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Ken Borland

No dancing around the issue for odd-one-out Morkel 0

Posted on November 09, 2016 by Ken


A lesser player or person might have danced around the issue, but Titans T20 captain Albie Morkel was forthright on Tuesday about himself being the odd one out as his team defend their title in the shortest format of the game, starting with their derby clash with double-header hosts the Lions at the Wanderers on Saturday.

Because Morkel is only available for limited-overs cricket for the Titans, he has not been part of the side that has put a poor start in the Sunfoil Series behind them and climbed to the top of the four-day log at the halfway stage. So he is acutely aware that while he will be leading an in-form group of players into battle this weekend, his own form has yet to be tested.

“Having a winning team definitely helps and it doesn’t matter which format it’s been in. In T20, one guy can win a game on the night, but the team with the most in-form players will win the competition. So the four-day games have provided nice momentum, lots of guys have made big contributions.

“So we don’t have to hide anyone, we’re not trying to fill any gaps, all the guys have performed on the field in recent weeks. If you’re out of form in T20 cricket, you get exposed very quickly,” Morkel said on Tuesday at the announcement that Multiply would be the franchise’s team sponsor in the CSA T20 Slam.

“But I’m the one guy who’s had an extended holiday. The challenge has been to stay fit, so I played a bit of club cricket, although that’s not at the same intensity. So this week I’ll make sure I get some good practice in, match-sharpness is the key, and I can also fall back on experience to an extent,” the all-rounder added.

Last season the Titans went on a record-breaking eight-match winning streak to top the log and then win the final they hosted against the Dolphins, but life could be a bit harder for them this time around, certainly in the initial stages of the competition.

“We have almost a completely different team, last season we had Quinton de Kock scoring over 400 runs on his own and Chris Morris and Tabraiz Shamsi making it very hard to chase down our scores. Those guys won games on their own and we’ve also lost someone like Graeme van Buuren, who did very well too, and Mangaliso Mosehle.

“So we need to find our combinations quickly, even though there are a few older guys still around, that’s no guarantee for success. We’re starting from scratch again and we’ll definitely have to bowl smarter. But we’re still a strong team, we’ll look at Aiden Markram up front, he’s a bit of an unknown factor in T20, and our middle and lower-order is very strong with myself, David Wiese, Qaasim Adams and Farhaan Behardien all coming in back-to-back. We can really take on attacks if we get good starts,” Morkel said.

‘In general, AB will open in T20s’ – Faf 0

Posted on February 26, 2016 by Ken



South Africa’s T20 captain, Faf du Plessis, says that in general he wants AB de Villiers to open the batting in the shortest format of the game and particularly in the ICC World T20 starting in India next month.

While De Villiers displayed his complete mastery of the role with his superb innings against England at the Wanderers at the weekend, Hashim Amla showed in the same game that he is also a great opening option and Quinton de Kock also fits the job description of being able to hit boundaries up front while playing normal cricket.

“I’ve always wanted AB to open because he has the potential to blast a team away, especially in India, so there’s just one spot left and Hashim and Quinton have both been excellent as well. It’s a tricky one, but it’s not a headache because it’s great to have options. The plan wasn’t to have all three playing, but by all means we’ll look at it.

“The whole world was screaming and shouting for AB to open the batting and then, if we have a shaky chase like at Newlands, then everyone starts questioning whether he might not be better in the middle-order. But AB is still a great finisher and we’ll go for the strongest team in the conditions. In England or South Africa it may be different to India … ” Du Plessis said.

The captain said he was confident that the squad for the ICC World T20 had all the practitioners of the different skills required for success in a tournament where South Africa’s best finishes have been semi-final appearances in 2014 and 2009.

“The great thing about the squad is that for the first time I believe any XI we field will be as strong as any other. We have a lot of options and the quality of the squad is such that I honestly don’t feel there are any holes. It’s well-balanced and it’s been consistent, which is what I always look for. The T20 results have been excellent over the last two years and it’s great to be winning. But we still have to improve against Australia and take that momentum into the world cup,” Du Plessis said after their eighth win in nine matches.



SA on track to win when rain returned 0

Posted on September 11, 2012 by Ken

South Africa were on track to defend their mediocre score when rain washed out the second T20 international against England at Old Trafford in Manchester on Monday.


South Africa had their banker, Hashim Amla, to thank as his 47 not out lifted them to 77 for five in their nine overs. England were in the fifth over of their chase, and were already two down with just 29 runs on the board, when the rain intensified to such an extent that the umpires had to abandon play.

The visitors were asked to bat first after losing the toss and Amla, opening the batting, adapted straight away to the shortest format of the game.

Rain as soon as the players were in place caused a two-and-a-half hour delay and reduced the match to nine overs a side, and there was some surprise that Amla still opened the batting. But thank goodness he did as there was a steady procession of batsmen coming in and going straight out at the other end.

Richard Levi (0), AB de Villiers (1) and Albie Morkel (3) all fell to limp attacking strokes as South Africa slipped to 37 for three in the fifth over.

Steven Finn began the rot with the first delivery, getting pace and bounce from a terrific pitch and just brushing Levi’s gloves on the way through to wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter.

De Villiers then popped up an attempted pull off Finn in his next over, Jade Dernbach taking a juggling catch running back from deep mid-on.

Morkel fell to the medium-pace of Luke Wright, but Amla was a revelation, his incredible ability to plunder runs in any format being proven again as he hammered 47 not out off 30 balls, with seven fours.

England failed to police the area behind square on the off side well enough as Amla found the gaps there with precise placement, wonderful timing and occasionally brute force.

JP Duminy (5) and Justin Ontong (1) fell cheaply in the sixth and seventh overs, finally bringing Jacques Kallis to the crease. South Africa’s greatest batsman said what he needed to say about his demotion with the bat, scoring 13 not out off seven balls, with two fours.

Dernbach bowled two top-class overs at the death, taking one for 12, while off-spinner Graeme Swann was a handful with 1-11 in two overs. Wright bowled a valuable single over for four runs and the crucial wicket of Morkel, while Finn was a menace with the new ball, taking 2-17 in his pair of overs.

But Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn are the top new-ball pair in world cricket and they soon had England under pressure in their reply.

Morkel bowled two superb overs up front for just eight runs, while Steyn removed Kieswetter for one as the wicketkeeper/batsman tried a pull/drive on the up and could only send a catch steepling practically as high as the floodlights, Robin Peterson taking a truly fine catch, diving at the last instant, at deep mid-on.

Wright (14) top-edged a hook off Albie Morkel to his brother Morne, who took a good catch running around from fine leg, but that also proved to be the end of the match as the rain, which had been falling for the entire innings, intensified.

South Africa, more than a dozen runs ahead on Duckworth/Lewis at that stage, were just five balls away from a completed match and they deserve full marks for their outstanding bowling and fielding in slippery conditions with a sodden ball.

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