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Ken Borland

Seven & eight put Highveld Lions in command 0

Posted on March 30, 2015 by Ken

The bizhub Highveld Lions had their number seven and eight to thank for converting a dominant opening day into a commanding position on the second day of their Sunfoil Series match against the Unlimited Titans at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Friday.

The Lions resumed on 264 for two and centurion Stephen Cook and Neil McKenzie quickly rattled up a fifty partnership off just 54 balls before the second new ball allowed the Titans to strike back.

With JP de Villiers showing good pace and claiming three wickets in five balls, the Lions crashed from 311 for two to 313 for six, with Cook departing for a tremendously solid 122 and McKenzie for 47.

But Dwaine Pretorius and Dale Deeb kept their heads and took the Lions to 396 for six at lunch. Their progress thereafter was interrupted for nearly three hours by heavy thundershowers, but they had managed to both reach their half-centuries within two balls of each other shortly before the delay.

They took their partnership to 137 in 140 minutes before Pretorius was bowled by a Roelof van der Merwe arm-ball for a highly-creditable 67.

Deeb and Vusi Mazibuko (10*) then combined for a quickfire 35-run stand, Deeb finishing with a well-struck 89 not out, before the declaration on 485 for seven.

De Villiers was the pick of the Titans bowlers with three for 75 in 18 overs, while Rowan Richards was less consistent but claimed three for 118 in 26 overs.

Having spent an age off the field due to the weather, it was highly disappointing that the umpires did not extend the playing hours, taking the reluctant players off the field in bright sunshine at 5.30pm with the Titans on 27 without loss. The players were told it was because the allotted overs for the day had been bowled, which is laughable because only 64 overs were actually bowled.

Jacques Rudolph, who was a late inclusion in the Titans team after making himself available for four-day cricket, was looking solid on 18 not out, while Heino Kuhn was on seven.


Weird & wonderful brings the crucial variety to sport 0

Posted on January 13, 2015 by Ken

I have seen many weird, wonderful and not so wonderful things at the Harlequins bar in the Sun City main hotel and this was one of them – the German Interlausen Boogie with Left Arm Dominant Dance Club whirling and whirring around as the cocktail bar singer enjoyed her best audience ever and thanked her lucky stars no drunk men were trying to pick her up.

What was initially a captivating sight soon turned into a repetitive affair though as the dozen dancers all just did the same move,  over and over again, in identical fashion.

It reminded me that what makes sport special is the variety – the many different ways there are to be successful and the many different techniques that are employed.

Sun City is of course hosting the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the moment; golf being a game that revolves around myriad statistics and in which technique is absolutely key. Being a centimetre offline with your swing can result in disaster.

And yet there are all sorts of different swings out there. Jim Furyk, a two-time winner at Gary Player Country Club, is famous for his unorthodox swing but has enjoyed consistent success at the highest level for 15 years.

Danie van Tonder is having his unusual swing – which is more like a brutal punch at the ball than anything flowing and graceful – scrutinised on global television for the first time but, as fellow South African Tim Clark said, it works.

“He can obviously play. That’s the beauty of golf, you don’t have to have a cookie-cutter swing, and I’ve always admired those who go out and do it their own way,” said Clark, who has made a highly successful career for himself in the United States through sheer determination as much as talent.

Cricketer Phillip Hughes, so movingly laid to rest this week, chased his dream all the way to the top with an unorthodox technique that certainly frustrated South African bowlers. As recently as July 29 he smashed a brilliant 202 from 151 balls to lead Australia A to a massive win over South Africa A in a one-day game in Darwin.

It’s those that bring something different to sport that give such pleasure.

But there is one part of sport that I am desperate to see more uniformity in and that is in the refereeing of rugby Tests.

The governors of the game have to act urgently because I am convinced the winner of next year’s Rugby World Cup will be decided by a refereeing decision, given that almost every Test this year has been marred by some controversy over officiating or gross inconsistencies.

The yellow-carding of Springbok wing Cornal Hendricks for chasing an up-and-under last weekend against Wales was sickening. The number of times this year that players have jumped into each other contesting a high ball would need a proper census to count; there were even similar incidents in the same game that referee John Lacey was happy to let go.

Sure, intemperate efforts to compete in the air need to be policed but Lacey’s decision was ridiculous and I hope just an example of sheer incompetence.

But it would be reckless in the extreme for World Rugby to naively ignore the possibility that their game is infected by darker elements.

Match-fixers have afflicted cricket, who have at least taken steps to deal with the problem, but rugby doesn’t seem to think their game could possibly also be affected. Or they don’t care.

But like an asp striking at the breast, officiating controversies do far more damage to the image of the game than most of the things the administrators seem concerned about.



Cook’s ton puts England on top 0

Posted on July 19, 2012 by Ken

Alastair Cook brought up his 20th Test century to steer England to a dominant 267 for three at stumps on the first day of the first test against South Africa at the Oval in London on Thursday.

85th over – Ian Bell gets underway with a marvellous, controlled push through the covers for four off a Dale Steyn away-swinger. Three balls later, Steyn tries to bounce Bell, but the batsman gets well on top of the ball and hooks for four more runs.

80th over – WICKET – What a wicket for Kallis to get and with the new ball available at the end of the over! The great all-rounder with the golden arm really digs in a bouncer, Pietersen goes for the hook but is cramped and can only glove a catch to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers. Pietersen’s 42 off 72 balls kept England’s momentum going … and threatened to take the day well and truly away from South Africa.

76th over – Stand and deliver from Pietersen as he lashes Kallis straight back down the ground for four.

73rd over – Imran Tahir drops short again and Pietersen bashes him over wide mid-on for a one-bounce four.

71st over – Cook goes to 99 with a cut for two runs off Tahir and there is still a huge gap in the covers for him to just push a single off the next ball and reach his 20th Test century, in just over five hours, from 222 balls. Pietersen then gets a couple of runs behind square-leg to bring up the fifty partnership off 81 deliveries.

69th over – Rubbish from Tahir as his long-hop is swatted through wide mid-on for four by Cook.

68th over – Impressive from Pietersen as he crunches a pull off Steyn with great power and timing, beating deep midwicket for four.

66th over – Four more for Cook as he clips Steyn crisply off his legs, with sweet timing.

64th over – A bit of width from Steyn and Pietersen throws the bat at the ball, edging it over the slips and away for his first boundary.

63rd over – A lovely shot by Cook as his on-drive goes past the left-hand of bowler Vernon Philander and scurries away for to the boundary.

58th over – WICKET – Morkel hits the right length, drawing Trott into the drive, but he’s reaching for the ball, not to the pitch, there’s a bit of away movement and the edge goes through to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers. Trott made his former countrymen toil for his wicket, scoring 71 off 162 balls.

56th over – A long-hop from Morkel and Cook cuts it away for four.

Afternoon session

England surged to 158 for one at tea on a pitch that held no surprises on the first day of the first Test against South Africa at the Oval in London on Thursday.

52nd over – Too short again from Imran Tahir and Jonathan Trott swats it from outside off stump, through wide mid-on for four.

51st over – Full and wide from Jacques Kallis and Trott latches on to it with a lovely square-drive for four.

46th over – Trott reached his 11th Test 50 in the previous over and now he celebrates with a magnificent off-drive for his sixth four, Dale Steyn being the bowler.

39th over – Tahir drops his googly short and Trott whips it through square-leg for four.

31st over – Tahir is back, but starts with two horrible long-hops, the second of which is also a no-ball which Alastair Cook heaves over wide mid-on for four, bringing up his fifty in 137 minutes, off 98 balls, with seven fours and a six.

29th over – Super batting by Cook as he starts the Steyn over with successive boundaries – a super square-cut followed by an immaculate back-foot push straight down the ground.

28th over – Too short from Vernon Philander and Trott dispatches a front-foot pull over wide mid-on for four.

25th over – Cook gets going after lunch with a superb cover-drive for four off Steyn.

Morning session

South Africa struck early but then bowled a little too wide of the stumps as England reached 70 for one at lunch on the first day of the first Test at the Oval in London on Thursday.

21st over – Frustration for Dale Steyn as he catches Jonathan Trott on the pad, the appeal is turned down and one leg-bye then becomes five as AB de Villiers’ rather wild throw to the bowler’s end eludes Morne Morkel backing up and goes to the boundary. The next ball goes for six as Alastair Cook top-edges a pull shot over deep backward square-leg!

18th over – Neatly played by Trott as he tucks a back-of-a-length delivery from Jacques Kallis off his hips, through midwicket for four – super timing.

16th over – Fifty up for England as Trott drives Kallis handsomely off the back foot, through the covers for four.

14th over – Kallis joins the attack, but his second ball is a wretched delivery, short and wide, and Alastair Cook slaps it through the covers for four.

11th over – Steyn is brought into the attack and Cook slashes the last ball of the over through gully for four.

9th over – Another excellent review system decision by South Africa as Morne Morkel slants a delivery into Trott, who misses his flick to leg and is struck on the pad. Umpire Steve Davis turns down the appeal and South Africa decide not to ask for the review. It’s a good call as the replay shows the ball just clipping leg stump and South Africa woul have lost one of their two reviews.

5th over – Cook’s first boundary is also streaky, reaching for a drive as Morkel continues from around the wicket, the ball holding its line and being edged through gully towards the shed which the bowler so famously walked into after being dismissed in his previous test at the Oval!

4th over – Four more runs for Trott, but via the outside edge between the slips and gully, but all along the ground, off Vernon Philander.

3rd over – Oh-uh … A tidy second over from Morkel, but with two no-balls …

2nd over – Philander surprisingly takes the new ball ahead of Steyn and Cook pushes a delivery outside leg stump through midwicket to get off the mark with three runs.

1st over – Not the greatest start by Morkel as umpire Steve Davis has a word with him after his first ball, bowled from around the wicket, for running on the pitch. His second ball is way wide down leg, well-taken by AB de Villiers behind the stumps. WICKET – Now it’s a great start as Morkel angles a delivery back into the left-hander, Strauss plays across the ball and is struck below the roll on the front foot. Morkel’s half-hearted appeal is not enough to convince Davis, but De Villiers and captain Graeme Smith behind the wicket decide to review and England’s skipper is out for a duck! Trott comes in, takes his time to get ready as usual and Smith tries to put him under pressure by complaining to the umpires. Nevertheless, Trott drives his first delivery, full and angled in, beautifully through mid-on for four.

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