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Ken Borland

Caution as dead as a dodo for aggressive Titans 0

Posted on November 10, 2017 by Ken

The days of being cautious with the bat in limited-overs cricket are as dead as the dodo for the Multiply Titans, with captain Albie Morkel saying he wants the batsmen to take their aggression to another level when the RamSlam T20 Challenge gets underway on Sunday.


The Titans won both white-ball titles last season, in no small measure because they took their batting to a new level never before seen in South African domestic limited-overs cricket.


The Titans reached 400 on three occasions in last season’s 50-over competition, the Momentum One-Day Cup, including a record-breaking 425 for five in the final against the Warriors at SuperSport Park. In the T20 tournament, the Titans went past 180 on four occasions, including another domestic record in lashing 230 for five against the bizhub Highveld Lions, in Centurion.


Those exploits were made possible by the flying starts given to the Titans by mostly Aiden Markram, Jonathan Vandiar and Henry Davids; with openers averaging well above 50 and scoring at better than a run-ball, the batting unit is always likely to soar to great heights.


“The batsmen must keep playing with freedom and flair. If conditions allow it, then we’ve set ourselves the target of a score of 200 for every innings, we want the batsmen to go a step further, to provide extra impetus. To get 180 is also good, but then you can still fall short,” said Morkel.

“In the 50 overs competition, we passed 400 three times and that doesn’t happen by chance, it comes because the batsmen are encouraged to be aggressive. Batting deep is also important and having guys in the middle who can hit boundaries.”


The Titans start the defence of their title against their neighbours from Johannesburg, the Lions, at SuperSport Park on Sunday, November 12, as the main attraction of a double-header also featuring the WSB Cape Cobras against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins. Morkel’s team also scored 194 for four in their game against the Lions at the Wanderers, on their way to a 42-run win.


With the Titans producing such entertaining, winning T20 cricket, the hour is now to make plans to watch their campaign for a hat-trick of titles. To make attending their games even more attractive, a number of Proteas stars will be playing.


“We didn’t win the last two competitions by chance, we have a recipe that has proved itself, although there are always small things we can improve on. It’s always nice to start a new competition with some sort of momentum and most of the guys have put in good performances to go to the top of the Sunfoil Series log.


“We’ll have a few players from the Proteas as well and we’ll be able to put good sides out on the field again, guys who know how to play T20 and how to play the big moments. Form is very important, but so too is the team gelling together.


“We would now rather rotate players than loan them out, but we have to be mature about it and by the knockouts we should know who the guys in form are. Until then we need to do the basics right, you can’t overlook how important small things are, every ball is an event,” concluded Morkel.

CSA slammed out the park too often 0

Posted on November 22, 2016 by Ken


If Cricket South Africa were a bowler, they would be the type that gives you an over comprising three great deliveries, beating the bat a couple of times and maybe bowling the batsman, and three rank full tosses that are hammered out of the park, and are no-balls just to make matters worse!

There are so many good things going on in CSA, so many people within that organisation who have a deep love for the game and are faithful servants of it, often at considerable cost to themselves. While those good balls are being bowled, it is easy to believe that everything in South African cricket is hunky dory and the future is bright.

Like when you go to the Centre of Excellence and National Academy in Pretoria. This is a superb facility where national teams can prepare with the latest technology at their fingertips.

The gadgets have recently been improved with the world’s most advanced batting simulator – the PitchVision Batting Studio – now installed. The high-tech bowling machine and smart lane equipped with sensors takes net batting to the next level. The simulator features a moveable bowling machine that can bowl over or around the wicket, videos of bowlers, shot-tracking, field setting and tracking of runs scored. The system also records technique for video analysis.

The batsman can set up any match scenario and bat with the realistic pressures of finding the gaps and trying to chase down a score at the death.

The technology even showed that I was planting my front leg when batting, but then a good coach could probably have pointed that out anyway. And, as I told coaches Shukri Conrad and Vincent Barnes, nobody has trapped me lbw for a long time! (Now I’m just tempting fate!)

There are lots of other good news stories around CSA at the moment, such as the thawing of relations with India. According to Haroon Lorgat, the CSA chief executive, the BCCI are keen on the idea of South Africa and India developing an icon series like the Ashes. The Proteas will be playing four Tests in India this year and the next tour to South Africa is not going to be the thoroughly inadequate shortened series which was foisted upon CSA in December 2013.

Sadly, however, there are still people in CSA who seem more intent on furthering their own agendas than the good of the game.

Despite CSA continuing to swear blind that there was nothing untoward in the selection of the team for the World Cup semi-final, that merit is the only criterion for the Proteas (except when the call is 50/50), the gathering of the cricket family this week for the CSA Awards (another example of how well they can do things) meant I was given yet more snippets of information that would seem to confirm that the side that took the field at Eden Park was not the one Russell Domingo, AB de Villiers or the selectors initially wanted.

And now, an event as happy and well-organised as the awards banquet has also been marred by the same faceless, cowardly interferers as allegations of the judges’ decisions being changed rear their ugly heads.

Two members of the judging panel confirmed to me that one of the franchise award-winners had been changed – that when they left their selection meeting, they were under the impression that a different player had won.

The last thing I want to do is cast aspersions on the ability and class of Robin Peterson (poor Vernon Philander was shamefully treated by the World Cup fiasco), whom I rate highly and believe should be in the Test squad ahead of Aaron Phangiso, but apparently he was the third-choice for the Momentum One-Day Cup Player of the Season, behind Dean Elgar and Andrew Puttick.

So the last week has pretty much summed up CSA’s performance in general: leading the field in many ways, like the centre of excellence in Pretoria, enjoying the support of an ever-growing list of sponsors and putting on superb events, but then also shooting themselves in the foot through dishonesty and backroom dealings. It felt like a family gathering this week, even if the family is dysfunctional at times, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some members who really would be better suited to Fifa than cricket administration.

Titans to give Mosehle more exposure with bat 0

Posted on October 05, 2015 by Ken


A new-look Titans batting line-up for the Momentum One-Day Cup will allow them to give wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle more exposure with the bat, stand-in captain Henry Davids has confirmed.

Mosehle has almost always batted around the number seven position for the Titans, but scored just 99 runs at an average of 24.75 last season.

“Mangi will have a new role this season, he’s showing a bit more form already after not having a great season last year. He’s going to bat in the top three or four because he’s an explosive batsman and one of the sweetest hitters of the ball. I often stand in awe of him when I bat next to him in the nets because he’s a small guy but he hits the ball so hard.

“He hasn’t had the chance to really showcase that talent down the order, it’s difficult batting down there and being expected to finish the innings. If you don’t come off in two or three games, you start worrying about it and he’ll have more opportunity this season,” Davids said.

The Titans are the defending champions and, even though they will start the competition without half-a-dozen players on tour with the Proteas in India, Davids said they have several players to keep an eye on this season.

“Theunis de Bruyn is mentally very strong, he showed that by scoring a double-hundred on debut for SA A, he handles himself very well and he’s very mature. Heinrich Klaasen is also a very good cricketer and Aiden Markram is waiting in the wings as well.

“In terms of bowlers, you have to take wickets up front because all teams have great hitters in the middle-order and if you give them a good platform then they’ll really hurt you. Marchant de Lange is a quality strike bowler and Junior Dala did really well last season as well. Ethy Mbhalati is still hungry to do well and he came back very strong at the back end of last season. You need experienced bowlers and he’s been the most successful Titans bowler ever,” Davids pointed out.

The Titans get the competition and new season underway on Friday when they host the Warriors at SuperSport Park in Centurion and they will be eyeing a good start to the competition, unlike in the last two seasons when they have scraped into the knockout rounds with incredible winning runs.

“We’ve tended to start slow, but we want to hit the ground running this season and not have to win five-in-a-row like in previous campaigns. We know we can play under pressure, but I think we can expect a lot more from the side if we can play with freedom,” Davids said.





Lions not able to get past Kuhn’s broad bat 0

Posted on March 31, 2015 by Ken

The bizhub Highveld Lions were not able to get past the broad bat of Heino Kuhn as the Unlimited Titans opener batted all day and steered the home side to 374 for four in their Sunfoil Series match at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Saturday.

The Titans began the third day on 27 without loss, trailing the Lions by 458 runs, but they were not daunted by the task at hand, Kuhn leading the way with a magnificent 182 not out.

With the Titans still 111 behind the Lions’ first-innings score though, there is not much chance of a result as the top-of-the-log match goes into the final day on Sunday. Both teams were mostly just counting bonus points on Saturday, with the Titans edging that battle 6.82 to 6.44.

The morning session belonged to the Lions, with the accurate visiting bowlers managing to claim the wickets of Jacques Rudolph (39) and Henry Davids (1) as the Titans went into the lunch break on 118 for two.

After seeing off the tight, probing efforts of seamers Pumelela Matshikwe, Sean Jamison, Vusi Mazibuko and Dwaine Pretorius, the introduction of spin proved the undoing of Rudolph. The left-hander tried to sweep Dale Deeb in his second over of the day, missed and was trapped lbw.

The wicket of Davids followed in the next over as the Titans captain missed a drive at Matshikwe, who nipped the ball back into the right-hander to win an lbw verdict.

Kuhn and Cobus Pienaar then steadied the innings, however, with Kuhn going to his half-century, off 132 deliveries, the ball before lunch.

The pair continued to hold the initiative until shortly before tea, when Pienaar tried to drive a delivery from Mazibuko that just veered across the left-hander, edging a low catch, which Thami Tsolekile, one of the safest wicketkeepers in the game, comfortably held.

Pienaar, playing his first game in this season’s Sunfoil Series, looked in fine form and in little trouble as he scored 66 in 160 minutes, batting in the key number four position.

Kuhn, meanwhile, had gone to his second century of the campaign in the previous over, having been at the crease for just under five hours and faced 229 balls, stroking nine fours and hooking Jamison for six.

Roelof van der Merwe came in to replace Pienaar at 227 for three and he and Kuhn were in firm control in the final session, adding 146 in 156 minutes, safely negotiating the second new ball.

Van der Merwe, the leading run-scorer in this season’s Sunfoil Series, fell in the penultimate over before the close, trying to sweep the left-arm spin of Deeb, bowling over the wicket into the rough. The ball came off the glove and was taken by Tsolekile, Van der Merwe falling for 66.

Kuhn, with the immaculate technique, shot selection and concentration of the archetypal successful opening batsman, made it through to the end of the day, having been at the crease for just under eight hours, facing 357 deliveries, from which he collected 17 fours and a six.

The Lions bowlers toiled manfully on the flat pitch, Deeb finishing the day with two for 75 in 24 overs, with the other wickets going to Mazibuko and Matshikwe. The spell of eight overs Mazibuko bowled before tea with an old, soft ball was particularly impressive, the wicket of Pienaar being his only reward, however.

*If a crowd does deign to show up at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, they are in for a thrilling final day as the Chevrolet Warriors finished the third day on 254 for six, leading the Nashua Cape Cobras by 258 runs with four wickets remaining.

The Cobras had dominated proceedings on Saturday until the final hour, when Andrew Birch lashed a 42-ball half-century to boost a flagging Warriors innings.

The defending champions had reduced the Warriors to 176 for six – a lead of 180 – when Birch joined the captain, Colin Ingram, at the crease.

Birch counter-attacked superbly, hammering 10 fours and a six in his 50 not out, while Ingram reached stumps on 44 not out to set up the prospect of a testing run-chase for the Cobras on the final day.

The Cobras had started the third day on 137 for seven, but the efforts of Aviwe Mgijima (26) and the last pair of Lizaad Williams (19*) and Dane Paterson (17) lifted them to 199 all out, just four runs behind the Warriors’ first innings of 203.

Birch and Basheer Walters each took three wickets.

Former South Africa all-rounder Justin Kemp struck twice in the Warriors second innings, but Michael Price scored 62 to steady the innings.

Once he fell to Mgijima though, the Cobras would have been expecting to mop up the rest of the innings quickly, before Birch weighed in with a momentum-shifting innings.

*The Sunfoil Dolphins were firmly on top in their Sunfoil Series match against the Chevrolet Knights in Kimberley, with the home side staggering to stumps on the third day on 11 for three.

The Dolphins set the Knights a target of 369 for victory after their top-order set up a declaration on 171 for three after 35 overs, Divan van Wyk scoring 65, Imraan Khan 36 and Daniel Sincuba 43 not out.

Daryn Dupavillon then once again impressed with the ball, taking two for 10 in four overs to have the Knights reeling at the close.

Dupavillon had taken three wickets as the Knights first innings ended on 255 all out, a deficit of 197, with fellow seamers Mathew Pillans (15-4-51-3) and Graham Hume (17-1-55-2) working well in harmony with him. Spinner Keshav Maharaj also performed a valuable role with two for 51 in 28 overs.

The Knights had resumed on 128 for four, but only Pite van Biljon (35), Michael Erlank (55 not out) and Werner Coetsee (29) were able to handle the Dolphins attack, and the home side sang a similarly sad tune in their brief second innings.



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