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Ken Borland



Pilanesberg National Park 0

Posted on July 11, 2016 by Ken

 

The Secretarybird is one of the great wanderers of the African grasslands, covering 20 to 30km a day as it strides purposefully across the savanna in search of terrestrial prey like insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and rodents.

There is something imperturbable about them, as if they are on an important quest and will not be distracted. Considered vulnerable, their numbers in decline, I am always happy to see them and it was a hot morning in the Pilanesberg National Park in March when I came across a pair marching across the grasslands beneath the Nkakane hill.

But on this occasion their smooth progress was to be disturbed in humorous fashion. Between myself and the Secretarybirds there were bunches of little thicket-like bushes and resting in the shade of one of them was a Steenbok … I was the only one who could foresee what would happen next.

IMG_1445

A distressed Grey Lourie tries to find some shelter during the heat of the day.

The raptors made inexorable progress towards the bush and, as they disturbed the Steenbok, both the birds and the little antelope were surprised with all three charming animals leaping away in fright!

Just before turning on to the Nkakane Link from Tshepe Drive, having entered the park through the KwaMaritane Gate, those selfsame low bushes had Pearlbreasted Swallows perched on top of them. They are one of the Hirundines that spend their time lower to the ground.

These bushes also provide vantage points for the Lesser Grey Shrikes, which thrive in the open spaces of the savanna, as well as providing some shelter from the midday sun when it is especially hot.

I guess 34°C qualifies because respite from the heat seemed to be on everyone’s mind. It was so hot that a Blue Wildebeest sheltering under a thorn tree almost on the road was very reluctant to move away from my car, while even a European Bee-Eater was being surprisingly inconspicuous lurking in the foliage of a tree.

The Hippopotami had the right idea with 13 of them in a little dam, along with two Elephant! Arrowmarked Babblers were also making a beeline, descending towards the water.

Little pools of water formed from streams running down from Magare Hill were also full of life, with Common Waxbills flying up from the water’s edge as I drove past.

The main stream coming out of Mankwe Dam obviously had fish in it because African Spoonbill and Grey Heron were in attendance.

There were no other surprises for me, although it was nice to see Wattled Plover and Wood Sandpiper amongst the Warthog at Tilodi Dam.

Sightings

Blue Wildebeest

Common Waxbill

Impala

African Elephant

Plains Zebra

Lesser Grey Shrike

Blackeyed Bulbul

Pearlbreasted Swallow

African Spoonbill

Grey Heron

Secretarybird

Steenbok

Blacksmith Plover

Hippopotamus

Yellowthroated Sparrow

European Bee-Eater

Arrowmarked Babbler

Egyptian Goose

Warthog

Wattled Plover

Wood Sandpiper

Pied Crow

Greater Striped Swallow

Grey Lourie

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.

 

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