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Ken Borland

AB returns to former glories 0

Posted on March 22, 2017 by Ken


AB de Villiers batted with all his former panache and authority upon his return to the domestic scene as he steered the Titans to a commanding seven-wicket win with 21.5 overs to spare over the Warriors in their Momentum One-Day Cup match at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Tuesday.

The bonus point win returns the Titans to the top of the standings, leading the Dolphins by four points ahead of the final round of fixtures.

While the Titans will host the fading Cape Cobras at Centurion on Thursday, the KwaZulu-Natalians face the daunting task of beating the Knights with a bonus point in Durban in order to claim first place and a home final. And obviously the Cobras must beat the Titans.

While de Villiers utterly dominated the Warriors attack as he stroked a sublime 75 not out off 62 balls, the Titans were only chasing 148 thanks to the brilliant work of their attack, with another returning international, Chris Morris, leading the way with three for 30 in eight overs.

Morris set the tone as his second ball of the match curved like a bow and bowled Gihahn Cloete for a first-ball duck.

With Morris conceding just nine runs in his first four overs, Lungi Ngidi then put the Warriors further back with a double-strike in the sixth over.

Colin Ingram (4) latched on to a poor, short ball down leg, but swung it in the air to fine leg, where Junior Dala made good ground around the boundary and took a super catch.

Ngidi then produced a beauty four balls later to have Colin Ackermann caught behind for a duck, getting bounce and away movement from an excellent length.

Having won the toss and elected to bat, the Warriors were 18 for three inside the first half-hour, but Jon-Jon Smuts and Yaseen Vallie then added 66 for the fourth wicket. It wasn’t hang-on-to-your-hats breathtakingly quick, coming off 87 deliveries, but it did stop the bleeding.

Smuts, coming off successive centuries, scored 39 before getting a little tickle on a Malusi Siboto delivery that was sliding down leg and being well caught by wicketkeeper Heino Kuhn, and off-spinner Aiden Markram then won a short battle with Lesiba Ngoepe, having him smartly stumped by Kuhn for two.

Morris then returned to deliver another top-class spell of fast swing bowling, Vallie, who had scrapped his way to a dogged 44 off 61 balls, being caught behind and then Kelly Smuts being bowled for a duck as he shouldered arms to a superb delivery to the left-hander from over the wicket, pitching off and then swinging enough to hit the off stump.

The Warriors were a parlous 117 for seven, but Jerry Nqolo added 26 to the total and there was 16 from Andrew Birch before the visitors ran out of luck on 147 all out, Dala claiming two wickets with short balls and Ngidi picking up a third as he finished with fine figures of three for 32 in eight overs.

Wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi was able to build on the pressure created by the pacemen as he squeezed the Warriors batsmen further by bowling his 10 overs for just 28 runs.

The star attraction De Villiers came to the crease with the Warriors still in the game, having just reduced the Titans to 47 for two, Birch striking early by having Jonathan Vandiar caught in the slips for one, and Aya Gqamane then dismissing Kuhn for a busy 23.

De Villiers was dazzling from the outset, hitting his second and third deliveries for sumptuous boundaries and, even though Aiden Markram being bowled by a grubber from Birch for 23 in the next over provided some food for thought, the global superstar just cruised through the rest of the innings.

There were seven fours and a six in his 40-ball fifty, as De Villiers covered the entire map of the Willowmoore Park outfield with strokes of extraordinary placement and timing; Farhaan Behardien but a support act as he made 24 not out in their unbeaten stand of 87 off 94 balls.

De Villiers finished with 75 not out off 62 deliveries, with 10 fours and a six, proving once again that he has more talent in his big toe than most batsmen on their best day.

‘Everything just clicked’ – De Villiers 0

Posted on April 07, 2015 by Ken

AB de Villiers batted as if he had a prior engagement in blazing his way to the fastest ODI century ever at the Wanderers on Sunday, and then said it was just one of those days when everything clicked.

De Villiers smashed 149 off 44 balls, reaching three figures off just 31 deliveries, in the most outrageous innings every played in ODI cricket, but it did ring true when he said it had not been his best ball-striking day.

“I have hit the ball better before, believe it or not, but it was just one of those exceptional days when you get a couple out of the middle of the bat and then everything just clicks. Today it just happened for me.

“On this ground, if you’re in decent form, you swing hard and have a bit of luck, then amazing things can happen and it’s very difficult to stop you, like Ricky Ponting and Herschelle Gibbs have shown in the past,” De Villiers said.

It was a top-class display of innovation and imagination from De Villiers, who fashioned 25 boundaries – nine fours and 16 sixes – from the 44 balls he faced, often playing strokes that bordered on the impossible.

“In today’s cricket you have to read the game and most batsmen do premeditate what they’re going to do. You can’t just let the bowlers bowl at you, you have to put them under pressure, so there were definitely quite a few premeditated shots by me today,” De Villiers admitted, making his superhuman efforts sound almost mundane.

It sounded even more corny when De Villiers said he had practically begged coach Russell Domingo to let David Miller go in ahead of him because he felt the left-hander could have added “even more fuel” to the brilliant opening stand of 247 in 38.3 overs between Hashim Amla and Rilee Rossouw.

While never considering themselves dead certs for the World Cup, De Villiers said Sunday’s overwhelming victory over the West Indies was a step in the right direction for the team as they look to go to Australasia believing they are the best team there.

“There’s no doubt a performance like this is a tremendous help for the confidence, which is 80 to 90% of sport. I believe we’re getting better, getting confidence is what this series is all about, and we want to go to the World Cup believing we are the best. No team has ever won the World Cup not thinking they’re the best team in the tournament,” South Africa’s ODI captain said.

Denesh Ramdin has been around the international circuit for nearly 10 years and he described De Villiers’ knock as one of the best he had ever seen; the rookie Rossouw said the number one ranked ODI batsman was playing the game at a different level to everyone else.

“I was just speechless watching AB, it was out of this world. He’s a freak, on a level of his own. It’s just not right scoring a hundred off 31 balls!

“Those who didn’t watch the innings really missed out because seeing is believing,” Rossouw said of his skipper’s extraordinary exploits.




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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