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Ken Borland



Time for the Cape Cobras to learn to ‘tai’ 0

Posted on December 18, 2017 by Ken

 

The Kalenjin tribe of Kenya’s Rift Valley are famous for their dominance of long-distance running, numerous world and Olympic champions having come from their population of about five million, a staggering statistical anomaly that has had sports scientists scrambling to study them.

While scientists have pointed to a complex interaction between genetic and socio-economic factors for their success, the Kalenjin runners are also famous for their stoicism and endurance. It is that combined with natural abilities, that makes them world-beaters. They use the word ‘tai’ as an exhortation to keep going forward and they certainly do just that.

Much of the work on the persevering, “no gain without pain” Kalenjin has been done at the University of Cape Town and perhaps the cricket fraternity based in the city that enjoys the best standard of living in the country needs to go and study up on key traits for sporting success like determination and not blaming your failures on your opposition.

The RamSlam T20 Challenge final takes place on Saturday in Centurion and some of the Cape Cobras management and media seem to believe that they are not there due to some incredible conspiracy that involves the Titans and the weather conspiring against them. Never mind the fact that the star-studded Cobras team did not win their first three games and then threw away a winning position in their last round-robin match, where victory would have seen them hosting the semi-final against the Dolphins that was washed out on Thursday evening in Durban.

As the 2019 World Cup nears and the mental fortitude of our players is once again put under the most ruthless of microscopes, it is alarming that many of our Proteas are playing in an environment where excuse-making, blaming others and even accusing other teams of matchfixing is encouraged.

The Titans, by topping the log by miles, earned the right to prepare for their semi-final in whatever manner they saw fit, and they decided to spare their leading players the exertions of travelling to Cape Town to play on Friday, then to Durban to play on Sunday and then returning to Centurion on Monday, leaving just one day to prepare for the knockout match.

Such are the rewards for performance and they should be praised for the high standards they have brought to the competition, not tainted by slanderous allegations in the Cape that they were involved in some sort of matchfixing.

Instead of trying to bring everyone down to their under-performing standards, the Cobras, who have a wealth of talent at their disposal, should rather be focused on bridging the gap between themselves and the Titans.

In keeping with the sore-losers image they are cultivating so well in Cape Town, some of their media were quick to jump all over the Titans for only fielding five players of colour in their semi-final win over the Warriors, due to Henry Davids mangling his knee shortly before the toss.

The word from Cricket South Africa is that there will be no action taken against the Titans because the move was cleared by the head of their transformation committee, Max Jordaan, beforehand. It was a common sense decision because four minutes before the toss is hardly the time to rush someone in from outside the squad, without a warm-up.

There was no complaint from the Warriors, either, but there will always be that element in the Western Cape that knows better, watching from their vantage point behind the Mountain.

It seems there will always be the haters in South African sport when a team enjoys prolonged success.

 

https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-citizen-gauteng/20171216/282570198460108

Cobras looking to avoid last place after disrupted season 0

Posted on May 19, 2016 by Ken

 

While the bizhub Highveld Lions have secured their position at the top of the Sunfoil Series standings, there will be a fiercely-fought contest at the other end of the log as the defending champion Nashua Cape Cobras look to avoid the wooden spoon in the final round of matches starting on Thursday.

The Cobras, with so many representatives of both the national and SA A sides coming in and out of the team, have endured a disrupted season, but they would dearly like to beat the Sunfoil Dolphins, who are looking to hang on to second place behind the Lions, to ensure they don’t finish last.

Although their hopes of winning the four-day title for the fifth time in six seasons are long gone, the progress of players like Dane Paterson and Omphile Ramela has been a major positive.

“Obviously we’ve spoken about not finishing last, but we’ve gained some things this season in the form of people like Dane and Omphi, and they would like to finish near the top of the leading wicket-takers and run-scorers lists,” Cobras coach Paul Adams told The Citizen on Wednesday.

The depth of the Cobras has always been one of the major reasons for their dominance of franchise cricket in recent years, and Adams will use the match against the Dolphins at the Oval in Pietermaritzburg to give exposure to other players coming through like Matthew Kleinveldt, left-arm swing bowler Mpilo Njoloza and wrist-spinner George Linde.

Stiaan van Zyl is out of action with a thigh strain, but the inclusion of Dane Piedt means the Cobras have one new international returning for another.

“It’s another chance to look at a couple of players, someone like Matthew has done nicely in the three-day competition, with guys like Rory Kleinveldt, Robin Peterson and Mthokozisi Shezi having a break after the long season.

“Players like Paterson and Ramela understand their games better now and hopefully we’ll be back in the running in four-day cricket next season. Despite the results, we’ve had some consistent players who are moving on in the game,” Adams said.

For the Dolphins, the disappointment of losing to the Lions last weekend and therefore ending the title chase leaves them vulnerable against a quality, hungry outfit like the Cobras and coach Lance Klusener has intimated that he might well freshen up the squad by making a few changes.

The Chevrolet Warriors are the other team in danger of ‘winning’ the wooden spoon and they take on the champion Lions at the Wanderers with a slender lead of just 1.22 points over the Cobras.

The Eastern Cape side are also looking to the 2015/16 season according to coach Malibongwe Maketa and the same squad that were beaten in East London by the Chevrolet Knights last weekend will do duty in Johannesburg.

The pressure will be on the Warriors batsmen to score runs in the first innings against the best attack in the competition and Maketa said the inconsistent batting has been the biggest issue for his side this season.

“We haven’t been consistent enough, we haven’t batted well in the first innings and, although we’ve managed to save some games in the second innings, last weekend’s defeat was always coming. But we’re working hard on our young batsmen, we want to test them against the Lions, where they’ll have to score runs under pressure.

“But this is our best side and we have them for the next two or three seasons, so we want to keep playing them and building. We’re not going to be giving away free Warriors caps,” Maketa said.

The Lions will want to complete their superb campaign by beating the Warriors and are likely to name their strongest XI even though nobody can catch them at the top of the standings.

Dominic Hendricks will replace wicketkeeper/batsman Thami Tsolekile, who is being troubled by a finger injury, while the batting will be further strengthened by the return of Alviro Petersen.

The battle for second place also involves the Unlimited Titans, who are 12.16 points behind the Dolphins, and they host the Knights at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

The Titans will be without opening batsman Dean Elgar, who was the star of their draw against the Cobras last weekend with an unbeaten double-century, before being struck on the head by Paterson and suffering a mild concussion.

But Qaasim Adams, who has scored a century for the Titans in both the Sunfoil Series and the Momentum One-Day Cup and was named as the franchise’s Most Improved Player at their awards function this week, returns from injury, and with Albie Morkel and Shaun von Berg both in the squad, the home side could bat down to number nine.

Knights coach Sarel Cilliers is expecting a pitch that will become up-and-down as the Titans need to win the game to overtake the Dolphins and finish second. But victory for the visitors could see them swop positions with the Titans and finish third.

“I definitely think their plan is to use inconsistent bounce and the pitch looks as if it will go up-and-down quite early. So far in this competition we’ve had three losses, three draws and three wins, so I’d really like to tilt the balance in favour of wins by the end of the season,” Cilliers said.

Quinton Friend, who many judges of fast bowling rate as a quality paceman, is back for the Knights and so is Malusi Siboto, an accurate back-up seamer.

Unfortunately Corne Dry and Duanne Olivier are both out injured and Cilliers said they are the sort of bang-it-in bowlers who could have thrived on the SuperSport Park pitch.

“They’ve really struck their straps in the last couple of weeks and their injuries are unfortunate because those youngsters do hit the deck hard. We’ve been capable of containing sides, but wickets have been a bit short and we had three games where we bowled for 140 overs, not being able to bowl sides out in the first innings, and that’s a long time in the field.

“But it was a good turnaround in East London, where we managed to bowl the Warriors out in both the first and second innings, and that was a good performance, especially by the bowlers,” Cilliers said.

 

Cobras confirm themselves as team to beat 0

Posted on February 06, 2016 by Ken

 

The Cape Cobras confirmed themselves as the team to beat in the Momentum One-Day Cup when they hammered the defending champion Unlimited Titans by 113 runs at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Friday night.

The Cobras had been sent in to bat and struggled along to 83 for two in 22 overs before lightning and then rain forced the players off the field for 75 minutes. The delay served as a major disruption for the Titans, who came back lacking intensity, bowled poorly and saw the Cobras amass 237 for five in the 42 overs now allotted to them.

As poorly as the Titans bowled on a pitch offering substantial assistance to the bowlers, their batting was even worse as they subsided to 133 all out and their biggest ever defeat at the hands of the Cobras.

In retrospect, it was also silly of them to choose eight specialist batsmen and only two fast bowlers in Junior Dala and Lungi Ngidi, with the Cobras’ pace quartet of Beuran Hendricks, Tshepo Moreki, Dane Paterson and Wayne Parnell showing up the opposition with the way they bowled.

Off-spinner Henry Davids produced a top-class spell up front for the Titans, bowling seven overs for 16 runs, and Ngidi and Dala were impressive with the new ball, each claiming a wicket.

Parnell (6) edged a cramped stroke into his own stumps when Ngidi gained extra bounce and nipped one back into the left-hander, while Andrew Puttick (22) was bowled by a tremendous delivery from Dala, beaten for pace as the ball jagged back to hit the top of off-stump.

It was hard going for the Cobras, but Omphile Ramela and Stiaan van Zyl had just raised a fifty partnership off 60 balls when the rain came.

Davids returned with the ball once play resumed and, in his second over back, he claimed the prized wicket of Van Zyl, lbw for 28 as the left-hander was deceived by the flight and missed a power-sweep. Davids finished with one for 24 in his nine overs and was one of the few Titans bowlers who could brag to the wife about his performance.

Ramela found an excellent partner in captain Justin Ontong and was content to go to his half-century in a measured 74 balls, before Dala took a superb return catch, diving forward, to dismiss him for 53.

The Cobras were 149 for four with just eight overs left in their curtailed innings, but that’s when the visitors would break the shackles thanks to Ontong and Dane Vilas.

Ramela’s dismissal would also mark the start of the final powerplay and 88 runs were bashed from those eight overs.

Ontong was particularly mean to medium-pacer Grant Thomson in the 40th over, hitting him for two fours and two sixes, in alternating blows, as he raised the 200, the fifty partnership off just 32 deliveries with Vilas, and his own run-a-ball half-century.

Thomson eventually had Ontong stumped – thanks to brilliant work by wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle standing up – for 65 off 53 balls to end the over, but it would not mean much respite as Vilas finished in style with a six and a four off Dala in the final over as he raced to 46 not out off just 23 deliveries, with three sixes.

The rain delay close to midway through the innings would mean the Duckworth/Lewis equation would adjust the target upwards and the Titans were left with 247 to win in 42 overs.

But left-arm quick Hendricks made huge inroads with the new ball, having Davids caught down the leg-side, thanks to extra bounce, for a four-ball duck and then having Theunis de Bruyn (14) also caught behind with a fine swinging delivery.

The introduction of Moreki in the 10th over was one of those inspired changes that make captains very happy as the nippy 22-year-old bowled Mosehle for 14 with his second delivery.

Dean Elgar (8) and Graeme van Buuren, who was the only Titans batsman to impress, stroking five fours and making 40 off 36 balls, were both caught behind by Vilas off Moreki, giving the former Dolphins paceman three for 26 in seven impressive overs and career-best figures in the Momentum One-Day Cup.

And Hendricks would also claim a career-best as he removed Qaasim Adams (3), Heinrich Klaasen (4) and last man Ngidi (4) and finished with outstanding figures of five for 31, the third-best figures for the Cobras in the competition and best against the Titans, just edging ahead of Monde Zondeki’s five for 32 at Newlands in 2006/7.

Thomson was run out for 13 and off-spinner Dane Piedt chipped in with the wicket of Tabraiz Shamsi (13) as they made their second-lowest total ever against the Cobras.

The Titans are languishing in fifth place on the log, on 13 points after eight games, and they will be reliant on other results going their way, while beating the Dolphins and Highveld Lions in their last two games, if they are to make the playoffs.

The Cobras, with the way the ball talked for their bowlers and their batsmen posted an impressive total in a bonus point win, have no such worries.

http://www.citizen.co.za/979293/cobras-confirm-themselves-as-team-to-beat/

Winning Dolphins eager for even more improvement v Titans 0

Posted on December 10, 2015 by Ken

The Dolphins come to Centurion to take on the Unlimited Titans on Thursday fresh off an excellent victory over the defending champion Nashua Cape Cobras and eager to continue improving in their challenge for the Sunfoil Series title.

The KwaZulu-Natal side hammered the Cobras by eight wickets at Newlands to rise to second on the log, overtaking the Titans and leaving themselves 17.24 points behind the bizhub Highveld Lions with three rounds of the four-day competition remaining.

The clash at SuperSport Park in Centurion is practically an eliminator to see who will be the Lions’ chasers heading into the final straight of the Sunfoil Series.

“We’ve had some good days and we’ve fought our way through to where we have a shout. But now we need more consistency and if we can put together two good days in a row, that’s generally when you win matches,” Dolphins coach Lance Klusener told The Citizen on Wednesday.

Young pacemen Mathew Pillans and Daryn Dupavillon have responded in excellent fashion to the burden placed on their shoulders, while left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj is fresh off a 10-wicket haul at Newlands.

The batting has not been as spectacular, but Imraan Khan, capped once for South Africa, has accumulated 551 runs this season with two hundreds and three fifties, fellow opener Divan van Wyk is averaging over 40, and Morne van Wyk, Cody Chetty and Daryn Smit are all dangerous with the bat.

The Titans will boast a menacing new-ball attack in the form of David Wiese and fit-again Marchant de Lange, with left-armer Rowan Richards and either Ethy Mbhalati or Junior Dala in support.

While not saying the pitch will be a snakepit, Titans coach Rob Walter is confident there will be a result-wicket at SuperSport Park.

“Neither team wants a dull draw and there aren’t many of those anyway at Centurion. I think it will be a good, even contest that will go four days, hopefully like the last two games of last season,” Walter said.

The Titans finished last season strongly by beating the Knights by 32 runs and the Warriors by 87 runs, and a similar showing now could see them sneak up on the Lions, who are currently 19.22 points ahead of them.

Wiese performed miracles with the ball in those two games, with combined figures of 16 wickets for 204 runs, backed by leg-spinner Shaun von Berg and De Lange.

Von Berg’s current form – 17 wickets at an average of 48.11 – does not inspire too much confidence and he has been serving up runs at 3.5 to the over, but Walter said surfaces thus far this season have not offered him much assistance.

In terms of the batting, Roelof van der Merwe has been inspirational with 657 runs at 59.72, including three centuries, while Theunis de Bruyn is a rising star and Dean Elgar is due a big score.

Walter says his team needs to rectify some sloppiness that crept into their game in their last encounter, a 170-run defeat at the hands of the Cobras in Paarl.

“We had them in the first innings but then we weren’t clinical enough at the end to close out the innings. We also batted very well at the start before falling apart, so we need to be mentally stronger and make sure the opposition has to work hard for anything they get,” Walter said.

While the Highveld Lions are sitting pretty at the top of the log, coach Geoff Toyana is wary of either the Dolphins or Titans creeping up on them and says his team have to keep winning as they travel to Bloemfontein to take on the Chevrolet Knights.

“We’ve played some decent cricket, but we have to keep winning, every game is a big game,” Toyana said.

The Lions could have closed the door on their chasers in their last match, when they were held to a draw by the Warriors, finishing just 17 runs short of a meagre 98-run target, and they will be eager to return to winning ways at this crucial stage of the season.

The Lions went down to the Knights by 143 runs in their home fixture in Potchefstroom, contriving to be bowled out for 137 in their second innings after leading by 101 on first innings.

Off-spinner Werner Coetsee took four for 34 to hasten the Lions’ collapse to their only defeat of this campaign, and the visitors are going to have to adapt better to what Knights coach Sarel Cilliers said would be a dry pitch at Chevrolet Park.

Whatever the result, the Bloemfontein public will be treated to the sight of the best pace attack in franchise cricket with Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada and Hardus Viljoen all in great form for the Lions. Dwaine Pretorius, who took eight wickets in three games before injuring his back, is back in the squad as well.

Eddie Leie is the chief spinner for the Johannesburg-based franchise but has struggled on unresponsive surfaces, taking just six wickets at 55 runs apiece. He will hope to bounce back to top form in friendlier conditions in Bloemfontein.

Cilliers said batsmen not making big scores and missing opportunities in the field were the two factors preventing his team from making a stronger challenge in the Sunfoil Series.

“There are a couple of critical things we need to get right again. We need to score big runs when the opportunity presents itself: We’ve had 22 scores of more than 30 in the last three games but no centuries. And we need to take our opportunities in the field because we’ve bowled with control,” Cilliers said.

The other match of the third-last round is at Newlands, where the Cobras host the Chevrolet Warriors.

The Cobras have struggled with so many players on international duty and are currently bottom of the log, with just one win in seven matches.

Stiaan van Zyl motored to a century in his last innings and if Dane Vilas, Justin Ontong and Andrew Puttick can show their best form, then the Cobras can post the sort of score that their attack, which has shown great potential this season, can capitalise on.

http://citizen.co.za/342224/sunfoil-series-preview-dolphins-vs-titans/

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