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Ken Borland



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.

SA bowl in all the wrong places as Smith scores great series-winning ton 0

Posted on December 23, 2014 by Ken

Steven Smith produced a great century as South Africa bowled in all the wrong areas at the death, leading Australia to a three-wicket victory with an over to spare to clinch the series in the fourth one-day international at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

Chasing 268, some bizarre field placings and the poor execution of the South African bowlers saw Australia plunder 86 runs in the last 10 overs, Smith and Matthew Wade having lifted them from 98 for five midway through their chase with a stand of 121 in 20 overs.

Smith eventually fell with the scores tied after scoring 104 off 112 balls – an innings of great composure and skill. James Faulkner came in after Wade’s dismissal and took advantage of South Africa feeding his strengths as he belted 34 not out off 19 balls.

Smith and Wade brought Australia back into contention after Dale Steyn took two wickets in two overs to put South Africa in control.

But Smith produced a fine innings and Wade played an invaluable hand of 52 off 59 deliveries.

Wayne Parnell eventually removed Wade thanks to a great catch by Ryan McLaren running in from deep backward square-leg, but Australia went into the last five overs needing just 40 runs with the big-hitting Faulkner joining Smith at the crease.

Spearhead Steyn was brought back into the attack in the 21st over after Smith and George Bailey had added 30 for the fourth wicket and he struck in his second over as captain Bailey edged a slash outside the off stump to be caught behind for 16.

That brought the dangerous Glenn Maxwell in, but he could only score two before his flatfooted drive at an away-swinger in Steyn’s next over saw him caught at slip by Hashim Amla. Credit to captain AB de Villiers for having the slip in.

Smith and Bailey made bright starts to their innings after pace bowlers McLaren and Parnell took a wicket apiece to reduce Australia to 48 for three in the 14th over.

South Africa’s back-up seamers were under pressure as Australia reached 39 for one after 10 overs, but both settled after wayward starts.

Shane Watson will be furious with himself as he once again made a start, getting to 19 off 25 balls, before he reached out to try and drive a wide, full away-swinger from McLaren and edged a catch to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.

Opener Aaron Finch was looking dangerous on 22 when he pulled Parnell straight to Faf du Plessis at deep square-leg.

Opening bowlers Kyle Abbott and Steyn were spot on from the outset to have the Australian openers under pressure, with Abbott making the breakthrough in the fourth over when he trapped David Warner lbw for four, the left-hander being hit on the back pad as he was late on a delivery that straightened back into him.

South Africa’s batsmen fell away in the later overs as they faded to 267 for eight after winning the toss and electing to bat first in the day/night game.

AB de Villiers once again dazzled and David Miller can book his ticket to the World Cup, but the rest of the South African batting once again disappointed.

The Proteas are fortunate that they can call on De Villiers, already established as one of the all-time greats, as he was once again the mainstay of the innings, scoring 91 off 88 balls in another great display of skill and exquisite placement of the ball.

Miller was the one batsman to provide sturdy support to De Villiers, playing a fine knock of 45 off 61 balls as they set up the innings with a fourth-wicket stand of 122 in 20 overs.

But unlike South Africa, whose problems extend from the batting relying too heavily on De Villiers to dodgy death bowling, Australia can rely on their bowlers in the last 10 overs to really turn the screw. Once they removed Miller, caught in the covers in an attempt to hit over the top in the powerplay, they restricted the Proteas to a meagre 51 runs in the last 10 overs, while claiming four more wickets.

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc was outstanding with his mix of yorkers and slower balls as he finished with one for 40 in 10 overs – figures that don’t do justice to his performance. Fellow paceman Pat Cummins also bowled better than his figures of two for 61, being a threat throughout, while James Faulkner was also brilliant at the death with his back-of-the-hand deliveries, finishing with two for 45.

South Africa will be concerned that Quinton de Kock continues to struggle at the top of the order, scratching his way to 17 off 38 balls before popping a lame return catch to off-spinner Glenn Maxwell, who had had him dropped at slip in his first over.

Fellow opener Hashim Amla was looking good, however, as he cruised to 18 off 20 balls. He had identified the balls to go after well, collecting three fours, and was quite within his rights to pull the shortish delivery Nathan Coulter-Nile bowled to him in the sixth over, but unfortunately he hit it straight to midwicket, where Cummins hung on to a sharp, dipping catch.

Faf du Plessis also looked in good touch as he scored 28 off 37 balls as South Africa reached 70 for one in the 16th over. But Cummins, returning after Du Plessis had hit him for two fours in his previous over in the first powerplay, got some extra bounce outside off stump and found the edge of an attempted steer, the ball nestling safely in wicketkeeper Matthew Wade’s gloves.

De Kock had fallen in the previous over and South Africa were in some strife on 79 for three.

But De Villiers once again showed that he is in a different league, improvising brilliantly, while still playing off the basis of a sound technique, and hardly ever seeming to take a risk. He only collected six boundaries, but scored at better than a run-a-ball on a slowish pitch without breaking a sweat.

With the bowlers at their mercy – Australia’s attack were also one short when Coulter-Nile limped off with a hamstring strain – both found ways to get out. Miller was trying to hit over the top in the powerplay, but could only skew Faulkner high into the covers, while De Villiers charged down the pitch to Cummins and was reaching for a slower-ball bouncer, a tennis-like shot going to deep midwicket.

After that, the remaining batsmen could not find ways to dominate the impressive Australian attack, with Farhaan Behardien managing just 22 off 23 balls.

 

Tremendous Birch & Abbott turn Series into 3-horse race 0

Posted on May 02, 2013 by Ken

Tremendous eight-wicket hauls by Andrew Birch and Kyle Abbott turned the four-day domestic franchise series into a three-horse race on Saturday as the Dolphins upset the log-leading Cape Cobras and the Warriors thrashed the Knights in Bloemfontein.

Abbott produced a classy display of match-winning fast bowling as he led the Dolphins to a thrilling 15-run victory over the Cobras at Newlands.

The Cobras were chasing a tricky target of 183 to stretch their lead at the top of the log, but Abbott’s magnificent eight for 45 in 18 overs saw them bowled out for 167, keeping the Warriors and Highveld Lions firmly in contention for four-day honours.

Abbott had Andrew Puttick caught behind for four in his opening five-over spell and he returned six overs later to have Justin Ontong caught off a mistimed pull for 25.

He then struck twice in his eighth over to dramatically undermine the Cobras’ run-chase and reduce them to 82 for five.

Stiaan van Zyl cruised to 40 off 37 balls, but he then also mistimed a pull and looped a catch to mid-on.

Abbott then went full and trapped Dane Vilas lbw for a two-ball duck.

Justin Kemp revived the Cobras’ hopes with 29 off 31 balls, but he was not able to finish the job as he shouldered arms to Abbott after lunch and was bowled as the competition’s leading wicket-taker jagged a delivery back into the right-hander.

The Cobras were not giving up without a fight, however, and Johann Louw

(16) and Dane Piedt (20) chipped away at the target.

But Calvin Savage removed Louw before Abbott returned after a short rest and was too good for Piedt, trapping him lbw and then having Beuran Hendricks (4) caught behind, Daryn Smit taking a sharp catch.

Abbott finished with superb match figures of 12 for 96 and, as far as the Cobras are concerned, their once considerable lead atop the standings has now been whittled down to just 0.18 points over the Warriors.

Third place is filled by the Lions, who are currently 14 points behind and are being frustrated by the rain in Johannesburg as their bowlers look to enforce the follow-on against the Titans.

An amazing bowling performance by Birch led the Warriors to a crushing 10-wicket victory over the Knights.

The Knights batsmen could not fathom the late swing Birch obtained in cloudy conditions, crashing to 106 all out in their second innings, leaving the Warriors with a target of just 94 to win.

Birch finished with career-best figures of eight for 30 as he claimed four of the five wickets to fall on Saturday morning after the Knights had resumed on 76 for five.

He struck for the first time in his second over of the day, having Patrick Botha (18) caught behind by Adrian McLaren to break a stubborn sixth-wicket stand of 33 with Dean Elgar.

Elgar top-scored for the Knights with 34 before he was also caught behind off Birch four overs later.

Birch then wrapped up the Knights tail for the addition of just 20 more runs as the home side completed a dismal second-innings effort that lasted just 32.1 overs.

Quickfire innings of 48 not out by Michael Price and 44 not out by Davey Jacobs saw the Warriors go to victory in just 13.3 overs.

In Johannesburg, the aggressive Lions pace attack reduced the Titans to

115 for eight, still 188 runs behind, in the 41.2 overs of play that were possible before rain washed out play.

With the Lions attack swinging the ball and getting good bounce from the Wanderers pitch, there was little resistance from the Titans batsmen, with 20s from openers Jacques Rudolph and Pieter Malan, and Heino Kuhn the leading contributions.

That trio and David Wiese (14) were all caught behind the wicket, the Lions catching everything that came their way.

Chris Morris bowled with unrelenting pace and accuracy, but it was swing bowlers Cliffe Deacon and Zander de Bruyn who emerged as the biggest threats.

Deacon ended the day as the leading wicket-taker with three for 25 in

11 overs, as well as a great catch at second slip to dismiss Malan, while De Bruyn had two for 30.

Another embarrassing batting effort by the Titans has left them needing

39 runs to avoid the follow-on as play enters its final day.

The heavy rain around Gauteng limited play on the second day to just two deliveries and the umpires stopped play on the third day at 4pm.

Classy Abbott leads Dolphins to thrilling win 0

Posted on April 30, 2013 by Ken

Kyle Abbott produced a classy display of match-winning fast bowling as he led the Dolphins to a thrilling 15-run victory over the Cape Cobras in their four-day domestic franchise series game at Newlands on Saturday.

The Cobras were chasing a tricky target of 183 to win and stretch their lead at the top of the series log, but Abbott’s magnificent eight for 45 in 18 overs saw them bowled out for 167, keeping the Warriors and Highveld Lions still very much in contention for four-day honours.

Abbott had Andrew Puttick caught behind for four in his opening five-over spell and he returned six overs later to have Justin Ontong caught off a mistimed pull for 25.

He then struck twice in his eighth over to dramatically undermine the Cobras’ run-chase and reduce them to 82/5.

Stiaan van Zyl is one of the most elegant strokeplayers in the country and the left-hander cruised to 40 off 37 balls, but he then also mistimed a pull shot and looped a catch to mid-on.

Abbott then went full and trapped Dane Vilas lbw for a two-ball duck.

Justin Kemp is an experienced and dangerous strokeplayer and he revived the Cobras’ hopes with 29 off 31 balls, but he was not able to finish the job as he shouldered arms to Abbott after lunch and was bowled as the competition’s leading wicket-taker jagged a delivery back into the right-hander.

The Cobras were not giving up without a fight, however, and Johann Louw

(16) and Dane Piedt (20) continued to chip away at the target.

But Calvin Savage trapped Louw leg-before before Abbott returned after a short rest and was too good for Piedt, catching him in front of his stumps and then having Beuran Hendricks (4) caught behind, wicketkeeper Daryn Smit taking a sharp catch.

Abbott finished with superb match figures of 12 for 96 and, as far as the Cobras are concerned, their once considerable lead atop the series standings has now been whittled down to just 0.18 points over the Warriors.

The Lions are currently 14 points behind, but are well-placed to earn an extra 10 points for beating the Titans at the Wanderers, providing the rain clears in Johannesburg, plus they have a game in hand.

http://www.iol.co.za/sport/cricket/domestic/abbott-stars-in-thrilling-dolphins-win-1.1454924#.UX_S5aJTA6w



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