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Ken Borland

Phangiso & Pietersen lock horns in semi-final thriller 0

Posted on October 25, 2012 by Ken

THE Highveld Lions meet the Delhi Daredevils in a clash of batting power versus bowling brilliance in Thursday night’s first Champions League Twenty20 semifinal in Durban, with no contest more eagerly awaited than that between Aaron Phangiso and Kevin Pietersen.

There is probably no more powerful batting line-up in this competition than Delhi’s — even Australian star David Warner battles to get a game — with Pietersen a key figure in a top order that also boasts Virender Sehwag, Mahela Jayawardena and Ross Taylor.

Pietersen has had more than a few problems against left-arm spinners in the past and his personality is such that he will look to attack Phangiso from the outset. But the Lions’ spin bowling star is always up for the fight and Phangiso will relish the battle with Pietersen.

“Aaron’s from Soshanguve and they breed them tough there. The key is that he does not get overawed quickly. He’s a good kid, he has a good heart and he’s a fighter,” Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana said.

From humble beginnings, Phangiso scrapped his way into the South Africa under 19 side in 2003, a stint with the Titans, and now he is one of the top dogs at the Lions.

Phangiso’s performances in the tournament — 8/71 in 16 overs at a fabulous economy rate of just 4.43 — and how he has sucker-punched stars such as Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Watson, suggest he would not be out of place on the international limited-overs stage.

National selector and South Africa A coach Vincent Barnes is certainly a fan.

“Aaron went to Zimbabwe with the South Africa A side for a triangular series with Sri Lanka and bowled exceptionally well against some full internationals. He was then unbelievable in Ireland. He was outstanding the whole winter for South Africa A, averaging about 3/30 every bowling spell,” Barnes told Business Day.

“Aaron’s a very clever bowler, he gets turn and he has good variations, but his mind-set is also brilliant, he knows when to use those balls.

“He’s not getting tail-enders out, he’s getting good batsmen out with good balls. He reminds me of Johan Botha, and Robin Peterson too, in terms of his grit and determination. He’s in your face, he works bloody hard and he hates the batsman scoring a run off him.”

Barnes would still like to see Phangiso play more four-day cricket, as he only has a part-time role for Gauteng in the longer formats.

“He’s an exceptional cricketer, a fantastic fielder and no slouch with the bat either. I know he’s hungry for international cricket, but I would like to see him start to concentrate on the four-day game as well.

“I hope the Highveld Lions will play him, but they have Eddie Leie and Imran Tahir too, so it will be a challenge.”

While the Lions’ left-arm spinner will be a key weapon against the Delhi batting, Dirk Nannes, Sohail Tanvir and Chris Morris will have to play their part with the ball, while pressure will be on batsmen Alviro Petersen, Gulam Bodi, Quinton de Kock and Neil McKenzie to handle the Daredevils’ pace quartet of Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Andre Russell and Irfan Pathan.

In the other semifinal, the Titans take on the Sydney Sixers at Centurion on Friday.

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.

KKR cheering Kallis 0

Posted on May 22, 2012 by Ken

The Kolkata Knight Riders were cheering the outstanding death bowling of Jacques Kallis as he led them to an 18-run victory over the Delhi Daredevils and a place in the Indian Premier League final after their qualifier at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune on Tuesday.


After batting well to score 30, Kallis sunk Delhi’s hopes as he conceded just 11 runs from the 17th and 19th overs and claimed the key wickets of Venugopal Rao and Ross Taylor. The Daredevils were most definitely in the game before the South African’s return to the attack, needing 46 runs from the last four overs, with six wickets in hand.

But Kallis, no doubt delighted to be bowling on a pitch that was not the usual low-bouncing track found in India, used the short ball superbly and bowled with pace as he finished with two for 24 in four overs.

Delhi were chasing 163 but lost big-hitting openers David Warner (7) – to a very mediocre decision by umpire Billy Doctrove – and Virender Sehwag (10), both caught behind by Brendon McCullum off successive deliveries from Shakib Al Hasan and Lakshmipathy Balaji.

So the Daredevils needed to rebuild, and Naman Ojha and Mahela Jayawardene brought Delhi back into a position from which they could win the game as they reached 83 for two after 10 overs, needing just 80 more to win.

Jayawardene was playing a masterful innings, knowing exactly where to place the ball, as he went to 39 off 33 balls, with six sublime boundaries.

Ojha scored a run-a-ball 29 before he cut a short delivery from medium-pacer Rajat Bhatia straight to backward point to give Kolkata a vital breakthrough in the 11th over.

Four overs later, McCullum managed to stump Jayawardene on the second attempt as the Sri Lankan came down the pitch to left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla, but was beaten by a quicker, flatter delivery that was fired into his pads.

Tomes have already been written about Kallis’s prowess with the bat, but on Tuesday he showed his brilliance with the ball. The 36-year-old so seldom errs in his reading of conditions and he dug the ball in to menacing effect.

Venugopal and Pawan Negi were surprisingly sent up the order when the Daredevils’ batting line-up houses a destructive, experienced hitter in Taylor, and the two Indians produced stodgy innings.

It was always a safe bet that Venugopal, flapping erratically at short balls on his way to 13 off 22 balls, would eventually run out of luck and he was all at sea against another Kallis lifter on the penultimate delivery of the 17th over, splicing a catch into the covers.

Taylor, completely wasted at No 7 in the order, then clipped Kallis firmly off his legs but straight to deep square-leg to fall for 11 off eight balls.

When Kallis finished his spell, Delhi were on 137 for six and needing 26 off the last over, but mystery spinner Sunil Narine easily accounted for Negi (14) and Morne Morkel (0).

The Daredevils finished on 144 for eight and the Kolkata Knight Riders had sealed their first appearance in an IPL final.


Yusuf Pathan provided the Kolkata Knight Riders innings with a late boost as they posted 162 for four after electing to bat first.

Pathan, who has had a woeful IPL, hammered 40 not out off just 21 balls as the Knight Riders reached a challenging total on a pitch that offered turn and some assistance for the pace bowlers.

The Knight Riders’ top-order struggled to break the shackles of tight fielding and tidy bowling by Delhi, with Gautam Gambhir, McCullum and Kallis all getting set before getting out as Kolkata struggled to 106 for four after 16 overs.

Left-arm spinner Negi was the Delhi bowler who kept the tightest rein on the run-scoring, taking one for 18 in four excellent overs.

Kolkata openers Gambhir and McCullum successfully negotiated the impressive opening burst from Morkel, and Gambhir was humming along splendidly as he raced to 32 off 16 balls.

But McCullum then drove Varun Aaron firmly to mid-off and Gambhir came too far down the pitch, Venugopal scoring a direct hit, which the third umpire ruled had just beaten the Indian star’s effort to get back to his crease.

McCullum was just starting to show some promising signs of blossoming as he went to 31 off 36 balls, but he then sliced a drive off Negi to point.

Kallis scored 30 off 33 balls before he picked out the man at deep midwicket with a wonderfully-struck short-arm pull off Umesh Yadav.

That left the Knight Riders in an awkward position with just four overs remaining, but Pathan hammered three fours and two sixes with the ferocity of an orc, while Laxmi Ratan Shukla set about the bowlers from the start of his innings in a scintillating 24 not out off 11 balls.

Pathan and Shukla added 56 for the fifth wicket off just 24 balls to leave Delhi chasing a testing target against the best spin-based attack in the competition. The pair took 21 runs off the last over of the innings, bowled by Aaron.

The Daredevils’ decision to use just one spinner in Negi backfired, with the South African, Roelof van der Merwe, left on the sidelines as the fast bowlers – Yadav (4-0-37-1), Morkel (4-0-37-0) and Aaron (4-0-48-0) – all leaked the runs at an alarming rate.

Irfan Pathan, the left-armer, was the one pace bowler to impress, conceding just 20 runs in the four-over quota while claiming the wicket of Shakib for a single.

Delhi will now play the winners of the eliminator between the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings to decide the other finalist.

Wrecking-ball Sehwag keeps DD on top 6

Posted on May 01, 2012 by Ken

The Delhi Daredevils, led by their resident wrecking ball Virender Sehwag, cemented their position at the top of the Indian Premier League log as they hammered the Rajasthan Royals by six wickets at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Tuesday.


Sehwag put on a phenomenal show as he plundered 73 off 38 balls, cruising to their target of 142 with 28 balls to spare, after the Royals had made a meal of the second half of their innings to finish with a mediocre 141 for six.

Sehwag’s great innings, highlighting not only his power but also his uncanny ability to find the gaps, handed Rajasthan their fourth successive defeat, leaving them languishing in sixth place, while the Daredevils now lead the Kolkata Knight Riders by three points at the top of the standings.

The Delhi captain married brute force with tremendous skill as he dominated a fruitful second-wicket partnership of 96 in 9.5 overs with Kevin Pietersen, who did not need to assert himself too much as he strolled to 36 off 34 balls.

Shane Watson, who was the best of the Rajasthan bowlers with one for 29 in his four overs, removed Pietersen when he had him caught at long-off and even the cheap dismissal of Ross Taylor (6), slicing a pull at a Brad Hogg chinaman, left no doubt as to who the winners would be.

It was Hogg who eventually removed Sehwag, slicing a cut to backward point, ending a top-class innings in a rather soft fashion.

Naman Ojha then hit spinner Ashok Menaria’s first two balls for a four and a six to complete a thorough victory for the IPL pace-setters.

It is said that opening partnerships lay the foundation for the innings, but the Rajasthan Royals totally wasted theirs as they stagnated to 141 for six after winning the toss and electing to bat.

Left-arm spinner Pawan Negi was the hero for the Daredevils with four for 18 in his four overs, but Morne Morkel was equally as brilliant, once again showing his class with one for 23 in four overs.

Opening batsman and captain Rahul Dravid was the top scorer for Rajasthan with a determined 57 off 43 balls, but he will be very disappointed with how the innings faded away after he and Ajinkya Rahane had added 71 for the first wicket in 8.4 overs.

Rahane was once again in sublime form as he powered to 42 off 32 balls, with seven thunderous fours, but the competition’s leading run-scorer was not quite the same batsman after Morkel hit him on the head with a ferocious, quick bouncer in the sixth over.

Rahane was the first victim of the 19-year-old Negi as his reverse-sweep was rather lamely placed straight into the hands of Sehwag at backward point.

Watson, who was in the West Indies with the Australian team just 72 hours previously, heaved Delhi’s other left-arm spinner, Shahbaz Nadeem for six, but was given a rude awakening by Negi, who skidded a delivery through to bowl the all-rounder for eight.

Owais Shah (1) tried to have a dip at impressive fast bowler Umesh Yadav (4-0-28-1) and could only glove a catch to wicketkeeper Ojha, and Negi then cut deep into the Rajasthan lower-order when he removed Brad Hodge (1) and Menaria (2) in his final over.

Dravid completed a well-put-together half-century, off 35 balls, by driving Morkel crisply through extra cover for his seventh four in the 17th over, but it was little consolation as the Royals still finished with a poor total on a good batting pitch.

Dravid departed in Morkel’s next over when he tried to hit the tall fast bowler over the leg-side, but could only edge the ball into his leg, from where it hit the stumps.

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