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Ken Borland



Never-say-die Titans salvage epic draw v Lions 0

Posted on April 11, 2016 by Ken

 

The bravest of batting efforts by the never-say-die Unlimited Titans saw them salvage an epic draw in their Sunfoil Series match against the bizhub Highveld Lions at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday, ensuring that they will go into the last weekend of the competition in prime position to claim the title.

The Titans were forced to follow on 379 runs behind the Lions and Pumelela Matshikwe’s deadly four-wicket burst just before lunch seemed to have condemned them to an innings defeat as they stumbled into the break on 219 for five.

But the tenacious Dean Elgar produced one of the finest innings of his career to bat for nine hours and score an epic 173, Qaasim Adams (71 not out in 263 minutes) and Marchant de Lange (23 not out in 85 minutes) providing immense support as the game died a natural death with the Titans having erased the deficit and scored 385 for six. By denying the second-placed Lions the 10 points for a win, the Titans will take a 12.62-point lead into the final round.

Matshikwe, probing and accurate, was superb, taking six for 58 in 31 overs and used the inconsistent bounce and a worn area outside the right-hander’s off stump from the West Lane End, that caused the ball to jag back, brilliantly.

Hardus Viljoen and Dwaine Pretorius were also threats when the ball was newer and harder, but left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin toiled through 31 overs on the dry pitch without success.

Test opener Elgar brought tremendous determination and a savvy game plan to the final day, but he could not have rescued the game without the help of Adams. The 31-year-old was left out of the team at some stages in the first half of the summer as the Titans tried to balance their team, but he has become an absolutely key batsman and his average in the four-day competition is now 69.66 after knocks of 73 and 71 not out against the defending champions.

The Titans began the final day on 156 for one and Elgar and Grant Mokoena survived the first hour without much interference. But that was before the introduction of Matshikwe, who clings to a line-and-length with steely determination.

Matshikwe bowled Mokoena for 27, a gutsy two-and-a-half hour knock which was ended when the batsman inside-edged a cut into his stumps.

Mokoena’s dismissal did not disrupt Elgar’s focus and the left-hander went to his 16th Sunfoil Series century and second of the season, after five hours and 17 minutes at the crease, having already faced 232 balls.

Matshikwe’s two overs from the West Lane End immediately before lunch were what undermined the Titans innings so terribly, as he used the deteriorating surface to great effect.

Theunis de Bruyn (7) was the victim of an umpiring error as he was given out caught behind off the sleeve under his arm, but Mangaliso Mosehle, who completed a disheartening pair, and Henry Davids were both comprehensively beaten and bowled for ducks by Matshikwe.

Mosehle played around his first delivery and lost his off stump as the ball nipped back, and Davids shouldered arms and was bowled as the ball jagged back a long way off the crack.

That brought Elgar and Adams together and, after playing out the over-and-a-half before lunch they set about dominating the afternoon. The left-handers were not as vulnerable to Matshikwe’s favoured area but they both had to show tremendous defensive technique and concentration as they added 110 for the sixth wicket, facing 254 balls and taking three hours out of the game.

They reached 282 for five and a fascinating contest developed between Elgar and Fortuin: the batsman would often advance and hit the spinner straight down the ground, but the 21-year-old seemed to have made a key breakthrough for the Lions when Elgar got himself into a tangle and seemed to have offered a bat/pad catch.

The umpire turned the appeal down though and Elgar and Adams notched a century partnership and took the Titans past 300.

Matshikwe returned though and claimed the wicket of Elgar, who pushed hard down the ground, but the angle from around the wicket took the ball on to the inside edge and Dominic Hendricks took a diving bat/pad catch from short mid-off.

There were still at least 25 overs left to be bowled when De Lange came in. He is normally a no-frills belter of the ball, but the Titans are chasing a trophy and he had to change his game plan.

He did a superb job with Adams, defending stoutly but taking the runs when they were on offer, another 59 runs being added as the home side survived a tense final day to ensure they are the favourites for the four-day title.

As well as the Lions played, they will be disappointed that they could not bowl the Titans out on the final day – injured wrist-spinner Eddie Leie was missed and the lack of a reverse-swing option also hurt them.

http://www.citizen.co.za/1060151/never-say-die-titans-salvage-epic-draw-v-lions/

Adams frees his arms but can’t beat the rain 0

Posted on February 18, 2016 by Ken

 

Qaasim Adams freed his arms to record-breaking effect at the end of the Titans innings, but to no avail as their Momentum One-Day Cup match against the Highveld Lions in Centurion was washed out on Wednesday night.

Adams hammered 50 off just 21 balls – reaching his half-century off 20 deliveries, the fastest in the competition’s history – to boost the Titans to 240 for six in 35 overs, after rain had initially interrupted their innings on 118 for two in the 26th over. Four big-hitters of note had previously notched a fifty off 21 balls – Justin Kemp, Adrian McLaren, Richard Levi and Dwaine Pretorius.

The Highveld Lions, set a revised target of 255 in 35 overs, then breezed to 74 for one in 10.1 overs with Rassie van der Dussen (33*) and Alviro Petersen (37*) in imperious form.

The Lions will now go on to the Momentum One-Day Cup playoff match against the Warriors in Johannesburg next Wednesday.

The Lions had won the toss and elected to bowl first and looked in serious trouble when Aiden Markram (37 off 25) was off to a flier at the top of the innings and left-arm opening bowler Carmi le Roux left the field in his third over with a leg injury. Having already lost spinner Eddie Leie to an injury in the warm-up, the Lions were forced to employ part-time bowlers Stephen Cook and Petersen, while coach Geoff Toyana came out to field until a young Tshwane University of Technology player, William Wentzel, could be found to fill in as 12th man for the visitors.

Grant Mokoena (37) and Dean Elgar (38 off 32) were in the middle of their 71-run third-wicket stand when the first storm arrived and, when they were dismissed within three balls of each other, it was left to Adams, who launched five sixes, and Albie Morkel (21 off 9) to add the finishing touches to the innings.

Pumelela Matshikwe was the best of the Lions bowlers, with two for 44 in seven overs, although he bowled a horrible last over which included two wides, two no-balls and a six and a four by Adams when he went to his half-century.

 

AB relieved to get 1st Test win under the belt 0

Posted on January 27, 2016 by Ken

 

 

AB de Villiers was understandably relieved after getting his first victory under the belt as the new Proteas Test captain after South Africa rode Kagiso Rabada’s record-breaking 13-wicket haul to hammer England by 280 runs in the fourth Test at Centurion on Tuesday.

Although the win was not enough to prevent England from winning the series 2-1, it did bring to an end a run of nine Tests without victory for South Africa, their worst streak since nine draws and a loss between February 1964 and July 1965 against New Zealand and England.

“Teams go through phases and I never felt it was panic stations. In this game we managed to apply pressure for longer and did the basics better, and because of that we got it right in terms of the result, it’s not that complicated. If you do the small things right, more often than not you’ll win.

“It feels a bit like a new beginning, although it’s dangerous to say that. We’re doing the same things we’ve done for the last few years and we haven’t changed our thought processes. Our attitude was always good, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. There are a lot of reasons to feel that,” De Villiers said.

The 31-year-old said his own form with the bat – he made the first pair of his Test career and his third duck in a row – did not taken any shine off the triumph.

“I’ve always said I love it when we win, I honestly don’t care how many ducks I get as long as we win. I’m a very happy man,” De Villiers smiled.

Rabada was an obvious man of the match after his phenomenal performance, beating out brilliant showings by Hashim Amla, Stephen Cook, Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma, with De Villiers saying he was impressed by the 20-year-old’s maturity.

“Every time I asked him to perform he did. He’s shown the maturity of someone who’s played more than a hundred Tests, while he’s got the pace of someone who’s just played one or two!

“KG has impressed us all, we need to look after him very well and make sure that he’s always fresh when he walks on to the field. A guy like him is always hugely exciting,” De Villiers said.

Rabada ensured that it was all over in a rush on the final morning, South Africa needing just 68 minutes to take the last seven England wickets for a paltry 49 runs. After Morne Morkel (three for 36) and spinner Dane Piedt made early strikes, Rabada rushed through the rest to finish with six for 32.

It gave him match figures of 13 for 144, which are unprecedented for a fast bowler of his age.

In the history of Test cricket, only one bowler, Indian spinner Narendra Hirwani, has had a better return at a younger age, taking 16 for 136 for India against the West Indies in Chennai when he was just 19 years and 85 days old.

Rabada’s figures are also the best ever for South Africa against England, and the second-best against all opposition, bettered only by Makhaya Ntini’s 13 for 132 against the West Indies at Port-of-Spain in 2004/5.

 

 

Rabada is the man – AB 0

Posted on January 20, 2016 by Ken

 

 

Man of the match Kagiso Rabada believes he still hasn’t “arrived” in Test cricket despite becoming the youngest fast bowler to take 13 wickets in a game as he bowled South Africa to a massive 280-run victory over England in the fourth Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Tuesday.

Rabada finished with six for 32 as England were routed for just 101 in their second innings, losing their last seven wickets in just 68 manic minutes on the final morning, giving the 20-year-old match figures of 13 for 144.

In the history of Test cricket, only one bowler, Indian spinner Narendra Hirwani, has had a better return at a younger age, taking 16 for 136 for India against the West Indies in Chennai when he was just 19 years and 85 days old.

Rabada’s figures are also the best ever for South Africa against England, and the second-best against all opposition, bettered only by Makhaya Ntini’s 13 for 132 against the West Indies at Port-of-Spain in 2004/5.

“The ball was coming out very nicely and I had good rhythm as the match went on, it felt better today. I just tried to do the basics right, I’m a youngster and I’m still learning. I still haven’t arrived yet but I’m just going to enjoy the moment because in my first bowl of the series I only took three wickets and got smashed everywhere. It’s great to take 13 wickets, something you don’t do every day,” Rabada said.

As far as captain AB de Villiers is concerned though, Rabada is the man.

“Every time I asked him to perform he did. He’s shown the maturity of someone who’s played more than a hundred Tests, while he’s got the pace of someone who’s just played one or two!

“KG has impressed us all, we need to look after him very well and make sure that he’s always fresh when he walks on to the field. A guy like him is always hugely exciting,” De Villiers said.

South Africa’s comprehensive victory, although not enough to prevent England from winning their first series on these shores since 2004/5 – which were also times of transition in the Proteas Test team – does bring to an end a run of nine Tests without victory and De Villiers was obviously mightily relieved to enjoy the turnaround in fortunes.

“Teams go through phases and I never felt it was panic stations. In this game we managed to apply pressure for longer and did the basics better, and because of that we got it right in terms of the result, it’s not that complicated. If you do the small things right, more often than not you’ll win.

“It feels a bit like a new beginning, although it’s dangerous to say that. We’re doing the same things we’ve done for the last few years and we haven’t changed our thought processes. Our attitude was always good, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. There are a lot of reasons to feel that,” De Villiers said.

The arrivals of Rabada, the most exciting bowler to emerge in South Africa since Dale Steyn, as well as the difference made by Stephen Cook as a solid specialist opener and Temba Bavuma in the middle-order, have clearly, however, provided a boost to a struggling Proteas outfit.

“A couple of changes were necessary, they brought a fresh vibe and confidence from having done well in domestic cricket. Stephen Cook also brought a lot of experience into the squad because he’s played a lot of first-class games and scored a lot of runs.

“Temba has been a real bright spark. There were signs in Bangladesh and India that he looked at home, like he belonged. So I knew it was just a matter of time before he scored big runs and he’s had a fantastic series. Him and KG coming through has been fantastic. We all know the history of our country and the racial issues, and having them step up and perform together has been one of the highlights of my career,” De Villiers said.

 

 



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