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Ken Borland

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.



Last 10 overs with bat & ball the downfall for Proteas 0

Posted on January 01, 2015 by Ken

The last 10 overs with bat and ball were the downfall of the Proteas as they succumbed to a seven-wicket defeat at the hands of Australia and lost the series in the fourth one-day international at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

The batting was once again too dependent on AB de Villiers, who top-scored with 91 off 88 balls, with the lower middle-order fading away after his dismissal, a meagre 51 runs being scored in the last 10 overs as they finished on 267 for eight.

Nevertheless, the South African bowlers started strongly and reduced Australia to 98 for five midway through their innings before centurion Steven Smith and Matthew Wade added 121 in 20 overs.

The dismissal of Wade, beautifully caught by Ryan McLaren rushing in from deep backward square-leg off Wayne Parnell, for an invaluable hand of 52 off 59 balls, left Australia needing 49 off 34 balls with four wickets in hand.

The plan in those death overs was not always obvious, but there was no denying the awful execution of the South African bowlers as length deliveries, leg-stump full tosses, wides and even a no-ball were delivered, leaving captain De Villiers exposed.

Dale Steyn is obviously still the go-to man in terms of skill and experience, while Kyle Abbott (10-0-43-1) showed that he is capable of challenging for a 1st XI place, but the back-up seamers, McLaren and Parnell, were unable to stick to the plan.

The warning signs that another horrible World Cup choke is on the cards are there after the way South Africa unravelled in the crucial death overs both when batting and bowling.

Much credit must also go to Smith for a wonderful century, the 25-year-old eventually being bowled by left-arm spinner Robin Peterson when the scores were tied for 104 off 112 balls. His star is clearly on the rise and it was an innings of great composure and skill under pressure.

Smith’s ability to manipulate the ball around the cavernous MCG and his speed between the wickets meant he kept a brisk run-rate going throughout his innings despite only scoring seven fours.

Wicketkeeper Wade came in with Australia looking down and out and first had to tame a rampant Steyn. His eagerness to get on the front foot and play positively enabled him to build a match-winning partnership with Smith.

James Faulkner then came in and was allowed to target his favoured areas as he belted 34 not out off 19 balls to finish the chase.

The South African bowlers managed to put the Australians under severe pressure in the first half of their innings.

Abbott showed the depth of new-ball bowlers South Africa have – both Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander were on the sidelines on Friday – with a superb opening spell of one for five in four overs, his wicket being that of David Warner, trapped lbw for four as the paceman straightened a delivery back into the left-hander.

McLaren did not have a happy start to his bowling stint, conceding 17 runs in his first two overs, but he did claim a key wicket when a full, wide away-swinger found the edge of Shane Watson’s bat and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock was presented with a simple catch.

That brought Smith to the crease and he produced a top-class knock even as wickets continued to fall at the other end.

Aaron Finch (22) gave Parnell a bonus wicket by pulling to deep square-leg and skipper George Bailey was resident at the crease for half-an-hour before his old problem of flashing outside off stump at length deliveries presented itself and he was caught behind off Steyn for 16.

Glenn Maxwell can be devastating on his day, but his poor footwork was exposed by Steyn in his next over, finding another edge for him to be caught by Hashim Amla at slip for just two. De Villiers can feel well-pleased that his positive field-placing brought reward.

But Australia can seemingly always rely on runs from their wicketkeeper (whoever they choose) and Wade stepped up to support Smith, who showed that he can be a world-beater.

Earlier, De Villiers had once again dazzled and David Miller can book his ticket to the World Cup, but the rest of the South African batting once again disappointed as they faded away to 267 for eight.

The Proteas are fortunate that they can call on De Villiers, already established as one of the all-time greats, as he was once again the mainstay of the innings, scoring 91 off 88 balls in another great display of skill and exquisite placement of the ball.

Miller was the one batsman to provide sturdy support to De Villiers, playing a fine knock of 45 off 61 balls as they set up the innings with a fourth-wicket stand of 122 in 20 overs.

But unlike South Africa, whose problems extend from the batting relying too heavily on De Villiers to dodgy death bowling, Australia can rely on their bowlers in the last 10 overs to really turn the screw. Once they removed Miller, caught in the covers in an attempt to hit over the top in the powerplay, they restricted the Proteas to a meagre 51 runs in the last 10 overs, while claiming four more wickets.

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc was outstanding with his mix of yorkers and slower balls as he finished with one for 40 in 10 overs – figures that don’t do justice to his performance. Fellow paceman Pat Cummins also bowled better than his figures of two for 61, being a threat throughout, while Faulkner was also brilliant at the death with his back-of-the-hand deliveries, finishing with two for 45.

South Africa will be concerned that De Kock continues to struggle at the top of the order, scratching his way to 17 off 38 balls before popping a lame return catch to off-spinner Maxwell, who had had him dropped at slip in his first over.

Fellow opener Amla was looking good, however, as he cruised to 18 off 20 balls. He had identified the balls to go after well, collecting three fours, and was quite within his rights to pull the shortish delivery Nathan Coulter-Nile bowled to him in the sixth over, but unfortunately he hit it straight to midwicket, where Cummins hung on to a sharp, dipping catch.

Faf du Plessis also looked in good touch as he scored 28 off 37 balls as South Africa reached 70 for one in the 16th over. But Cummins, returning after Du Plessis had hit him for two fours in his previous over in the first powerplay, got some extra bounce outside off stump and found the edge of an attempted steer, the ball nestling safely in wicketkeeper Wade’s gloves.

De Kock had fallen in the previous over and South Africa were in some strife on 79 for three.

But De Villiers once again showed that he is in a different league, improvising brilliantly, while still playing off the basis of a sound technique, and hardly ever seeming to take a risk. He only collected six boundaries, but scored at better than a run-a-ball on a slowish pitch without breaking a sweat.

With the bowlers at their mercy – Australia’s attack was also one short when Coulter-Nile limped off with a hamstring strain – both set batsmen found ways to get out. Miller was trying to hit over the top in the powerplay, but could only skew Faulkner high into the covers, while De Villiers charged down the pitch to Cummins and was reaching for a slower-ball bouncer, a tennis-like shot going to deep midwicket.

After that, the remaining batsmen could not find ways to dominate the impressive Australian attack, with Farhaan Behardien managing just 22 off 23 balls.

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