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Ken Borland

Morkel not appreciated in SA – Fleming 0

Posted on October 24, 2012 by Ken

Albie Morkel is being unfairly judged in South Africa and there is no such thing as form when it comes to his power-hitting role in twenty20s, Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming believes.

South Africa failed to fire in the ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka recently and Morkel received plenty of criticism for his role – he scored just 19 runs in three innings, but faced only 12 balls and was dismissed just once, while he bowled a paltry seven overs in four matches and conceded 70 runs and took two wickets.

The all-rounder was also controversially omitted from the South African team for their must-win match against Australia, his replacement Wayne Parnell not batting and bowling two overs for 24 runs.

“Albie seems a bit more secure with the Super Kings and he’s given us great performances all the way through the history of our franchise. We’re able to give him long stretches of games and that benefits his confidence,” Fleming says.

“It’s a lot more cut-throat at international level and he seems to be under more pressure with South Africa. It’s a talented team with a lot of multi-skilled players and they’re always trying different tactics, so perhaps he’s still searching for his role a bit.”

At the Chennai Super Kings, arguably the most successful twenty20 team ever with two IPL crowns and a Champions League title, Morkel’s role is clear – to hit the ball hard and to take wickets, operating more often than not as a strike bowler up front.

“Albie operates to a different set of rules,” Fleming, a cerebral former New Zealand captain who produced top-class results with a small resource base, says, explaining that the left-handed power-hitter is being subjected to a traditional set of expectations which no longer apply.

“A concept like form doesn’t exist in twenty20, you can throw that out the window. At Chennai, Albie would be deemed a success if he comes off in one out of five innings, scores 40 off 20 or even 18 off five. We’re able to accommodate inconsistencies in that role and even if he hits two boundaries off three balls at the death, then he’s done a job.

“Those little cameos are a major factor in twenty20, but it seems over here that Albie’s analysed in old ODI terms but there’s no such thing as form in this game,” Fleming says.

Morkel has been given some weighty responsibilities by the Super Kings, even opening the bowling, but he has seldom let them down.

“He’s really valued by us, Chennai love him and he’ll have 40 000 people screaming his name when he plays. But we have really consistent selection, we’re very conservative when it comes to selection, and sometimes you even have to apply a bit of false confidence to him,” Fleming says.

The Chennai Super Kings, winners in 2010, will be one of the favourites in the Champions League competition that kicks off properly, after the qualifying stage, with the two Group A clashes at Centurion on Saturday.

While Morkel is almost certainly going to be in their starting XI, another South African, Faf du Plessis, will be competing with Australian great Mike Hussey for a place at the top of the order.

“Mike Hussey has done very well for us, but Faf has the same sort of skills and we’ve groomed him to play the same role. He’s a very clever batsman, there’s no reason why he can’t be effective in the first six overs, he can hit over the top and improvise by coming down the track and he played very well for us in the last IPL.

“It’s a big positive that he’s backing up and competing with Mike Hussey,” Fleming says.

The South African players also have other talents which the Indian giants appreciate.

“It’s excellent to have the South African players because they arrange golf courses very well and Albie is brilliant for safaris,” the debonair Kiwi laughs.

The real usefulness of Du Plessis and Morkel being in the CSK squad though is their local knowledge.

“The conditions at this time of year mean selection is a bit of a juggling act. We have to make sure we don’t just stick to a firm plan, we have to work conditions out quickly and that’s where the South African knowledge is so useful,” Fleming says.


Kallis & Morkel the big IPL winners 0

Posted on May 30, 2012 by Ken

Jacques Kallis and Morne Morkel were the big winners as the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League concluded at the weekend with the Kolkata Knight Riders snatching the title from the Chennai Super Kings in a thrilling final.

The Knight Riders chased down the daunting target of 191 set by the Super Kings, the two-time champions, with Kallis playing the anchor role to near perfection as he scored 69 off 49 balls to add another crown to the awesome CV of the world’s greatest all-rounder.

Kallis scored 409 runs (the 11th most) and claimed 15 wickets (13th most) at an economy rate of just 7.46 to state his claim as the best all-rounder in the IPL.

Morkel won the Purple Cap for being the leading wicket-taker in the competition, taking 25 wickets in his 16 matches, at an average of just 18.12 and a more than useful economy rate of just 7.19, seeing off mystery spinner Sunil Narine (24 wkts), who was named as the Player of the Tournament for his heroics for Kolkata.

While Narine’s tournament ended with the trophy, Morkel’s finished with frustration as the tall fast bowler was inexplicably dropped by the Delhi Daredevils for their do-or-die semi-final against the Super Kings.

The extent of the hole left in Delhi’s attack was soon apparent as CSK opener Murali Vijay scored a sensational century and the log-leaders folded to an 86-run defeat.

While the performances of Kallis and Morkel were the highlight from a South African perspective, the form of countrymen AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Albie Morkel, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy was also outstanding.

De Villiers produced what was judged to be the best individual performance of the tournament when he plundered 47 not out off just 17 balls to take the Bangalore Royal Challengers to a target of 182 against the Deccan Chargers. The fact that he took 23 runs off a Steyn over obviously tipped the vote in his favour.

South Africa’s limited-overs captain was one of the most destructive batsmen in the competition, plundering 319 runs at an average of 39.87 and a strike-rate of 161.11, the third best out of those batsmen who scored more than 200 runs.

The spectacular onslaught did little to damage Steyn’s reputation though, with the fast bowler delivering searing pace, accuracy and tremendous skill in practically every outing for the Chargers.

Steyn took 18 wickets in 12 matches and was sixth in the Purple Cap standings. He was third in the bowling averages for those who took at least 10 wickets with 15.83 and his economy rate of 6.10 was the second best of all bowlers who delivered more than 40 overs.

Albie Morkel chipped in throughout the Super Kings’ campaign with bat and ball and earned his pay with 13 wickets at an economy rate of 7.77 and a batting strike-rate of 157.35.

Du Plessis also shone for Chennai in his first IPL season, setting the early pace in the race for the Orange Cap as he scored 398 runs at an average of 33.16 and a strike-rate of 130.92.

But an untimely illness and the return of Australian veteran Mike Hussey put paid to Du Plessis’ season after 13 matches.

The left-handed Duminy was one of the best finishers in the competition, topping the averages as he was dismissed just three times in nine innings and scored 244 runs for an average of 81.33 and a strike-rate of 128.42. He was also superb in the field, but was probably under-bowled a bit by the Chargers.

David Miller struck the ball well when given the chance in six innings by the Punjab Kings XI, while off-spinner Johan Botha kept the runs down for the Rajasthan Royals.

Wayne Parnell only played six matches for the Pune Warriors, but was the third most economical bowler in the competition out of those who delivered at least 20 overs, conceding just 6.09 runs to the over.


Jacques Kallis (KKR) – 409 runs at 25.56, SR 106.51 2x50s; 15 wickets @ 26.86 ER 7.46

Morne Morkel (DD) – 25 wickets @ 18.12 ER 7.19

Albie Morkel (CSK) – 107 runs @ 15.28 SR 157.35; 13 wickets @ 29.61 ER 7.77

Faf du Plessis (CSK) – 398 runs @ 33.16 SR 130.92 3x50s

AB de Villiers (RCB) – 319 runs @ 39.87 SR 161.11 3x50s

JP Duminy (DC) – 244 runs @ 81.33 SR 128.42 2x50s; 12-104-1 ER 8.66

David Miller (PK) – 98 runs @ 32.66 SR 130.66

Dale Steyn (DC) – 18 wickets @ 15.83 ER 6.10

Johan Botha (RR) – 9 wickets @ 33.00 ER 7.24

Roelof van der Merwe (DD) – 2 wickets @ 30.00 ER 6.00

Wayne Parnell (PW) – 5 wickets @ 25.60 ER 6.09

Rusty Theron (DC) – 8-66-2 33.00 ER 8.25

Alfonso Thomas (PW) – 14-109-3 36.33 ER 7.78

Herschelle Gibbs (MI) – 81 runs @ 40.50 SR 92.04 1×50

Marchant de Lange (KKR) – 10-107-3 35.66 ER 10.70

Robin Peterson (MI) – 32 runs @ 10.66 SR 106.66; 8-70-3 23.33 ER 8.75

Richard Levi (MI) – 83 runs @ 13.83 SR 113.69 1×50

Davey Jacobs (MI) – 1 innings, 0 runs off 10 balls, 1 catch.

*Gulam Bodi (DD), Kyle Abbott (PK), Charl Langeveldt (RCB) & Rilee Rossouw (RCB) did not play a game in this year’s IPL.

Cape Town, Dhaka, Haryana, Bengal & Kolkata cheering for Knight Riders 0

Posted on May 28, 2012 by Ken


They were cheering all the way from Cape Town to Dhaka, from Haryana to Bengal to Kolkata, as the Knight Riders snatched a thrilling five-wicket victory over the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League final at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk on Sunday.

Chennai, the two-time defending champions, looked well beaten despite defending 191 as Manvinder Bisla of Haryana, and Jacques Kallis, Cape Town’s finest, added 136 for the second wicket in 13.4 overs.

But with Bisla outfoxed by Albie Morkel for a scintillating 89 off 48 balls, announcing himself as a great talent, and Kallis, laid low by cramps, falling for 69 in the penultimate over, Kolkata needed 16 off seven balls as the Super Kings staged a fantastic fightback.

But Bangladeshi star Shakib al-Hasan, who may well be the new best all-rounder in the world once Kallis retires, scored seven runs off the last ball of the over as Ben Hilfenhaus bowled a no-ball for height and Dhaka’s hero then innovated with a scoop for four off the extra delivery.

Manoj Tiwary, one of the new generation of Indian batting stars, then struck two fours in the final over to clinch victory with two balls to spare and spark massive celebrations in his home state of Bengal.

Chasing such a daunting target, Kolkata seemed to have suffered a mortal blow in the first over when captain Gautam Gambhir missed with a rash swish across the line and was bowled by Hilfenhaus for just two.

But Bisla showed he was equipped to play a match-winning innings on the big stage. Brought in to replace seasoned New Zealand international Brendon McCullum, because Brett Lee had to return to boost the bowling attack after Lakshmipathy Balaji failed to recover from a hamstring injury, he showed enormous self-belief against the Goliaths of the IPL and an international-strength attack.

It was David’s night as everything Bisla tried came off, the 27-year-old hammering eight fours and five sixes. He was helped immeasurably by having the experienced Kallis at his side, the South African showing great skill in placing the ball in the gaps and giving Bisla the strike.

And once Bisla cut a slower-ball bouncer from Morkel to backward point in the 15th over, with 52 runs still needed, Kallis knew he had to step up and take over the aggressor’s role.

Playing superb strokes all over the park, Kallis went to town against the bowling of Dwayne Bravo in particular as he kept the Knight Riders in the game.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla swung straight to deep midwicket to give Bravo the consolation of a wicket, while Yusuf Pathan sliced a slog-sweep off off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to fall for just a single.

Hilfenhaus was very happy when he ended Kallis’s 49-ball innings by having him caught by the cover-sweeper in the 19th over, but that soon turned to heartache.

And then Bravo, left to defend nine runs in the final over, did not seem to know whether to bowl short or full and was punished as a result.

Tiwary punched successive boundaries through the leg-side and the IPL trophy was in the box for Kolkata, giving movie star owner Shah Rukh Khan some reward at last.

Hilfenhaus had bowled brilliantly up front to put the Knight Riders under early pressure and finished with225 in his four overs, while Morkel bowled an outstanding spell of two overs, 1-12, in the closing stages to drag Chennai back into the contest.

But the other Super Kings bowlers failed to back up the new-ball pair, with Bravo (3.4-0-49-1) and spinners Shadab Jakati (4-0-38-0) and Ashwin (4-0-41-1) failing to adapt to a flat pitch.


Suresh Raina had earlier blasted the Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers all over the park as he led the Chennai Super Kings to a commanding 190 for three.

On an easy-paced pitch, all the Chennai batsmen looked comfortable with Murali Vijay (42), Mike Hussey (54) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (14* off 9 balls) all contributing in an exceptional display by the top-order.

Raina’s scintillating 73 off 38 balls merely increased the pressure on the Kolkata bowlers after openers Vijay and Hussey had plundered 86 runs in 10 overs.

Hussey, normally the accumulator, did not sit back on this grand occasion, galloping to his 50 off 38 balls, with four fours and two sixes and some wonderfully clever strokeplay and manipulation of the field.

With Vijay conducting a similarly brutal assault on the bowling, picking up four fours and a six off 32 balls, the runs kept flowing for Chennai as the first wicket put on 87 off just 64 balls.

Vijay fell in the 11th over to a beautifully-judged, diving catch on the square-leg boundary by Shakib, giving medium-pacer Rajat Bhatia his only wicket.

But that brought Raina to the crease and that’s when life really became busy for the stats men.

The chunky left-hander smashed five sixes, four of them over midwicket, and three fours as he added 73 for the second wicket with Hussey off just 41 deliveries and made his highest score in this year’s IPL.

Kallis bowled Hussey in the 18th over, but the inspired Raina batted on until the last ball, which he slog-swept off the bottom of the bat, Brett Lee having to dash in sharply from cow-corner to get the ball in his hands.

The wicket was just reward for left-arm spinner Shakib, who conceded just eight runs in the final over.

Shakib and Bhatia both bowled just three overs, conceding 25 and 23 runs respectively, while the other wicket-taker, Kallis, was also reasonably tidy, conceding 34 runs in his four overs.

But key bowlers Sunil Narine and Lee were less successful with ball in hand, conceding 37 and 42 runs respectively in their four overs.

Vijay back to his best & CSK back in final 0

Posted on May 28, 2012 by Ken

Murali Vijay was back to his best as his dominating century led the Chennai Super Kings to a thumping 86-run victory over the Delhi Daredevils in their Indian Premier League semi-final at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk on Friday.


The Daredevils, who topped the round-robin log, will have to reapply their minds when it comes to strategy in the playoff stages as they made some absolute howlers in the two defeats that see them lose out on the final.

In the semifinal, leading wicket-taker Morne Morkel was left out of the team in a shock selection, while the player who replaced him made his IPL debut, conceded 47 runs in three overs and was out first ball.

Captain Virender Sehwag also batted number three in yet another rejigged Delhi batting line-up that failed dismally to come close to their daunting target of 223, subsiding lamely to 136 all out.

Mahela Jayawardene scored 58 off 35 balls for the Daredevils, but key hitters David Warner (3) and Sehwag (1) both failed, South African all-rounder Albie Morkel, the brother of Morne, accounting for the Delhi captain with a short delivery.

Jayawardene and Ross Taylor (24) combined for a third-wicket partnership of 52 in 4.4 overs, but the home crowd were soon cheering the inevitable Chennai victory when Dwayne Bravo removed Taylor with his second ball.

West Indian Andre Russell was sent up the order to have a dip and hit two fours in his 16 off 11 balls, before Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed him and then bowled Jayawardene.

Lower-order batsmen have little chance of getting on top of the tall off-spinner and Ashwin finished with superb figures of three for 23 as Delhi meekly subsided, losing their last wicket in the 17th over.

Australian paceman Ben Hilfenhaus kept things tight at the start of the innings, taking one for 17 in three overs, but any audit of the match will reveal that the Daredevils threw the match away more than Chennai won it.

Vijay scored a cavalier century for the Chennai Super Kings as they posted a massive 222 for five as the Daredevils paid the price for omitting the competition’s best strike bowler.

The Super Kings took control from the start, with opener Vijay going on to plunder 113 off just 58 balls – one of the great IPL innings.

Chennai were sent in to bat and Vijay and Michael Hussey (20) made a great start as they added 68 for the first wicket in eight overs.

Delhi will also rue the decision to bring in debutant off-spinner Sunny Gupta, who bowled the first over and had his first two deliveries hammered for four by Vijay as he conceded an awful 47 runs in the three overs he bowled.

Having made some very strange tactical decisions in their qualifier loss to the Kolkata Knight Riders, Sehwag will also regret bringing himself on for an over, which cost 21 runs as Vijay hit him for a pair of sixes and fours.

Varun Aaron was the other Daredevils bowler to have a nightmare, conceding 63 runs in his four overs, although he did take two wickets.

Suresh Raina (27 off 17) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (23 off 10) chipped in to support the rampant Vijay in partnerships of 69 in 5.3 overs and 36 in 2.5 overs respectively, before Bravo blasted 33 not out off just 12 balls to give the Chennai innings a tremendous ending.

Vijay stroked the ball to all corners of the ground to pick up 15 fours and four sixes, being run out off the last ball of the innings.

Fast bowler Umesh Yadav was the best of the Delhi attack, doing exceptionally well to avoid the slaughter as he conceded just 27 runs off his four overs and claimed the wicket of Albie Morkel, wicketkeeper Naman Ojha diving full-length to his left to take a brilliant catch and dismiss the South African first ball.

The IPL wraps up with Sunday’s final at the same Chepauk venue, with the Super Kings taking on the Kolkata Knight Riders.

It will be the spin of the mysterious Sunil Narine and his other two slow colleagues against the powerful Chennai batting line-up, for which the return to form of Vijay is an obvious and major boost.

Perhaps more importantly, it will be the big-match performers in the CSK team that will be the key men as they go in search of a hat-trick of titles.

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