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Ken Borland



The importance of getting those yorkers in in the death overs 0

Posted on February 28, 2017 by Ken

 

South Africa’s loss in the second ODI in New Zealand this week once again brought home the importance of death bowling in tight finishes. The Black Caps were able to get their yorkers in to great effect in the last few overs and won by six runs, a margin of defeat that flattered the Proteas because they hit the last two balls for fours when they were already out of contention needing 15 off two to win.

For my money, there has been too much emphasis in recent years in South African bowling strategy on bowling the ball into the pitch, varying pace, using the short ball etc. Tim Southee and Trent Boult simply got the ball in the blockhole when it really mattered and the batsmen found it impossible to do anything more than jab the deliveries away.

Sure, if there’s a set batsman in at the time then they can make the margin for error infinitesimally small by moving deeper into their crease or stepping out, but it’s been a long-standing weakness of South African bowlers that they cannot consistently get the yorker in. Perhaps because back at home in domestic cricket on pitches of bounce and seam movement there is less necessity, but in international cricket they get exposed.

This week I sought the wise counsel of Gordon Parsons, the bowling coach of the Highveld Lions team that won the 50-over competition last season, so they must be doing something right.

“The more things change in the game, the more they seem to stay the same. And I’m very much of the belief that nothing’s changed when it comes to a good yorker still being the best ball at the death. If a bowler can master three different variations then he’ll be a quality performer. Trying six, seven, eight different deliveries just complicates the mind and sometimes I feel using variations is an excuse for a lack of execution of the regular skills,” Parsons, the taker of 356 limited-overs wickets at an average of 30.75 and an economy rate of just 4.07, said.

“Sometimes bowlers hide behind the slower ball, but how many deliveries hit the same spot? The best bowlers do the simple things really well – look at Imran Tahir, who is the world’s number one limited-overs bowler and basically bowls wicket-to-wicket. He’s become better the simpler he’s made it. Bowlers have got to keep it simple,” Parsons, who took 809 first-class wickets in a 19-year career for two English counties and three South African teams, said.

The last time the Proteas were in New Zealand was for the 2015 World Cup and for the seventh time they fell short at the ICC’s premier tournament, conceding 9.8 runs per over in the last five overs of their fateful semifinal against the Black Caps.

With Tahir at number one and Kagiso Rabada ranked seventh, South Africa have the makings of a decent attack, but neither of them are known for their death bowling, both instead proving brilliant at breaking partnerships in the middle overs.

Rabada does have a lethal yorker, which I’d like to see him use more, and Chris Morris and Wayne Parnell could both be pretty effective if they can get swing and find the blockhole more consistently. Andile Phehlukwayo has the variations, but the same applies to him.

I saw an interesting statement this week from a radio sports broadcaster that the current attack is South Africa’s best ever in ODI cricket, but for me, the 1996 World Cup line-up of Allan Donald, Fanie de Villiers, Shaun Pollock, Craig Matthews, Pat Symcox and Brian McMillan, with Hansie Cronje and Jacques Kallis as the sixth and seventh bowlers, is hard to beat.

 

 

Bulls playing for their SuperRugby lives & their coach’s future 0

Posted on November 23, 2016 by Ken

 

The Bulls have to beat the Rebels in Melbourne this morning to remain in SuperRugby contention and they are also playing for the future of their coach, Frans Ludeke.

This is not only the Bulls’ last match on tour but it is also the final game before Ludeke faces the board back at Loftus Versfeld on Friday, the day before they host the Cheetahs. They will be out of contention for the playoffs by then, however, if they don’t beat the Rebels and end their 10-match losing run overseas. There are already noises emanating from Pretoria that Ludeke will be relieved of his duties unless his team stages a dramatic turnaround.

To do that, they are going to have to show much greater intensity in the collisions than they did in the lame display against the Brumbies last weekend.

“The Rebels are obviously a much-improved side, they beat the Crusaders away and the Chiefs. They have the most ball-carries and the best retention percentage, so they keep the ball and hold on to it. They have a strong set-piece, most of their tries come from the lineout, and they wear you down,” Ludeke said.

“We will have to squeeze turnovers, they concede a lot and we will have to make sure we force them with a good defensive line and not wasting people at the breakdown. The Rebels aren’t scared to take risks, they throw the ball around, so if we work hard in defence then we will get opportunities.”

The Rebels were poor in losing to a mediocre Sharks side last weekend in Durban and are now out of playoffs contention, but they were still talking a good game this week.

“I feel like there’s a lot riding on these last two weeks. Just because there’s only two games left, it doesn’t mean we can’t send a message about next year.

“We didn’t take our opportunities against the Sharks, for whatever reason, and this time we need to play smarter. We’re pretty confident of what we’re going to get presented with this week, so it’s another huge opportunity for us.

“The Bulls forward pack will be awesome; they’re so big so we’re really going to have to shut them down with two-man tackles. If we can shut them down that will take away a lot of their forward momentum,” lock Luke Jones said.

 

 

Klusener axed because Dolphins see themselves as trophy-winners 0

Posted on February 28, 2016 by Ken

 

 

The Dolphins sacked Lance Klusener as their coach because they see themselves as a franchise that should be regularly winning trophies and not merely being in contention, CEO Pete de Wet told The Citizen on Monday.

Klusener was removed with immediate effect after four years at the helm, with Yashin Ebrahim and Roger Telemachus taking over as caretaker coaches. Because Klusener’s contract was not going to be renewed at the end of April, it was agreed that it made sense for him to go now so both parties could plan better for the future.

Under Klusener, the Dolphins’ only trophy was the 2013/14 RamSlam T20 Challenge. They reached the final of the same competition this season, but finished fifth in the Momentum One-Day Cup and are currently fourth in the Sunfoil Series, more than 20 points behind the third-placed Knights.

“Lance worked really hard to set up a solid foundation for the team, but the decision is not just driven by the results this season, but the board looked at the last three years. The expectation is that we should challenge for trophies year-in and year-out, the same as any other franchise. The reason we’re in business is to win trophies,” De Wet said.

Klusener said trophies should be seen as only part of the story, given the development of the players under his guard.

“I was a bit surprised by the decision if you consider where we’ve come from in the last four years, I don’t feel my journey has finished. There was no real reason for it, I wasn’t given any inkling before that the results were a problem. Before I took over, the Dolphins hadn’t won a trophy for 10 years.

“We won a trophy, made a couple of finals and semi-finals, but it’s about more than just trophies, quite a few players were produced for the national teams. I like to think that things like politics are part of the past, I just coached and kept my head down.

“But I would do it again, I was part of something special with the Dolphins. Hopefully I can now be part of bigger and better things,” Klusener told The Citizen.

 

 

Bad news for Titans but good signs for the future – Walter 0

Posted on January 04, 2016 by Ken

The bad news for the Unlimited Titans after their three-wicket loss to the Dolphins at the weekend is that it has almost certainly knocked them out of contention for the Sunfoil Series title; the good news is that coach Rob Walter is nevertheless proud of their performance and believes they are steadily improving in four-day cricket.

The Titans, with three wins in eight matches, are now third on the log with two rounds remaining, 13.36 points behind the second-placed Dolphins and 30.04 points behind the bizhub Highveld Lions. That means even if they win their remaining two matches with a massive haul of points, say 40 in two games, the Lions will still only need 10 points from two games to beat them.

“Realistically it’s probably the end of the road, although we do still have a mathematical chance,” Walter admitted to The Citizen on Monday. “But we’ve focused on really improving our four-day disciplines this season and it’s important that our results reflect that, so we really want to push hard for second.”

On paper, the Titans should have a side that regularly wins titles, but the likes of Farhaan Behardien, Marchant de Lange, Albie Morkel, Dean Elgar and David Wiese have only made limited appearances due to national and SA A call-ups as well as injuries, never mind the fact that AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Morne Morkel barely play for the franchise at all these days.

So Walter, who took over the coaching reins in 2013, has had to rebuild a competitive four-day outfit and is pleased with the progress that has been made.

“We were last in the Sunfoil Series in 2012/13 and fourth last season, so we’re aiming to win five games this season to finish even higher. We won three games last season and none the season before and once we learn to play the big moments a bit better, then we can finish right on top of the pile. Getting those five victories is hugely important for us,” Walter said.

And the Titans would probably have won their game against the Dolphins were it not for a brilliant stand of 116 for the seventh wicket between Morne van Wyk and Calvin Savage that carried the visitors from 58 for six to the brink of victory.

“From 60 for six, we would have backed ourselves to close out the game, but Morne and Calvin batted really well and showed a lot of resilience. We had a missed opportunity from Savage before he had scored 20, but I was really proud of the effort from the bowlers,” Walter said.

A superb burst of three wickets for one run in two overs from Rowan Richards had put the Titans in charge and the left-arm paceman is their leading wicket-taker this season with 29 at 27.65.

“When he gets on a roll he can be really devastating. Only the very top bowlers are able to replicate that every time they play, but where Rowan has journeyed forward this year is being able to deliver consistent performances when he’s not getting something special going,” Walter said.

As far as the batting goes, the Dolphins were able to gobble up wickets in clumps in both innings and an extra 50 runs is what eats away at Walter as he considers the game.

“If we had just been a bit smarter, we could have had at least another 50 runs. It’s disappointing, but the Dolphins were just 20% better in the crucial moments like Roelof van der Merwe’s run out in the second innings.”

“But for Dean Elgar to score a hundred on that surface was an unbelievable effort and Qaasim Adams again showed what he is capable of and it’s great that he’s getting consistency into his game.

“Theunis de Bruyn and Henry Davids had a very good stand in the first innings, but both got out to really good balls,” Walter said.

http://citizen.co.za/344990/walter-its-probably-the-end-of-the-road/

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  • Thought of the Day

    1 Corinthians 3:3 - "For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?"

    One of my favourite U2 songs is a collaboration with Johnny Cash called The Wanderer, and it features the line "they say they want the kingdom, but they don't want God in it".
    Many people say they believe in God, but they don't experience his loving presence. They may be active in Christian work, but only if they have their way. If they cannot be leaders, they refuse to be involved.
    Because they refuse to allow God to fill their lives with his love, they remain weak and powerless.
    Spiritual maturity means developing a greater love for others.

    "When the love of Christ saturates you, immature attitudes such as pettiness, jealousy and strife are dissolved.
    "It is only when you have an intimate relationship with the Lord that you receive sufficient grace to rise above this immaturity and enjoy the solid food that the Holy Spirit gives you." - Solly Ozrovech, A Shelter From The Storm



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