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Ken Borland



Pace quartet key to Lions’ triumph, but batsmen & back-up bowlers too 0

Posted on May 05, 2016 by Ken

 

The presence of all four first-choice pace bowlers in the top five of the Sunfoil Series averages was obviously a key factor in the Highveld Lions clinching the four-day title with a match to spare, but Geoff Toyana also praised the batsmen and the back-up bowlers for their vital role in the franchise’s third trophy in three seasons.

Dwaine Pretorius (19 wickets @ 18.52), Chris Morris (27 @ 20.44), Kagiso Rabada (34 @ 21.67) and Hardus Viljoen (31 @ 22.22) proved the adage that bowlers win matches as they played key roles in the Lions’ six wins, but they could not have done it without the support provided by the batsmen.

Captain Stephen Cook was obviously the outstanding contributor in this regard with 889 runs at 68.38, including five centuries, but the contributions of Temba Bavuma (545 @ 77.85), Neil McKenzie (487 @ 48.70) and Thami Tsolekile (424 @ 42.40) were also immense.

Back-up bowlers like Sean Jamison, with 12 wickets in three games, Pumelela Matshikwe (7wkts) and Eddie Leie (13wkts) were also crucial in filling in when the top four weren’t around.

“That combination of Kagiso, Chris, Hardus and Dwaine was really special, but we were fortunate because our depth was very good. We beat the Cobras by an innings with only Dwaine playing out of those, so those other bowlers don’t get the headlines but they really came through for us.

“With the bat, Stephen scoring five centuries was really special, plus there was his experience and leadership, while Neil was also in the runs and Temba came back from the Test team and did the business for us,” Toyana said.

It is the first time the Lions have won the four-day title since 1999/2000, in the pre-franchise days when they played as Gauteng, and Toyana said that made the triumph extra special.

“It’s the trophy we’ve wanted all these years and I’m very happy for the squad because it was tough last season, when we finished last in all competitions. But the belief in the squad was there because we did not make many changes, it was just a change in attitude that did the trick,” Toyana said.

Titans grab the Knights’ banker & raid the Dolphins 0

Posted on April 18, 2016 by Ken

 

The Titans will announce three new signings for their champion outfit on Friday as they have lured one of the most consistent bowlers in franchise cricket and two young batsmen just looking for half-a-chance to reach their potential to Centurion.

Malusi Siboto, a stalwart of the Knights attack with 98 wickets in 39 matches at an average of 31 in Sunfoil Series cricket, is the bowler who will be joining the Titans, while Jonathan Vandiar and Daniel Sincuba, both from the Dolphins, are the batsmen moving to Centurion.

Vandiar was considered one of the brightest young batting talents in the country when he played for the Highveld Lions as an U19 star, before joining the Dolphins in the 2012/13 season. But the left-hander has never really fulfilled his talent, something Titans coach Rob Walter wants to change.

“Everyone knows he has talent and we’d like to help him realise that. If you go back a few years at the Lions, he was close to national honours and then just got lost a bit. He’s certainly got potential and I believe he can thrive in our environment,” Walter told The Citizen.

Sincuba impressed the Titans when he scored 41 against them last season in Durban, but the 23-year-old has only played sporadically for the Dolphins since then. He will join the Titans as the back-up wicketkeeper to Heinrich Klaasen, with Mangaliso Mosehle having joined the Lions.

“We wanted a young batsman that we could really grow his game, we’re strong enough in terms of senior batsmen and we’d like to invest our energy in a young cricketer. He’s a top-order batsman and it’s hugely important that we have depth there. The key is to create competition and, most importantly, give us different options when we need to change the balance of the side and play horses-for-courses,” Walter said.

The 28-year-old Siboto has been the banker of the Knights attack and took 28 Sunfoil Series wickets at an average of just 20 this season, as well as being the leading wicket-taker in the Momentum One-Day Cup and matching West Indian team-mate Andre Russell’s excellent figures in the RamSlam T20 Challenge. The left-hand batsman is also very capable with the willow and will lengthen the Titans’ tail.

“He can perform in all three formats, he’s a really solid and consistent bowler and we needed some seniority in our attack to help bring the young bowlers through. He brings experience and has been a very successful bowler with the Knights,” Walter said.

The signing of Siboto does compensate for the loss of fast bowler Marchant de Lange to the Knights.

“He’s a very different bowler to Marchant but we still have Rowan Richards, the spin options are still there, David Wiese and Chris Morris will play if they’re not with the national side and these guys can combine with our youth,” Walter said.

The other big departure from the Titans is batsman Theunis de Bruyn, but Aiden Markram, the U19 World Cup-winning captain, has joined the contracted list in his place.

Titans contracted players: Henry Davids, Albie Morkel, David Wiese, Chris Morris, Heino Kuhn, Daniel Sincuba, Malusi Siboto, Jonathan Vandiar, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, Grant Thomson, Lungi Ngidi, Junior Dala, Tabraiz Shamsi, Shaun von Berg, Qaasim Adams, Rowan Richards, Grant Mokoena, Ethy Mbhalati.

How to play Dale Steyn – according to Neil McKenzie 0

Posted on August 05, 2015 by Ken

 

Dale Steyn became the quickest to 400 Test wickets in terms of the number of deliveries bowled at the weekend and former Proteas star and Highveld Lions stalwart Neil McKenzie had some advice for the many batsmen who have fallen to the great fast bowler’s skills and the many who will try and play him in future.

McKenzie, who played 58 Tests and occasionally crossed swords with Steyn on the domestic circuit, said the key to facing the fiery 32-year-old lay in punishing the few bad balls that come your way and being able to handle the short-pitched delivery.

“Of course the batsman is always up against it against Dale, but if you can jump all over the occasional bad ball that comes your way then it helps release the pressure. You’ve also got to be able to play the short ball well because Dale uses that a lot. He has more of a skiddy bouncer, but he uses it to take away the batsman’s feet and the follow-up ball or two deliveries later is often the one that gets the wicket. So the feet have to be working well,” McKenzie told The Citizen.

The scorer of more than 19 000 first-class runs and maker of centuries in England, India, Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka and South Africa said what made Steyn special as a bowler was his ability to even be a threat on true batting pitches.

“What makes Dale such a great bowler is that he has weapons for whatever pitch, whatever the conditions are. If the pitch is seaming, he can obviously use that, if there’s bounce he uses that, if there’s swing he’s a master of moving it both ways, both conventional and reverse swing. If the pitch is slow or flat, then he has the skills to still be dangerous. That’s the ultimate bowler, McKenzie said.

 

 

Morkel leads Titans to title with one of the great innings in finals 0

Posted on July 30, 2015 by Ken

Albie Morkel struck 134 not out off 103 balls, including eight fours and seven sixes, as he led the Unlimited Titans to an unlikely five-wicket win over the Nashua Cape Cobras in the Momentum One-Day Cup final at Newlands on Friday night.

It was one of the great innings in the history of South African domestic limited-overs finals and Morkel shared the glory with Dean Elgar. His fellow left-hander scored 100 off 119 balls, his second successive century under pressure after his hundred in the playoff against the Dolphins.

Morkel entered the ring with the Titans in dire trouble on 60 for four in the 15th over, chasing 286 for victory, and the powerful left-hander took a while to get going as the Cobras pacemen attacked him with short-pitched bowling.

But the gritty Elgar and the determined Morkel dug in and would go on to add 195 off 189 balls for the fifth wicket, a record partnership and one that dramatically changed the momentum of the final.

Rory Kleinveldt had been the star of the opening overs of the Titans innings, dismissing both openers, Henry Davids for a duck and Jacques Rudolph for 4, but Morkel greeted his return in the batting powerplay by pulling and cutting him for three sixes in two overs.

Morkel reached his maiden List A century in the 43rd over, off just 87 deliveries, and Elgar reached three figures in the 45th over, before mistiming a pull off Kleinveldt and being caught at deep backward square-leg.

Elgar’s dismissal left the Titans needing 31 runs off 28 balls and one could sense renewed hope amongst the Cobras.

But Morkel then took complete charge, rushing the Titans to victory with 17 balls to spare as he ended Kleinveldt’s over with two sixes and a four and collected two more boundaries off Beuran Hendricks in the 47th over.

It was left-arm spinner Robin Peterson’s misfortune to see his first ball of the 48th over launched for six and the winning runs by David Wiese. Peterson came into the match as a key bowler, being the leading wicket-taker in the competition, but his contribution was minimal and questions will be asked of captain Justin Ontong’s use of his experienced star, limiting him to just 3.1 overs.

His reasoning was probably that he did not want a left-arm spinner turning the ball into the pads of two left-handers while Elgar and Morkel were at the crease, but none of his other bowlers were able to make an impression on the pair until it was much too late.

Off-spinner Sybrand Engelbrecht had removed Theunis de Bruyn (30) and Qaasim Adams (3) in successive overs to set warning bells ringing amongst the Titans, but Elgar and Morkel showed enormous composure and skill to first bat the visitors out of trouble and then into a commanding position.

Elgar has batted like a man with a point to prove after not featuring in the national team’s limited-overs plans, while Morkel continues to produce extraordinary match-winning performances at the evergreen age of 33.

Centurion Richard Levi and Andrew Puttick continued their prolific opening partnership but the rest of the Cape Cobras batsmen failed to chip in as the Titans pulled together and restricted them to 285 for eight in their 50 overs.

Levi and Puttick added 180 off 198 balls after the Cobras had won the toss and elected to bat first and really seemed to have set the home side on course for a total well in excess of 300.

But wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi bowled with wonderful control and guile, removing Levi, and the Titans bowlers applied the squeeze most effectively thereafter as the Cobras scored just 115 runs in the last 20 overs for the loss of eight wickets.

The powerful run-gathering abilities of Levi gave the Cobras the perfect start and the burly 27-year-old collected a pair of boundaries in overs from JP de Villiers, Wiese and Dala up front.

Puttick was content to feed Levi the strike and the pace bowlers were severely dealt with by the T20 international as he pounced on some friendly half-volleys and long-hops from the Titans, who also helped the Cobras by conceding numerous extras.

While Levi went to 104 off 113 balls, with 11 fours and a massive six, the spinners slowing him down, it was another day in the office for Puttick, who passed 50 for the eighth time in 10 innings in this season’s Momentum One-Day Cup, and went on to score 69 off 99 deliveries, a workmanlike effort that provided the platform for his opening partner to launch.

After Shamsi turned a delivery into Levi to trap him lbw in the 32nd over with the total on 180, there was much conjecture as to which batsman the Cobras would send in next to take full advantage of the commanding position.

It was captain Justin Ontong, a fine finisher, who came in but he could only score seven off 11 balls before being run out at the bowler’s end looking for a second run to fine leg which Puttick was not interested in. It was Shamsi who did the fielding, Dala completing the run out from a throw which was relayed by wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle.

Stiaan van Zyl rightfully has many fans, but power-hitting in the closing overs of a limited-overs game is not one of his strengths and, when Puttick was run out by a sharp Dala direct hit, the elegant batsman was stuck with Omphile Ramela and the run-rate plummeted.

Shamsi completed an outstanding spell of one for 32 in 10 overs – he should have had two wickets but for Mosehle missing a stumping before Ontong had scored – and the Cobras batsmen were then besieged by the off-spin of Davids and tidy spells from Dala and Morkel.

The Titans were cock-a-hoop as they worked their way through the rest of the Cobras batting line-up, Davids claiming two wickets, Dala a sharp caught-and-bowled, and there was a third run out when Rudolph removed Peterson with a direct hit from mid-on.

The Cobras were grateful that Dane Vilas finally added the finishing touches to the opening stand as the wicketkeeper/batsman married innovation with the occasional swipe to score 40 off 25 balls before falling in an excellent final over from Wiese.

http://citizen.co.za/326546/one-greatest-innings-history/



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