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Ken Borland



Disappointing in the context of finals, but joy for ruthlessly efficient Titans 0

Posted on December 20, 2017 by Ken

 

In the context of thrilling T20 finals it was a disappointment, but for the Titans it was the sheer joy of ruthlessly-efficient accomplishment as they strolled to a hat-trick of RamSlam T20 Challenge titles on Saturday night with a thumping seven-wicket win, with 53 balls to spare, over the Dolphins in Centurion.

Their victory was set up by a magnificent display in the field, Chris Morris leading the attack with four for 13, the best ever figures in a franchise T20 final, as the Dolphins were shot out for just 100, the lowest ever total in a final.

Against a batting line-up as powerful as the Titans, it was never going to be enough and the home side knocked off their target of 101 in just 11.1 overs, with Quinton de Kock leading the way with 39 off 27 balls and AB de Villiers blazing a cameo of 27 off 13 deliveries.

The Titans had won the toss and sent the Dolphins in to bat, and the visitors started well enough, the opening batsmen, Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Morne van Wyk, both collecting a boundary in the opening over bowled by Albie Morkel.

But the introduction of Morris for the next over from the West Lane End signalled the start of the Titans’ dominance.

Van Wyk (6) skied the second ball bowled by the all-rounder high over the point region, Farhaan Behardien back-pedalling and then taking the trickiest of catches over his shoulder.

Van Jaarsveld fell in Morris’s next over, the left-hander being bogged down with 14 off 16 balls, driving on the up and being caught at deep mid-on.

The Dolphins were 25 for two and being squeezed relentlessly by aggressive, accurate bowling and ground fielding that was also of the highest order. The development of any partnership was painstaking for the visitors and quickly nipped in the bud.

So efficient were the Titans that the biggest partnership of the innings was the 26 Dane Vilas (21) and Khaya Zondo (7) shared for the fourth wicket.

Ngidi returned to add the wicket of Dolphins captain Zondo to his earlier dismissal of Sarel Erwee (3), finishing with outstanding figures of two for 15 in his four overs, while Malusi Siboto (3-1-10-2), so obviously targeted by the Warriors in the semi-final, bounced back to get rid of the Dolphins’ two most dangerous hitters – Vilas (21) and Robbie Frylinck (0) – in the course of producing a double-wicket maiden in the 13th over.

At 67 for seven, the Dolphins were obviously not going to post anything substantial and Junior Dala (3-0-21-1) and the brilliant Morris wrapped up the innings.

De Kock showed the fluency that had eluded him so far in the campaign, collecting four fours and two sixes as he gave the Titans a brisk start, despite the early loss of Rivaldo Moonsamy (7), who fell to the wiles of Frylinck.

The part-time off-spin of Zondo accounted for De Kock, but the capacity crowd was delighted to see the skills of De Villiers, who managed to clear the boundary three times in a dozen balls, before Aiden Markram (18*) and Behardien (4*) finished the job.

https://citizen.co.za/sport/south-africa-sport/sa-cricket-sport/1761380/magic-morris-finds-his-mojo-as-titans-win-3-in-a-row/

Gold not hiding his disappointment even after Sharks win 0

Posted on July 12, 2016 by Ken

 

Despite the Sharks keeping their SuperRugby playoff hopes alive with their 26-10 win over the Cheetahs in Durban, coach Gary Gold did not try to hide his disappointment with the quality of their performance, with many feeling it was a fortuitous escape for the home side.

“I was disappointed in the performance, especially in two areas – the number of errors and our discipline. We kept the Cheetahs in the game by doing things like dropping the kick-off or kicking straight into touch, and we also wasted a couple of try-scoring opportunities.

“We didn’t get our territory game going, our set-piece struggled, our maul was penalised and our kicking game wasn’t good enough. We also conceded quite a soft try from our perspective. We said before the match that we didn’t want to get into a game of touch rugby with them, but that’s what happened,” Gold said after the win, which leaves the Sharks with a two-point lead over the Bulls as the hunt for the third South African qualifying place enters its final weekend.

Gold did, however, praise the character of his team, especially during the middle of the first half when captain Tendai Mtawarira was yellow-carded for slapping an opponent and they conceded three scrum penalties in a row on their own line.

“It was a test of character today and it was critically important the way we defended, especially during that period when we were already 7-3 down. If the Cheetahs had gone to 14, we would have had a real dog-fight on our hands. It’s not the glamorous part of rugby, but we had to really dig deep in the face of a potential penalty try. We defended really nicely then and I thought Andre Esterhuizen did particularly well. It would have been very difficult to have come back from conceding another try then,” Gold conceded.

While the Sharks, who play the lowly Sunwolves in Durban next weekend, are the favourites to claim the third SA qualifying berth, Gold said they really needed to up their game and produce a carbon-copy of the efficient performances they produced in New Zealand.

“We’ve been stuttering since the break and we need a properly good performance just to get our confidence going. To just win against the Sunwolves won’t be good enough, we need a clinical performance, like we had in New Zealand, and to really put them to the sword.”

Gold said the team was disregarding what the Bulls did and were focusing on their own game.

“We thought the Bulls would win, but we were focusing on this game because it was a potential banana skin. If we’d lost, everything we’d done in the last 13 weeks would have been in tatters. The fan would have been really dirty … ”

Abbott & Phangiso, victims of CSA’s transformation failures 0

Posted on May 31, 2016 by Ken

 

The tears and recriminations are flowing after yet another premature World Cup exit for South Africa’s cricketers, but spare a thought for Vernon Philander, Kyle Abbott and Aaron Phangiso, who all have good reason to feel angry on top of the brutal disappointment they must be suffering after the semi-final loss to New Zealand.

Nobody selects himself to play for the Proteas, and while it was undeniably a poor decision to play Philander ahead of Abbott, the Cape Cobras man has been a wonderful bowler for South Africa, even if his ODI skills on flat pitches don’t match his Test brilliance, and he certainly deserves way better than to be scornfully dismissed as a “quota” selection.

There were so many good cricketing reasons to play Abbott – his superb form in the quarterfinal against Sri Lanka, the doubts over Philander’s fitness (made worse by Dale Steyn’s own niggles and the ridiculously arrogant decision to only play four frontline bowlers), and the fact that the strategy against Brendon McCullum and some of the other NZ batsmen revolved around digging the ball in short and targeting the ribcage, for which Abbott is suited and Philander, who bowls at a very hittable pace if there is no movement, is not.

There has been speculation that Abbott was left out in order to play another player of colour, with rumours coming from people close to the camp that the Dolphins fast bowler was extremely angry ahead of the semi-final.

Which begs the question – when will Cricket South Africa get transformation right?

For me, it is just as much of a disgrace that Phangiso did not play a single game at the World Cup as it is if Abbott was left out for political reasons.

Will young Black Africans believe CSA when they say the Proteas are for everyone or will they look at Phangiso’s treatment and say his selection in the squad was all just window-dressing of the worst kind?

Instead of bowing to political demands before a semi-final that will now leave fresh scars on the South African psyche, why did CSA not insist Phangiso play at least against the UAE?

South Africa have not bowled skilfully enough in limited-overs cricket for a while now and this is ultimately where the World Cup campaign was lost; the only good all-round bowling performance they produced was against Sri Lanka. And to think they thought going into a semi-final with just five bowlers was a wise move.

All AB de Villiers’ statements about the Proteas being “the best team in the tournament” now sounds like empty chest-beating, designed to cover their own doubts.

If Russell Domingo did not have any misgivings about his side, why did he say they could not play Phangiso against the UAE because it was vital they finish second in their pool? An SA A side should have no trouble beating the UAE!

Yes, the Proteas have given their all and played with tremendous courage in the semi-final. But they also seem to have had an over-inflated opinion of how good they were throughout the World Cup, only for the doubts that have so blighted them in previous tournaments to come back once that bubble was burst.

De Villiers praises Boks for standing up after twin defeats 0

Posted on October 14, 2014 by Ken

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers praised his team for standing up in the last 10 minutes and beating Australia in their Rugby Championship Test in Cape Town, putting aside the disappointment of two narrow defeats overseas.

South Africa lost 23-24 in Perth against Australia and 10-14 to New Zealand in Wellington, and looked on their way to another close loss when they trailed 8-10 going into the last 10 minutes at Newlands.

But a scintillating finish saw the Springboks score three tries to complete a 28-10 victory that was flattering if one considered how they struggled in the first hour to make headway against a brave Australian team.

“You will have disappointments along the way, as in life, but the important thing is the way you respond to it. We didn’t play badly abroad, a couple of things went against us and we lost. But part of the process is working on our mistakes; the goal is the World Cup next year, but we want to see if we can improve every week.

“The way we stuck together in the last 10 minutes, we showed intent and that’s how we want to play. All 23 players put their hands up and it was probably in the top 10 of best games I’ve played in, it was a special performance,” De Villiers, who scored two of the three late tries, said.

That the Springboks were able to up the tempo at the end of the match, with the Wallabies visibly tiring, was down to the massive impact made by their bench and the squad’s improved conditioning.

“The bench were brilliant, they were able to up the tempo. Sometimes I get criticised for choosing older guys, but I think it was the right decision to go for more experience on the bench. Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger, Bismarck du Plessis, Pat Lambie and JP Pietersen were all very good and they made an unbelievably big difference,” coach Heyneke Meyer said.

“I always put an unbelievable emphasis on fitness because you just don’t have the time with the Springboks, but we’re almost there. This result was great for the fitness because there was no way we could have come back at the end without it. The Wallabies had flown to Cape Town and we threw the ball around in the last 10 minutes and it worked.”

Outstanding eighthman Duane Vermeulen, who was the Springboks’ best player before injuring his ribs, and veteran wing Bryan Habana (blow to the head) are the two injury concerns for the Test against the All Blacks in Johannesburg this weekend.

“if we play like we did tonight – exactly how we planned, sticking to our structures in the first 60/70 minutes and then breaking them down in the last 10 – then we’ll have a good shot next week. We were close against the All Blacks in Wellington and we just didn’t get there, but we just need to make sure we prepare well and put the hard work in this week,” De Villiers said.

 



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