken


The Warriors once again showed their ability to chase down almost anything as they beat the defending champion Titans by two wickets with a ball to spare in a thrilling start to the season in their Momentum One-Day Cup match at Centurion on Friday night.

Having chased down a record 354 in the corresponding fixture last season, the Warriors needed 328 on Friday night and were set on their way by a blazing 101 off just 74 balls by opener Jon-Jon Smuts, who shared a commanding second-wicket stand of 133 off 126 balls with young Yaseen Vallie, who scored 52.

After a horror start in the field, the Titans regrouped and seemed on course for victory when they reduced the Warriors to 230 for six in the 41st over.

But Simon Harmer and Andrew Birch showed that they have serious pretensions as batsmen as they lashed 89 off the next 50 balls.

Harmer was trapped lbw for 42 by Junior Dala in an excellent penultimate over, umpire Shaun George perhaps being alone in believing the batsman did not get anything on a suspiciously leg-side delivery, and Rowan Richards made a good fist of defending eight in the last over.

The left-armer got it down to three needed off the last two balls when Basheer Walters lashed him powerfully through extra cover for the winning boundary. Birch finished on 55 not out off just 28 balls, a great contribution by the diminutive seamer.

The Titans were indebted to some late heroics themselves after they were sent in to bat, their total being boosted by a phenomenal unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 119 off just 71 balls between Grant Thomson and Qaasim Adams.

Thomson, who was not expected to play a role for the Titans this season but was included for his Momentum One-Day Cup debut because of the unavailability of all-rounders David Wiese, Chris Morris and Albie Morkel, hammered a wonderful 98 not out off 71 balls, while Adams, who has really grown as a finisher for the Titans, produced a fine hand of 65 not out off 39 balls.

The Titans’ decision to promote Mangaliso Mosehle to the opening berth was a partial success, with the wicketkeeper/batsman scoring 49, but needing 81 deliveries to do it. Dean Elgar, who moved down to number four, scored a fluent half-century.

But the Titans failed dismally to produce the basics in the field, Smuts being dropped twice, ground fielding errors costing crucial runs at the death and the bowlers too often being wayward or bowling the wrong lengths.


No chance for someone to bale Proteas out 0

Posted on January 06, 2015 by Ken

It’s been the saddest of weeks for the cricketing world with the tragic passing of Phil Hughes in what can only be described as the freakiest of accidents dominating all discussions.

So many batsmen are hit on the head these days (I’m of the school of thought that says helmets encourage them to take their eye off the ball), but Hughes had the awful misfortune of being struck on the side of the neck, just below his helmet’s grille, flush on the vertebral artery, which split and caused the fatal brain haemorrhage.

South Africans have also been mourning the 25-year-old Australian, not least of all because he greatly impressed everyone on these shores with his grit and unorthodox talent as he averaged 53 against the Proteas in five Tests, scoring two centuries and two half-centuries.

The national team has, of course, just returned from Australia, where their 4-1 ODI series hammering caused much soul-searching and anguish amongst their fans, before being overshadowed by the real tragedy that unfolded in Sydney.

Whatever AB de Villiers so brashly said upon his return home about being the better side and South Africa’s World Cup plans being on track, serious questions have been raised about the Proteas’ ability to seriously contend at the global showpiece tournament starting in 11 weeks’ time.

Most worryingly, there is no further ODI cricket scheduled for them before they have to announce their final 15-man squad for the World Cup on January 7. So the five-match series against the West Indies will not provide the selectors with the opportunity to find someone who can bale them out of their current problems in terms of balance and form, because it starts on January 16. Neither is there any franchise 50-over cricket before then.

The squad that plays against the West Indies will be the World Cup squad and those 15 players will have dress rehearsals on five days in which they have to regain form and convince their fans that they are the strong contenders they perceive themselves to be.

South Africa’s most pressing need would seem to be to fill the number seven position with someone who can genuinely contribute with bat and ball. Ryan McLaren, with his mediocre bowling and his weakness against the short ball when batting, has done little lately to suggest he could be a match-winner in that vital position. Sadly, the schedule has dictated that the selectors are not going to be able to see what David Wiese can do.

I would back the Titans all-rounder because he brings power-hitting and a proven ability at the death, as well as the sort of bowling skills the South African attack desperately needs to master on what should be good batting pitches in Australasia.

In terms of cover, the 15-man squad will need to include two extra pace bowlers – perhaps one containing and one more attacking – an extra batsman who can bowl a bit and either an extra spinner or a top-order batsman.

This means Kyle Abbott must surely have secured his ticket, while I would choose Lonwabo Tsotsobe, in great form since returning from injury, ahead of Wayne Parnell. This would also reduce the pressure on the selectors in terms of Black African representation; although Aaron Phangiso deserves to go to the World Cup, his ill-timed injury and the need for top-order batting cover could count against him.

The selection of both Rilee Rossouw and Farhaan Behardien would facilitate cover for both the top three and the middle-order, with Behardien able to fulfil the crucial role of a sixth bowler that was vital in JP Duminy’s absence.

The presence of a genuine all-rounder like Wiese at seven would enable the Proteas to avoid the problem of either having to go into games a batsman or a bowler short, but the other issue they need to solve is not one of personnel but one of skills.

The bowling in the death overs was generally poor and the failure to consistently execute yorkers, slower-ball bouncers and changes of pace means the South Africans lack the weapons the other top teams enjoy.

My World Cup squad: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller, David Wiese, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Kyle Abbott, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Farhaan Behardien, Rilee Rossouw.


All Blacks declare Springboks worthy winners 0

Posted on November 04, 2014 by Ken

The All Blacks declared the Springboks worthy winners of their epic Ellis Park Test and said the home side’s ability to put them under pressure had made it tough for them to get into the game.

“They put us under pressure and caught us on our heels a bit. That meant the momentum was against us, the core roles at the set-piece weren’t always there and the pressure led to us coughing up the ball, simple passes went down. So that made it a hard old day, giving back easy ball  to let guys like Duane Vermeulen run at us,” All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said after the 25-27 defeat.

“Firstly, my heart tells me the Springboks probably deserved to shade it,” coach Steve Hansen admitted. “We didn’t start well enough, they put us under a lot of pressure, and we just gave them too much of a head start.

“In the first half, the ball we got from the set-pieces was of no great quality so we weren’t able to build any pressure of our own at all, which is a key element of rugby. In the second half, we maintained the ball better and it came down to a 55m penalty under pressure, but the right team won and congratulations to them.”

Although the Springboks produced a phenomenal first half of dazzling attacking rugby to seize control of the Test, you can always count on the All Blacks finishing strongly and they turned the tables on the home side before Pat Lambie’s 55m penalty in the 79th minute finally sealed a nailbiting win.

“This team hates losing, it sucks, but I’m still bloody proud that we nearly snuck it at the end. They never gave up, you could see that by the way they attacked with 90 seconds to go, and at the last ruck the penalty could have gone either way then we’d be sitting here happy chappy,” Hansen said.

McCaw said the Test would go down as another classic in the annals of the great Springboks/All Blacks rivalry.

“There’s very little between these two sides as everybody could see today. As a youngster, dreaming of playing for the All Blacks, at Ellis Park against the Springboks would be it every time. It’s hard and tough and you have to be spot on to get the result.

“It’s a great place to play, I love it here, the atmosphere is brilliant and you generally get a dry ball. We just have to be a bit better,” McCaw said.


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    1 Corinthians 3:3 - "For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?"

    One of my favourite U2 songs is a collaboration with Johnny Cash called The Wanderer, and it features the line "they say they want the kingdom, but they don't want God in it".
    Many people say they believe in God, but they don't experience his loving presence. They may be active in Christian work, but only if they have their way. If they cannot be leaders, they refuse to be involved.
    Because they refuse to allow God to fill their lives with his love, they remain weak and powerless.
    Spiritual maturity means developing a greater love for others.

    "When the love of Christ saturates you, immature attitudes such as pettiness, jealousy and strife are dissolved.
    "It is only when you have an intimate relationship with the Lord that you receive sufficient grace to rise above this immaturity and enjoy the solid food that the Holy Spirit gives you." - Solly Ozrovech, A Shelter From The Storm

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