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Ken Borland

De Bruyn unfazed by chilling start to his Test career 0

Posted on June 12, 2017 by Ken


Hamilton is by no means as far down south as you can get in New Zealand, but it is still a rather cold, desolate place to make your Test debut, especially when you’re batting out of position and have to come out and open on the first morning in the typically damp, swing-friendly conditions found in that country.

There are many who believe Theunis de Bruyn was not given the best chance to succeed in his first Test back in March, scoring a three-ball duck in the first innings and then being run out for 12 in the second after a horrible mix-up with Hashim Amla, but the elegant right-hander says he was unfazed by it all and grateful that the chance came at all.

“The message I was sent was that the selectors wanted me to play, although obviously it was out of position. But I started my franchise career as an opener and as a number three batsman you face the new ball sometimes anyway. Obviously I was disappointed with how it went, but when I get to England, which is a big series, at least I have already played Test cricket.

“So I think it was worth it. Any debut is difficult with all the emotions of your dream coming true, singing the anthems, and then immediately going in on a green pitch. So it will only get easier in terms of emotion, if I play again hopefully I can just focus on watching the ball and making runs,” De Bruyn said.

“I’ll bat anywhere for the Proteas and I truly believe I can be a good opener. People chat about me being a middle-order batsman, but in my opinion, three or four is part of the top-order and you have to adapt your game to batting at 150 for one or 30 for three. It’s about switching your mind on.

‘So I’m not fazed about my debut, you never really start where you want to in Test cricket, you have to earn that right. So I’ll play where they need me,” the successful Knights captain added.

The whole brouhaha over the 24-year-old De Bruyn’s first Test threatens to obscure the positive news that he enjoyed a tremendous season, averaging 57.76 as he led the Knights to the Sunfoil Series title.

“All this focus on my debut suggests I had an horrendous season and I know with the media here that you’re a hero one day and zero the next, it’s part of professional sport. But I left my family behind in Pretoria to play for a new franchise, I won a trophy and made runs, and in two out of three formats I made my debut for South Africa, so it was a wonderful season. And it was just my third as a professional, I’m still young,” De Bruyn, who likes nothing better than to get out into the bush, pointed out.

Bulls earn credit, but still lose 0

Posted on April 01, 2017 by Ken


The Bulls will earn deserved credit for their improvement, but the end result was still the same as they went down 28-12 to the Chiefs in a bonus point defeat in their SuperRugby match in Hamilton on Saturday.

A superb first-half display by the Bulls in which intensity crackled through everything they did – in attack they were direct and handled superbly, while their defence was physical and uncompromising – saw them claim a deserved 9-3 lead at the break.

But the Chiefs showed their class as they stayed composed and were able to pull away from the 50-minute mark, scoring three tries in an ultimately impressive victory.

The Chiefs had a terrible time in the first half trying to contain superb Bulls inside centre Burger Odendaal, who led the visitors’ resurgence with some powerful ball-carries and excellent midfield defence. It led to the home side having missed an awful 15 tackles by halftime.

But the Bulls just lacked the attacking incisiveness to convert their gains into points on the scoreboard.

When centre Jan Serfontein went inside instead of pinning his ears back on the outside following some storming runs by Odendaal in the fourth minute, it was one of many moments when the Bulls were left wondering what might have been.

The Chiefs had been caught offsides in the build-up, however, and flyhalf Handre Pollard was at least able to kick a penalty for an early 3-0 lead.

More superb carries and direct running by the Bulls, and a determined rumble forward by prop Trevor Nyakane, led to another Pollard penalty in the 10th minute, but the Chiefs dominated the first scrum four minutes later, earning a penalty kicked by flyhalf Aaron Cruden (3-6).

But the Bulls had the final say in the first half as the Chiefs tried to run the ball out of their own 22 after conceding a free kick, but were turned over, allowing the Bulls to string several phases together and earn another Pollard penalty for not releasing at the ruck.

But the tide began to turn in the 51st minute as wing Jamba Ulengo suffered another horrible moment in defence, wing Shaun Stevenson leaving him flatfooted as the Chiefs attacked off a lineout, and then grubbering through and regathering the ball for the first try of the match. Cruden converted to give the Chiefs a 10-9 lead.

That was quickly stretched to 13-9 with another Cruden penalty after Bulls captain Adriaan Strauss stupidly went off his feet at a ruck in front of his own poles, but the visitors had a stroke of luck in the 62nd minute when a dominant Chiefs scrum was penalised for illegal wheeling, Pollard’s long-range penalty closing the gap to one point (12-13).

But it was all the Chiefs in the final 15 minutes as the Bulls suffered another late-game fade.

The Bulls lost a four-man lineout in their own 22 but a superb tackle by lock RG Snyman prevented fullback Damian McKenzie from knifing through to score. But an earlier infringement allowed Cruden to kick a penalty and stretch the lead back to 16-12.

A lovely 71st-minute move from a scrum saw scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow running at the line before putting a grubber through that McKenzie raced on to and dotted down.

Another slick backline move with two minutes remaining saw different angles of running and McKenzie bursting through, before replacement prop Atunaisa Moli charged through and reached over the line for the bonus point try.

The scrums were hard-fought transactions, but they did allow the Chiefs to release some of the pressure on them as they had the edge in that set-piece. Nyakane’s move to tighthead was again a talking point.

Lock Lood de Jager was a hardworking – if not always accurate – member of the pack, with partner Snyman also shining, while Jannes Kirsten came off the bench after 20 minutes to replace eighthman Arno Botha and made his presence felt. He should be in the starting line-up next week.

Jesse Kriel was impressive at fullback and halfbacks Rudy Paige and Pollard were on the same page.

But while the Bulls were much-improved, being gutsy losers is not a tag they or their supporters will take kindly to.


ChiefsTries: Shaun Stevenson, Damian McKenzie, Atunaisa Moli. Conversions: Aaron Cruden (2). Penalties: Cruden (3).

BullsPenalties: Handre Pollard (4).

Levi stuns the world as SA level series 0

Posted on February 20, 2012 by Ken

Richard Levi smashed the most sixes and the quickest century ever as he raced South Africa to victory by eight wickets to level the series in the second T20 international against New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Sunday.

16th over – AB de Villiers seals the victory as he clears the front leg and launches Tim Southee for a one-bounce four over mid-on.

15th over – Levi goes down on one knee and smears Roneel Hira through midwicket for four, before ending the over by coming down the pitch and stroking the left-arm spinner over long-on and out the ground for his 13th six!

14th over – Levi breaks the world record for the fastest T20 century by steering his 45th delivery backward of point for a single off his wannabe nemesis Southee. The 24-year-old Cobras batsman has shattered the previous world record of 50 balls held by Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum. It is also South Africa’s first T20 international century! De Villiers clips a full ball on his pads backward of square where Doug Bracewell, having made a great diving save off the previous ball, can’t stop the boundary.

12th over – Levi breaks the world record for sixes in a T20 innings with three in the unfortunate Doug Bracewell’s over. Levi equals Chris Gayle’s record of 10 by bashing the ball straight down the ground into the sightscreen. The next ball is short and pulled over square-leg for a record-breaking 11th six and Levi ends the over with his 12th maximum, hammering a full ball outside off stump over wide long-off.

11th over – Levi equals Loots Bosman’s South African record of nine sixes in a T20 innings as he drives Hira just over a leaping James Franklin at long-off. Franklin perhaps should have been bowling the over as his left-arm seam from around the wicket and across Levi conceded just seven runs in the ninth over!

10th over – Too wide from Kyle Mills and De Villiers slashes the ball over point for four, bringing up the fifty partnership off just 29 balls. The first ball of the over to Levi brings another amazing six, flat-batted from outside off stump, straight over the bowler’s head! The next ball is full outside off and Levi lashes it through the covers for four.

8th over – Too short from Mills and Levi heaves it off the bottom of the bat, but over midwicket for six more!

7th over – Left-arm spinner Hira’s first ball is over-pitched and Levi drives it back over the bowler’s head and over the New Zealand team dugout for another six.

6th over – Take that Southee! The lippy fast bowler tries to bounce Levi, but he pulls powerfully, flat and magnificently for a six well in front of square!

5th over – WICKET – Part-time spinner Rob Nicol comes on and removes Wayne Parnell for four with his second ball. Parnell stepped out of his crease to swipe at a shortish delivery, is off-balance, misses and is stumped after sharp work by Brendon McCullum. Levi ends the over by launching a drive beautifully straight back over the bowler’s head for six.

4th over – Southee comes on and Levi bashes his first ball through mid-on for four.

3rd over – WICKET – Hashim Amla is out for two as he tries to drive Nathan McCullum over the top, but he’s too early on the shot and he skews the ball high to a back-pedalling James Franklin at mid-off. Wayne Parnell ends the over by driving the off-spinner sweetly, inside-out, over extra cover for four.

2nd over – Pace from the other end via Bracewell but he bowls three balls down leg – the first is flicked nonchalantly for six by Levi, who then pulls and flicks to fine leg as well for two fours.

1st over – Off-spinner Nathan McCullum again opens the bowling for New Zealand and Levi top-edges a sweep over fine leg for six.

SA have a sporting chance 0

Posted on February 20, 2012 by Ken

South Africa had a sporting chance as they restricted New Zealand to 173 for four in the second T20 international at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Sunday.

20th over – Marchant de Lange follows up Wayne Parnell’s excellent penultimate over with a fine one of his own. The only blemish though is the fifth ball, which is too short and Kane Williamson slogs it over midwicket for six.

18th over – Williamson now gets in on the act as he smears the first ball of Morne Morkel’s over for six over square-leg and then steps outside off stump and paddles the fast bowler past fine-leg for four. WICKET – But Morkel strikes back with a delivery in the blockhole outside off stump, which the left-handed Franklin tries to steer to third man, but he edges it behind to AB de Villiers. Franklin’s 28 off 10 balls was a terrific boost for New Zealand though.

17th over – Four sixes off five balls by Franklin as he launches JP Duminy straight back over his head for six and then heaves a massive blow over midwicket and out the ground!

16th over – Franklin drives De Lange off the back foot, straight back over his head for six. The next ball is short and Franklin steps away and cuts it over backward point for another six!

15th over – Johan Botha is bowling around the wicket and Brendon McCullum comes down the pitch and punches the off-spinner with great power through a diving Duminy at long-on for four. WICKET – But Botha strikes back next ball. McCullum is down the pitch again, but Botha drags the ball back and the batsman slaps it to cow corner, where Justin Ontong takes a good catch running in. McCullum was looking dangerous on 35 off 31 balls.

14th over – Morne Morkel deceives McCullum with two slower balls, but the New Zealand captain responds with a phenomenal shot, walking down the pitch and flicking the fast bowler over long-on for six!

12th over – De Lange returns and just misses the yorker with his first ball, McCullum clipping the low full toss through midwicket for four. De Lange’s second ball is wide down leg, as is his fifth ball. WICKET – But his next ball forces the duck-hook from Guptill, skying a top-edge to Albie Morkel at fine-leg. Guptill falls just short of an eighth successive half-century, out for another impressive 47 off 35 balls, with seven fours and a six.

11th over – A good over by Duminy is ruined by a full toss off the last ball, which Guptill drives wide of long-on, Botha doesn’t pick it up and it goes for four.

10th over – Good shot by Guptill as he short-arm jabs Morne Morkel over midwicket for four.

9th over – A tidy over from Botha forces the big shot by Guptill. The off-spinner fires in a quicker ball, but it disappears even quicker over wide long-on as Guptill uses his powerful golf swing to good effect, collecting his first six.

8th over – Wayne Parnell is introduced but his first ball is on the pads and clipped neatly away for four by Guptill. Parnell’s last two balls of the over are also down leg and flicked away for boundaries by McCullum.

6th over – Guptill slashes Lonwabo Tsotsobe over extra cover for four.

5th over – De Lange bowls his first over in T20 internationals and his extra pace has a hand in the first wicket. WICKET – Rob Nicol advances down the pitch and tries to pull, but is beaten by the pace and the ball comes off his body and rolls just behind the stumps. Guptill calls Nicol through for an ill-judged quick single because the batsman is worried about the ball rolling back on to his stumps. Wicketkeeper De Villiers is up in a flash and scores a brilliant direct hit at the bowler’s end! Nicol is run out for 23 off 17 balls. De Lange’s next ball is also shortish on leg-stump and Guptill glances it away for four.

4th over – Successive boundaries now for Guptill as he stands tall and bashes Tsotsobe with immense power through mid-off for four and then whips the left-arm seamer off the bottom edge of the bat, through backward square-leg for four more.

3rd over – There seems to be pace and bounce in this pitch and Morkel is brought on. But Nicol is immediately on the charge and slogs his first ball over cow corner for six! Two balls later, Morkel slides on to the pads and is flicked away for four past short fine leg.

2nd over – Rob Nicol hops down the pitch to a full and wide delivery outside off stump from Tsotsobe and slams it just over mid-off for four.

1st over – Off-spinner Botha opens the bowling and Nicol is down the pitch to his fourth ball, lofting it wide of mid-on for four.

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