for quality writing

Ken Borland

Stats & personal experience show new quotas are a mixed success 0

Posted on February 29, 2016 by Ken


Hopefully this year Cricket South Africa (CSA) will call in the consultants and the experts before making any decisions about transformation quotas in franchise cricket, but something that happened in the lift at the Wanderers suggests this season’s increased targets have been a mixed success.

It was after the T20 international against England and a group of youngish Black African fans, three guys and a woman, walked into the lift in animated, festive mood, having obviously had a good evening.

They were raving about the whole Wanderers stadium experience and one of them said “I’ve actually been to the Wanderers more times this season than I ever have before!”

Now, considering that there have only been three international matches in Johannesburg this summer, that tells you that the demographic most sought after by CSA is coming to franchise matches, which is surely a good thing.

I had a more scientific look at the situation via the averages and they show that there are several Black African bowlers of quality. The Knights are challenging for the Sunfoil Series title thanks to the efforts of Mbulelo Budaza, Tumi Masekela and Malusi Siboto, who have taken 39 wickets between them at an average of 15.25 at the halfway mark, providing superb support for Duanne Olivier (19 wkts @ 14.84).

Ethy Mbhalati is top of the Titans averages with 18 wickets at an average of 17, while, in the Momentum One-Day Cup, Siboto is the leading wicket-taker with 19, Junior Dala is third with 16, Tshepo Moreki has 15 scalps and Sisanda Magala 14. Eddie Leie and Andile Phehlukwayo have both taken 11 wickets, while Pumelela Matshikwe and Aaron Phangiso have been amongst the most economical bowlers in the competition, helping the Highveld Lions to the final.

Some of the same names featured prominently in the RamSlam T20 Challenge, with Magala finishing with the second-most wickets, Phangiso and Siboto having outstanding campaigns in terms of both wickets and economy, while Leie and Phehlukwayo were both among the leading wicket-takers. Lungi Ngidi showed promise in seven matches for the Titans.

But in terms of the bowlers, we already knew that was where the Black African talent is concentrated. Where are the batsmen looking to follow Temba Bavuma?

An average of 39 for Omphile Ramela is a bit disappointing for him considering he averaged 48 for the Cape Cobras last season, while there have been brief flashes of brilliance from Mangaliso Mosehle with his spectacular match-winning innings in the T20 final, Khaya Zondo in the One-Day Cup and Letlotlo Sesele, Thami Tsolekile and Somila Seyibokwe here and there.

To be fair though, the batting averages are dominated in general by the old guard – Vilas, Petersen, Cook, Kuhn, Ontong, Smit and Ingram.

As predicted in this column before the season started, coloured players are the ones losing out most in terms of opportunity and CSA are going to have to undergo a thorough review with the franchise coaches, players’ association and Corrie van Zyl’s cricket department to properly unpick the effects of a new system that was implemented on the whim of an individual.

There is currently a lot of negativity around South African domestic cricket, but to some extent the quality of local competition has always ebbed and flowed.

What is clear is that some of the sternest critics are sourcing their information from the sort of people who thought Geoff Toyana fielding for the Lions last week was due to quotas. What nonsense, especially since it was a White student who eventually replaced the coach as an emergency 12th man, forced into duty due to two injuries, one in the warm-up and one in the first half-hour.

These are the same sort of people who think protesters interrupting a rugby match is racist. How on earth does that make sense unless they believe rugby actually belongs to white people?

Fortunately cricket is further down the road away from that attitude. If the majority of the population love cricket, it can only be good for the game.

Rabada announces himself as the future of SA pace 0

Posted on August 26, 2015 by Ken


Kagiso Rabada announced himself on Sunday as the man to lead the future South African pace attack as he single-handedly destroyed the Dolphins and set up a resounding 10-wicket win for the bizhub Highveld Lions in their Sunfoil Series match at the Wanderers.

Rabada claimed a phenomenal nine for 33 in 16.2 overs on Sunday to finish with match figures of 14 for 105.

Only one other man has taken 14 wickets in a franchise match and that was Dale Steyn for the Titans against the Eagles in Bloemfontein in 2007/8.

Rabada could well be South Africa’s next great fast bowler, with the 19-year-old confirming all the good things followers of the game are hearing about him with a thunderous performance at the Wanderers.

The Dolphins were bundled out for just 134 by Rabada, leaving the Lions with a target of just 16 to win, those runs being knocked off by openers Stephen Cook and Rassie van der Dussen.

The Dolphins, trailing by 119 runs on first innings, had resumed on 22 for one on Sunday morning after the third day’s play had been limited to just 29.1 overs by bad light and rain, and they were immediately rocked by Rabada having Daniel Sincuba caught behind for four.

The Wanderers pitch was far from her most venomous, but Rabada managed to swing the ball and generated impressive pace, having Cody Chetty (5) caught in the slips in his third over of the day before taking a break.

Rabada’s second spell was the perfect marriage of control, pace and movement as he ripped through the Dolphins lower-order in a dazzling spell of six for 10 in 6.2 overs.

Rassie van der Dussen dived full-length at backward point to catch Morne van Wyk for seven, but the five other batsmen dismissed by Rabada were all bowled or trapped lbw, save for last man Daryn Dupavillon (0), who popped a return catch back to the St Stithians product.

Opener Divan van Wyk was the only Dolphins batsman to resist for long, batting for 204 minutes and scoring 56 before he chopped Rabada into his own stumps.

Rabada is the youngest South African to take 13 wickets in a first-class match and he will surely continue to follow in Steyn’s considerable footsteps.


Rabada announces himself as pace bowling answer 0

Posted on August 25, 2015 by Ken


Kagiso Rabada chose the day when South Africa’s pace bowling reserves were brought into question at the World Cup to announce himself as the potential successor to Dale Steyn with a magnificent nine-wicket haul to bowl the bizhub Highveld Lions to a crunching win over the Dolphins in their Sunfoil Series match at the Wanderers on Sunday.

Rabada took nine for 33 in 16.2 overs – the sixth-best innings figures in the history of domestic A Section cricket in South Africa – to give him a brilliant match analysis of 14 for 105.

This is the best return in the history of franchise cricket, improving on the 14 for 110 Steyn himself took for the Titans against the Eagles in Bloemfontein in 2007/8.

Rabada’s extraordinary performance – three of his victims were caught behind the wicket, three were bowled and one was trapped lbw – skittled the Dolphins for 134 in their second innings.

This meant that the Lions had a nominal target of 16 to win the game, which openers Stephen Cook and Rassie van der Dussen quickly knocked off for a 10-wicket win that increases their lead at the top of the log to just over 17 points.

And it wasn’t the case that Rabada took advantage of a Wanderers greentop either: there was some steep bounce, but apart from that the enormously-talented 19-year-old showed his ability to get swing, hit good areas and bowled with impressive pace on a flattish pitch.

Rabada made an early start to his amazing demolition job when he removed Daniel Sincuba (4), edging a lovely away-swinger to wicketkeeper Dominic Hendricks, with his second ball of the day.

An over from Rabada went by without incident, but he then picked up another scalp in his third over of the day, Cody Chetty (5) edging an easy catch to first slip.

An exceptional catch by Van der Dussen at backward point gave Rabada his fourth wicket, Morne van Wyk dismissed for seven, and the St Stithians product marked the occasion of his maiden 10-wicket match haul by shattering the stumps of Keshav Maharaj (5), who was way too late on his shot.

Graham Hume was trapped on the crease and lbw for nought, while opener Divan van Wyk, who held on for 204 minutes in scoring 56, eventually played on.

History was then made on the famous Wanderers turf when Tshepo Moreki was bowled for 2 and last man Daryn Dupavillon (0) spliced a simple return catch to Rabada, who is the youngest South African to take 13 wickets in a first-class match.

He joins an elite group of just 25 other bowlers who have taken 14 wickets or more and there can be no doubt Rabada is on his way to even greater things.


Exciting Rabada spearheads strong 1st day for Highveld Lions 0

Posted on August 18, 2015 by Ken

Kagiso Rabada showed once again why he is one of the most exciting teenagers in world cricket as he spearheaded a strong first day for the bizhub Highveld Lions against the Dolphins in their Sunfoil Series match at the Wanderers on Thursday.

Rabada dismissed three of the Dolphins’ top four batsmen and with Hardus Viljoen running through the lower-order with the second new ball, the Lions had reduced the Dolphins to 289 for eight when bad light stopped play with one over remaining to be bowled.

The 19-year-old junior world cup winner is not only a wonderfully athletic quick bowler, but is also mastering the important art of control and adapting to different surfaces. On a Wanderers pitch that certainly provided assistance with the new ball but was otherwise pretty flat, Rabada maintained an excellent length and was rewarded with fine figures of four for 65 in 23 overs.

The one top-order batsman not to fall to Rabada was opener Imraan Khan, who scored 29 before being dismissed in highly unusual fashion.

Pumelela Matshikwe forced Khan back into the crease with a delivery that spat back at the left-handed batsman and, as the ball went behind Khan from his defensive bat, it hit the glove on the hand that he had taken off the bat.

The senior Lions players were alert to the handled the ball rule and Khan became the first South African since Free State wicketkeeper/batsman Lefa Mosena, against Limpopo in 2007/8, to be dismissed in that way.

The unlikely wicket left the Dolphins, who had won the toss and elected to bat first, on 53 for three, but the momentum then shifted the way of the visitors as the pitch settled down against the softer ball.

The wristy Cody Chetty and the determined, experienced Daryn Smit dominated the second session as they took the Dolphins to 156 for three at the tea break.

Smit had scored a dogged 60, the tenacity he showed in handling the aggressive short-pitched mode of attack from around the wicket by the fiery Chris Morris being one of the highlights of the day.

But the resistance came at a cost and the blow Smit took behind the ear from Morris in the fifth over before the interval eventually caused him to retire hurt in the second over after the break.

Chetty and Smit had added 107 for the fourth wicket off 231 balls, but the unfortunate departure of Smit did not stop the runs from flowing as captain Morne van Wyk came to the crease and the fifty partnership came up at a run-a-minute.

There was little inkling of the carnage to come when Australian exchange umpire Gerard Abood waved the second new ball around at the start of the 82nd over with the Dolphins cruising on 238 for three.

A couple of half-volleys from Rabada in the fourth over with the new ball gave Chetty (106) the opportunity to register his fourth Sunfoil Series century, a gritty effort that saw some fine strokes for his 16 boundaries off 192 balls, but some equally impressive defence and the ability to pick up singles all over the field.

But that was the high point of the day for the Dolphins: from 253 for three when Chetty reached three figures, they lost five wickets for 26 runs.

Three balls after his century celebrations, Chetty’s stay of 312 minutes was ended by Rabada nipping a delivery back into him and just clipping the bails; there were more high-fives for the Lions soon thereafter as Viljoen trapped Van Wyk lbw for 44 with the next delivery and four balls later also had Graham Hume adjudged leg-before for a duck.

Both decisions by Abood were contentious – Van Wyk was well forward while the left-handed Hume seemed to have been struck outside the line of off-stump – and they wrested control of the day away from the Dolphins.

Rabada then had Mathew Pillans (2) caught behind and Viljoen removed Keshav Maharaj (13), Neil McKenzie tumbling backwards and taking a spectacular catch at first slip, before Tshepo Moreki (2*) and Daryn Dupavillon (8*) battled through to stumps and lived to fight another day.

↑ Top