for quality writing

Ken Borland



Improvement needed if today’s pride & joy is to remain 0

Posted on December 06, 2016 by Ken

 

The Standard Bank Proteas need to continue improving if the sense of pride and joy that surrounds the team today is to remain in the long-term, coach Russell Domingo said upon the squad’s victorious return from their Test series triumph in Australia.

The Proteas not only became only the second team in over a hundred years to win three successive Test series in Australia, but they also completed an amazing turnaround in fortunes from last season’s woes, beginning with the series win over New Zealand and then the historic 5-0 whitewash of the Aussies in the limited-overs series. But Domingo, who has come through a tough time personally with many calling for his head, wants the Proteas to keep pushing on.
“The team is in a good space at the moment and we have to treasure and nurture that because things can change very quickly in this game. The belief is slowly coming back into the team, but we are not yet where I feel we could be, although we’re heading in the right direction,” Domingo said.
Chief among the coach’s concerns is the inconsistency of the batting. Although South Africa’s batsmen scored five centuries and five half-centuries during the three-match series, only Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis averaged over 40.
“The batting, in particular, is an area we need to improve. We were 40 for three a lot and even 150 for six in the last game. Players are putting in big performances, but not consistently. A guy would score a hundred and then have a couple of Tests with no runs. Quinton was the one guy to find a rich vein of form, but for the rest there was no follow-up after they scored big runs. We’ve identified that and will work hard at it,” Domingo said.
Australia scored just one century in the series, by the impressive Usman Khawaja in the final Test in Adelaide, which Australia won by seven wickets. But that defeat was more about the Proteas having just run out of legs and intensity, having given their absolute all in winning the first two Tests.
Although the chance of an historic double-whitewash passed the Proteas by, captain Du Plessis said he was more than satisfied with a 2-1 series win.
“We set high standards and obviously we wanted a 3-0 win, but I’m exceptionally happy with a 2-1 win. If you had offered me 2-1 at the start of the series, I would have bitten your whole arm off for that result. If there was one specific incident that was more important than any others in winning us the series, it was the turnaround in Perth.
“The belief that the team took from that session, sparked by resilience, was out of this world and it took the team to a new level of confidence. It’s probably the best session I’ve been part of on a cricket field, the way everyone stood up after losing Dale Steyn, which was incredibly hard, the whole team felt it, but somehow they just made it possible to bounce back.
“After Dale’s injury, everyone thought we were out of the contest and I think we shocked Australia by playing some scarily good cricket,” Du Plessis said.
Despite the magnitude of the triumph, South Africa are still only fifth in the Test rankings, with Australia third, and the Proteas are going to have to keep winning if they are to return to the number one spot, preferably starting with a 3-0 victory over Sri Lanka in December/January.
“Going up the rankings is a goal of ours but it won’t just happen, we need to take really small steps to get back to number one. But all the signs are there that we can get back there; Sri Lanka are a good team, they’re playing well, but if we beat them then I reckon we’ll be close to number two,” Du Plessis said.
When Domingo and Du Plessis were asked to come up with reasons for the remarkable resurgence in the Proteas’ fortunes, the coach came up with “unity” and “resilience”, while the skipper mentioned “energy” and “vision”.
“It’s been a combination of things and getting a few players back that we have missed a lot, like Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn, has made a massive difference. But the unity amongst the guys and the realisation of how important it is to play for your country has been very important. A few players have also come back into form, the team as a whole has got their confidence back. This team prides itself on their resilience,” Domingo said.
For Du Plessis, it goes back to the culture camp the squad had in August.
“We made some obvious goals because we weren’t happy with where we were as a team. We had that weekend away and we took a hard look at ourselves with brutal honesty. Ninety percent of our success is due to the rebirth in energy and vision from that camp and the results speak for themselves. We wanted to make sure our team culture was strong, that all of us were on the same boat and making sure we are going in the right direction,” Du Plessis said.
The Proteas captain will now await the date for his appeal hearing for ball-tampering, which is expected to be confirmed this week, but Du Plessis maintained his strong stance that he is innocent of any wrongdoing.
Whatever the outcome of that hearing, at which Du Plessis will now have proper South African legal representation, it will not detract from the fact that he led South Africa to one of their greatest triumphs – beating Australia in Australia is the stuff childhood dreams are made of.

http://sponsorships.standardbank.com/groupsponsorship/News-and-Media/Proteas:-Improvement-needed-if-today’s-pride-&-joy-is-to-remain

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/

Winning Dolphins eager for even more improvement v Titans 0

Posted on December 10, 2015 by Ken

The Dolphins come to Centurion to take on the Unlimited Titans on Thursday fresh off an excellent victory over the defending champion Nashua Cape Cobras and eager to continue improving in their challenge for the Sunfoil Series title.

The KwaZulu-Natal side hammered the Cobras by eight wickets at Newlands to rise to second on the log, overtaking the Titans and leaving themselves 17.24 points behind the bizhub Highveld Lions with three rounds of the four-day competition remaining.

The clash at SuperSport Park in Centurion is practically an eliminator to see who will be the Lions’ chasers heading into the final straight of the Sunfoil Series.

“We’ve had some good days and we’ve fought our way through to where we have a shout. But now we need more consistency and if we can put together two good days in a row, that’s generally when you win matches,” Dolphins coach Lance Klusener told The Citizen on Wednesday.

Young pacemen Mathew Pillans and Daryn Dupavillon have responded in excellent fashion to the burden placed on their shoulders, while left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj is fresh off a 10-wicket haul at Newlands.

The batting has not been as spectacular, but Imraan Khan, capped once for South Africa, has accumulated 551 runs this season with two hundreds and three fifties, fellow opener Divan van Wyk is averaging over 40, and Morne van Wyk, Cody Chetty and Daryn Smit are all dangerous with the bat.

The Titans will boast a menacing new-ball attack in the form of David Wiese and fit-again Marchant de Lange, with left-armer Rowan Richards and either Ethy Mbhalati or Junior Dala in support.

While not saying the pitch will be a snakepit, Titans coach Rob Walter is confident there will be a result-wicket at SuperSport Park.

“Neither team wants a dull draw and there aren’t many of those anyway at Centurion. I think it will be a good, even contest that will go four days, hopefully like the last two games of last season,” Walter said.

The Titans finished last season strongly by beating the Knights by 32 runs and the Warriors by 87 runs, and a similar showing now could see them sneak up on the Lions, who are currently 19.22 points ahead of them.

Wiese performed miracles with the ball in those two games, with combined figures of 16 wickets for 204 runs, backed by leg-spinner Shaun von Berg and De Lange.

Von Berg’s current form – 17 wickets at an average of 48.11 – does not inspire too much confidence and he has been serving up runs at 3.5 to the over, but Walter said surfaces thus far this season have not offered him much assistance.

In terms of the batting, Roelof van der Merwe has been inspirational with 657 runs at 59.72, including three centuries, while Theunis de Bruyn is a rising star and Dean Elgar is due a big score.

Walter says his team needs to rectify some sloppiness that crept into their game in their last encounter, a 170-run defeat at the hands of the Cobras in Paarl.

“We had them in the first innings but then we weren’t clinical enough at the end to close out the innings. We also batted very well at the start before falling apart, so we need to be mentally stronger and make sure the opposition has to work hard for anything they get,” Walter said.

While the Highveld Lions are sitting pretty at the top of the log, coach Geoff Toyana is wary of either the Dolphins or Titans creeping up on them and says his team have to keep winning as they travel to Bloemfontein to take on the Chevrolet Knights.

“We’ve played some decent cricket, but we have to keep winning, every game is a big game,” Toyana said.

The Lions could have closed the door on their chasers in their last match, when they were held to a draw by the Warriors, finishing just 17 runs short of a meagre 98-run target, and they will be eager to return to winning ways at this crucial stage of the season.

The Lions went down to the Knights by 143 runs in their home fixture in Potchefstroom, contriving to be bowled out for 137 in their second innings after leading by 101 on first innings.

Off-spinner Werner Coetsee took four for 34 to hasten the Lions’ collapse to their only defeat of this campaign, and the visitors are going to have to adapt better to what Knights coach Sarel Cilliers said would be a dry pitch at Chevrolet Park.

Whatever the result, the Bloemfontein public will be treated to the sight of the best pace attack in franchise cricket with Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada and Hardus Viljoen all in great form for the Lions. Dwaine Pretorius, who took eight wickets in three games before injuring his back, is back in the squad as well.

Eddie Leie is the chief spinner for the Johannesburg-based franchise but has struggled on unresponsive surfaces, taking just six wickets at 55 runs apiece. He will hope to bounce back to top form in friendlier conditions in Bloemfontein.

Cilliers said batsmen not making big scores and missing opportunities in the field were the two factors preventing his team from making a stronger challenge in the Sunfoil Series.

“There are a couple of critical things we need to get right again. We need to score big runs when the opportunity presents itself: We’ve had 22 scores of more than 30 in the last three games but no centuries. And we need to take our opportunities in the field because we’ve bowled with control,” Cilliers said.

The other match of the third-last round is at Newlands, where the Cobras host the Chevrolet Warriors.

The Cobras have struggled with so many players on international duty and are currently bottom of the log, with just one win in seven matches.

Stiaan van Zyl motored to a century in his last innings and if Dane Vilas, Justin Ontong and Andrew Puttick can show their best form, then the Cobras can post the sort of score that their attack, which has shown great potential this season, can capitalise on.

http://citizen.co.za/342224/sunfoil-series-preview-dolphins-vs-titans/

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • 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



↑ Top