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Ken Borland

KG keen to tap into finger-on-the-pulse McCullum 0

Posted on September 04, 2017 by Ken


If anyone has their finger on the pulse of the future direction of cricket it is former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum and Joburg Giants Proteas marquee player Kagiso Rabada is really looking forward to tapping into his knowledge when the T20 Global League gets underway.

McCullum was snapped up by the Johannesburg franchise as the second pick in the draft for international marquee players, providing the tantalising prospect of a batsman and captain who did much to reinvent the game teaming up with a young fast bowler who is tipped to become one of the greats.

“As captain of New Zealand he was a really positive influence with the way he was able to lead a young side. He’s a very experienced campaigner who does not play by the book, the way he approached his cricket was very interesting and it shows he does not just conform to the boxes people impose.

“He questions all the strategies of the game, which is a really good thing. And he can certainly give me insights on what balls are hard or easy to hit, so I’m looking forward to tapping into his experience and picking his brain. He has dominated a lot of bowlers so it will be interesting to hear from him where batsmen can’t score,” Rabada told The Citizen on Saturday night.

West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard was the first pick of the evening and will be playing for the Bloemfontein City Blazers, while his compatriot, Chris Gayle, will turn out for the Cape Town Knight Riders.

The Durban Qalandars plumped for England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan, while another West Indian star, Dwayne Bravo, will be plying his all-round skills for the Pretoria Mavericks.

“It’s fantastic to have Dwayne, he will bring a winning mentality having played in T20 World Cup and IPL winning sides, he can contribute with both bat and ball and all the players who have played with him previously speak very highly of him, so I’m really excited to have him in our team,” Mavericks coach Russell Domingo said.

“It’s great to have one banker at six or seven plus he can bowl four overs under pressure and then we have AB de Villiers at four. And Dwayne has great death bowling skills which is of paramount importance, particularly at Centurion.”

The other international marquee placements saw Englishman Jason Roy joining fellow opener Quinton de Kock at the Benoni Zalmi, Kevin Pietersen heading to Port Elizabeth to join his mate Mark Boucher’s Nelson Mandela Bay Stars side and Sri Lankan pace bowler Lasith Malinga playing for Faf du Plessis’ Stellenbosch Monarchs.

Aussies looking for plenty of intel in ODI series 0

Posted on September 25, 2016 by Ken


The Australian cricket team have arrived in South Africa and are looking forward to getting plenty of knowledge from their five-match ODI series against the Proteas that starts at Centurion next Friday.

That the Australians have at least one eye on the Test series they will host against South Africa in November is borne out by their selection for the ODI matches, with three uncapped pace bowlers included in Daniel WorrallJoe Mennie and Chris Tremain, leaving John Hastings (23 ODIs) and Scott Boland (10 caps) to lead the attack. Leggie Adam Zampa, who has played just a dozen ODIs, is the frontline spinner.

South Africa, under pressure to arrest their slide to fourth in the ODI rankings, by way of contrast have chosen what is expected to be their Test attack in Australia, minus Vernon Philander.

“We do have quite a turnover of players in our ODI side but that’s because we want to give the Test players a break. The guys handle it very well, they’ve been fantastic, and it allows us to give players chances at this level, we chop and change the bowlers so Steve Smith knows he has a lot of depth in that department.

“We want to make sure everyone gets game time, we’re looking ahead to major championships and players must adapt. There are good reasons for Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood not being here – we have a Test series coming up and we want to give them a break.

“So this ODI series will be a challenge for some good young players and hopefully our fast bowlers can step up. We have pace and swing from the three debutants, John Hastings has done very well for us in the past and Scotty Boland did very well last year,” Australia coach Darren Lehmann said at their Sandton hotel on Wednesday.

“A few of South Africa’s bowling attack are also part of the Test squad so it’s a chance to play against them and hopefully get into rhythm against them. Their batsmen are also generally the same in Tests, so we can learn from bowling at them too,” captain Smith said.

Australia are fresh off a 4-1 ODI series win in Sri Lanka with George Bailey enjoying a prolific series, and with Smith and David Warner the obvious other threats in a strong batting line-up.

Both the captain and coach said South Africa were a top-class side in their own conditions.

“These conditions are probably the most similar to Australia, so it’s not so foreign, generally there’s good pace and bounce. It should be exciting one-day cricket with good scores, I’m sure it will be different to Sri Lanka,” Smith said.

Flyhalves Pollard & Lambie have Boks resting easy after victory over All Blacks 0

Posted on November 03, 2014 by Ken

The Springboks can rest easy in the knowledge that they can, after all, play some of the best rugby on the planet and that the All Blacks are beatable after snatching a dramatic 27-25 victory at Ellis Park on Saturday night to end a five-game losing streak against New Zealand.
 South Africans can also rest assured that they have two world-class, match-winning flyhalves in Handre Pollard and Pat Lambie.

Pollard set up victory in the epic test as he scored two brilliant tries to give the Springboks a 21-13 lead after a scintillating first half, and then Lambie, who can consider himself a finisher par excellence, slotted a 55m penalty in the 79th minute to save the game as a strong All Blacks comeback threatened to deny the home side once again.

Who knew that Lambie can even kick the ball that far? But the 23-year-old’s composure in big games should be undoubted.

The Test started at a typically furious pace, but this time it was the Springboks who set the blazing tempo.

A phenomenal first half will be remembered for a long, long time.

Pollard missed a penalty and the Springboks twice turned over possession on attack in the 22, and it was the New Zealanders who struck first, flyhalf Beauden Barrett kicking an eighth-minute penalty.

South Africa will surely never again be called one-dimensional after their opening try was an extraordinary effort that started in their own 22. Willie le Roux made the decision to spread the ball, and Pollard produced a hard, direct run that created some space on the outside. A grubber from Jean de Villiers was then picked up by right wing Cornal Hendricks, who burst clear. Jan Serfontein was up in support and when he was tackled, scrumhalf Francois Hougaard came roaring up and evaded the clutches of Richie McCaw to score under the poles.

Pollard converted but another Barrett penalty in the 17th minute closed the gap to 7-6.

The Springboks’ second try, in the 28th minute will easily go down as one of their greatest ever.

De Villiers, who made ball-handling in a congested, hugely physical midfield look like a Sunday picnic, made a superb pass a split-second before contact to Le Roux, who sent Bryan Habana hurtling away down the left. From the subsequent ruck when the flyer was caught, Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje took the ball at pace and charged over the advantage line. With such good, quick ball, Pollard easily scythed through the remaining defence, finishing a superb team try with an intoxicating mixture of gliding, power and pace.

The All Blacks were 14-6 down and under the pump heading into the last five minutes of the first half, but despite a retreating scrum, Aaron Smith spotted space on the blindside and sent wing Julian Savea off on a powerful run.

He was caught by Pollard but the ball was recycled infield and, when centre Malikai Fekitoa noticed Eben Etzebeth making a lazy retreat, he made a beeline for him. The lock totally disrupted the defensive line and Fekitoa was able to break through and score, Barrett’s conversion making it a one-point game again.

It was all New Zealand for the last five minutes, but Bismarck du Plessis effected a crucial turnover deep in defence and Hougaard hacked the ball ahead. An enthralling foot-race ensued between Hendricks and Fekitoa, with the Sevens star forcing a five-metre scrum.

Solid frontfoot ball was all Pollard needed to once again show his sheer class with ball in hand, gliding through for his second try, dotting down through McCaw’s desperate tackle. The exclamation by the All Black captain said it all.

Marcel Coetzee (L) of South Africa leads the celebrations with team mate Willie le Roux after their victory during the Rugby Championship match between the South African Springboks and the New Zealand All Blacks at Ellis Park Stadium on October 4, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The Springboks took the attack again to the All Blacks in earnest from the start of the second half and an excellent rolling maul led to a penalty for a deliberate knock-on, Pollard extending the lead to 24-13.

It had been a memorable day for the Springboks thus far, but the All Blacks then mounted one of the famous, stirring comebacks. Today was not going to be the day they gave up their winning streak without a tremendous fight.

The home side were not only up against the world’s number one side playing with tremendous urgency, but also referee Wayne Barnes, who seemed determined to ensure there would be no All Blacks loss on his watch.

Malakai Fekitoa of the All Blacks is tackled by Eben Etzebeth (L) and Jan Serfontein during the Rugby Championship match between the South African Springboks and the New Zealand All Blacks at Ellis Park Stadium on October 4, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The All Blacks were given free rein at the breakdown and the Springboks were nailed. In the 67th minute, one such injustice led to outside centre Conrad Smith showing wonderful skill as he took a flat pass, half-shimmied and then burst through Jan Serfontein, before passing the ball out wide for Ben Smith to score and cut the deficit to 20-25.

Three minutes later and the Springboks were back under their poles. They had begun to fade, turning over possession, kicking more than they had and then losing a five-metre lineout. The All Blacks went right and then came back left, just passing the ball down the line and replacement hooker Dane Coles was the extra man to dive over in the corner.

Barrett’s conversion crucially did not go over though, and the Springboks had eight minutes to show their belief.

Lambie managed to get his monster over, sealing one of the more impressive Springbok triumphs.

The gap is not as wide as many believe and the Springboks are most certainly on the right track.

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