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Ken Borland



Bowling questions remain for Proteas 0

Posted on June 19, 2015 by Ken

The successful series against the West Indies did answer a few questions about the Proteas as they head into the World Cup, but a couple of glaring question marks remain – such as why the bowlers insist on banging the ball in halfway down the pitch so often?

Bowling coach Allan Donald was quoted as saying this week “I’d rather not have that many yorkers at the back end … at the World Cup, we want to be unpredictable in the last 10 overs and that is not going to be about bowling 40 yorkers in the last 10 overs.”

Not bowling yorkers is also becoming predictable, however, for this attack.

While the South African bowlers were generally dominant against the eighth-ranked West Indies – and let’s be honest, their batting was largely woeful – it was alarming to see how exposed the Proteas were once again in the death overs when Andre Russell, Darren Sammy and the tail took the tourists to an unlikely victory in the fourth ODI in Port Elizabeth.

The West Indies top-order was barely a factor through the series, meaning they were under pressure every time they batted; how will South Africa’s attack fare against much stronger batting line-ups at the World Cup, especially if the pitches are flat, without the luxury of early wickets?

Kyle Abbott was particularly disappointing in the series – taking just two wickets for 121 runs, conceded at a rate of 7.33 per over. It was depressing to see someone who had previously shown such skill in finding the blockhole, banging the ball in short and getting regularly smashed – perhaps Donald’s comments have something to do with that? There was surely a message in the second of those Abbott wickets coming from a full, straight delivery that bowled Marlon Samuels at Centurion.

Lady Luck has not been kind to South Africa in previous World Cups, but she tends to favour teams that are tactically astute, hard-working and gifted. The Proteas are certainly dedicated to their craft and in terms of talent we only need to mention AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn, so no issues there.

But while the batting looks so powerful – Rilee Rossouw adding his name into the mix of potential match-winners – their bowling remains vulnerable due to the current strategic thinking and I have a feeling opposing teams will back themselves to chase down whatever target South Africa set by putting them under pressure in the field.

The balance of the team – without a genuine all-rounder – is out, so JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien have to share 10 overs or someone like Vernon Philander or Wayne Parnell has to bat seven.

That fifth-bowler portion will certainly be targeted by the opposition and sides like India and Australia will probably have a go at Morne Morkel and Philander as well.

Immersed in the pressure of a knockout game, how cool can Morkel stay? His display under the pump in Port Elizabeth suggests the portents are not that good, while Philander, at no more than fast-medium pace and generally sticking to line-and-length, could also be vulnerable.

The positives, however, are that South Africa, with Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir, are better than most at taking wickets in the middle overs and there will be no more feared batting line-up at the World Cup.

The bookies are hawking odds of between 3/1 and 13/3 on South Africa winning the World Cup, but they are only second favourites behind Australia – who range from 2/1 to 13/4 to win their fifth title.

There are a million different scenarios that could play out – and South Africa have historically provided the weirdest of those – but I will be hugely frustrated if the Proteas post 350-8 in a semi-final and then lose by three wickets in the final over as Duminy/Behardien travel for 90 runs in their 10 combined overs and Morkel and Philander concede 75 each.

Ryan McLaren or David Wiese are not part of the squad to provide a genuine fifth bowling option and from what we’ve seen from the West Indies series, South Africa are not going to be able to stray too far from their first-choice attack.

Which is not entirely a bad thing. Barring the number seven position, South Africa are a settled combination, going to Australasia with confidence and not many teams will fancy taking them on.

 

Amla & Rossouw overwhelm West Indies 0

Posted on April 30, 2015 by Ken

An overwhelming batting display – Hashim Amla and Rilee Rossouw blazing their way to centuries – carried South Africa to a comfortable 131-run victory over the West Indies in the fifth and final Momentum One-Day International at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday night.

With Amla and Rossouw slamming a record 247 runs for the third wicket off just 181 balls, South Africa charging to 361 for five after bad weather delayed the start of play by two-and-a-half hours and reduced the match to 42 overs per side, the hosts were always in control and they duly bowled the West Indies out for 230 in 37.4 overs.

Their batsmen having once again produced the goods, South Africa’s second-string bowling attack were eager to please but, Wayne Parnell apart, they showed that the Proteas cannot be complacent in the field when they get to the World Cup.

Kyle Abbott managed to dismiss dangerman Chris Gayle with the first ball of the innings, the left-hander only getting a thin edge as he flashed at an ill-directed opener short and well wide of off stump. The Proteas had to get the dismissal on review as umpire Sundaram Ravi called the delivery wide.

Abbott continued to spray the ball about, and although he claimed a second wicket with a full, straight delivery that bowled Marlon Samuels for 50, he persisted with banging the ball in halfway down the pitch and went for 59 runs in seven overs to finish a disappointing series for him.

Narsingh Deonarine (43) and Dwayne Smith (31) added 77 at a run-a-ball for the second wicket to repair the early damage, but Aaron Phangiso fooled Smith with the arm-ball to trap him lbw and Deonarine failed to get back in time as Samuels turned down a quick single and was run out in the left-arm spinner’s next over.

Samuels went on to score a quickfire half-century before being castled by what replays suggested was an Abbott no-ball, while Denesh Ramdin made a run-a-ball 40 before being undone by a sharp lifter from Parnell, gloving a catch to square-leg, where Amla moved smartly and dived to take a fine catch.

Parnell would be the best of the South African bowlers by some margin, taking four for 42 in nine overs, while fast bowler Marchant de Lange, who will not be going to the World Cup, enjoyed standing in for Vernon Philander (slight groin strain) and took one for 34 in eight tidy overs.

Although the West Indies’ batsmen never threatened to win the match, South Africa’s bowling was not precise enough for them to be happy with their performance in the field. Even Parnell tended to stick to back-of-a-length deliveries, which will be fodder for better batting line-ups at the World Cup.

Rossouw proved his credentials with the World Cup just around the corner as he lashed a great century, helping himself to a career-best 132 off just 98 balls, with nine fours and eight sixes, and Amla cruised to yet another century, scoring a fine 133 off 105 deliveries.

Rossouw and Amla added 247 for the third wicket off just 181 balls, a record third-wicket partnership for South Africa and equalling their own mark for the best stand for any wicket that they set in the second ODI at the Wanderers.

It was another top-class batting display by the South Africans, even with big gun AB de Villiers having a rest, as they laid a solid platform on a tricky pitch and then launched a spectacular late onslaught.

A couple of wickets had fallen in the first 10 overs as Quinton de Kock (4) and Faf du Plessis (16) fell to horizontal-bat strokes on a pitch that provided enough awkward bounce to make those shots difficult.

Amla once again looked in a class apart as he reached a 49-ball half-century in the 21st over, midway through the innings with South Africa on 109 for two, while Rossouw, who has endured a troubled ODI career thus far, struggled through to his 50 off 60 balls.

But those early miscues all seemed a lifetime ago as Rossouw then blossomed in spectacular fashion, needing just 23 more deliveries to register his second century of the series.

The left-hander raced past Amla and looked every bit a power-hitter as he smashed 82 runs off his last 38 balls.

Amla just kept on amassing runs as he has all series, except in this innings he was able to do it in half-dozens at a time, clearing the boundary six times to go with his 11 fours, showing that even a great batsman like him has had room to improve his game.

The West Indies were bleeding runs horrifically as the sun shone brightest on its way to the western horizon, bathing SuperSport Park in a sepia light befitting a display that was one for the ages.

The last 147 runs of the Amla and Rossouw partnership came off just 69 balls … and that by two batsmen who are not renowned for being big boundary-hitters.

Finishers David Miller (23 off 9) and JP Duminy (18* off 7) were left with only a handful of overs to bat but they collected their share of boundaries as 87 runs were hammered in the last five overs.

With the bounce providing something for the bowlers to work with – which the West Indians failed to do – South Africa’s total was certainly well over par.

 http://citizen.co.za/316681/amla-rossouw-batting-blaze/

Rossouw proves himself against lightweight West Indies 0

Posted on April 23, 2015 by Ken

Rilee Rossouw proved his credentials with the World Cup just around the corner as he lashed a great century to take South Africa to a massive 361 for five in the rain-shortened fifth Momentum One-Day International against the West Indies at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday.

Midway through their run-chase, the West Indies had done little to divorce themselves from the perception that they are lightweights in comparison to the Proteas as they stuttered to 115 for three in 21 overs in reply, leaving them with an unlikely 250 runs to win from 126 balls.

And there will be no cavalier innings from Chris Gayle to rescue them either as the big-hitting left-hander was out to the first ball of the innings.

Kyle Abbott sent down a rather wretched loosener, short and very wide outside off stump, which Gayle flashed at and umpire Sundaram Ravi called wide. The South Africans were convinced, however, that the batsman had nicked the ball and called for a review, receiving a positive verdict from third umpire Steve Davis.

Narsingh Deonarine and Dwayne Smith then added 77 from 77 balls for the second wicket, but it was hardly a hair-raising time for the South Africans with the comfort of such a large total on the board.

There was some disappointing bowling from Abbott in particular, but Wayne Parnell joined the fray in the eighth over and suggested that his game is there or thereabouts as he bowled three tidy overs for just nine runs.

There was some respite for the home side when Aaron Phangiso trapped Smith lbw for 31 with a straight one, and it all went horribly wrong for Deonarine in the left-arm spinner’s next over when he was run out for 43, losing his bat in the process as he tried to beat Hashim Amla’s whirlwind throw from short fine leg.

Marlon Samuels (22*) and Denesh Ramdin (11*) were working the ball around in a stand of 32 for the fourth wicket, but they had an awful amount of work to do if they were to challenge South Africa’s total.

Rain had delayed the start of play for two-and-a-half hours and saw the match reduced to 42 overs a side, and the West Indies won the toss and sent South Africa in to bat.

Rossouw helped himself to a career-best 132 off just 98 balls, with nine fours and eight sixes, and Amla cruised to yet another century, scoring a fine 133 off 105 deliveries.

Rossouw and Amla added 247 for the third wicket off just 181 balls, a record third-wicket partnership for South Africa and equalling their own mark for the best stand for any wicket that they set in the second ODI at the Wanderers.

It was another top-class batting display by the South Africans, even with big gun AB de Villiers having a rest, as they laid a solid platform on a tricky pitch and then launched a spectacular late onslaught.

A couple of wickets had fallen in the first 10 overs as Quinton de Kock (4) and Faf du Plessis (16) fell to horizontal-bat strokes on a pitch that provided enough awkward bounce to make those shots difficult.

Amla once again looked in a class apart as he reached a 49-ball half-century in the 21st over, midway through the innings with South Africa on 109 for two, while Rossouw, who has endured a troubled ODI career thus far, struggled through to his 50 off 60 balls.

But those early miscues all seemed a lifetime ago as Rossouw then blossomed in spectacular fashion, needing just 23 more deliveries to register his second century of the series.

The left-hander raced past Amla and looked every bit a power-hitter as he smashed 82 runs off his last 38 balls.

Amla just kept on amassing runs as he has all series, except in this innings he was able to do it in half-dozens at a time, clearing the boundary six times to go with his 11 fours, showing that even a great batsman like him has had room to improve his game.

The West Indies were bleeding runs horrifically as the sun shone brightest on its way to the western horizon, bathing SuperSport Park in a sepia light befitting a display that was one for the ages.

The last 147 runs of the Amla and Rossouw partnership came off just 69 balls … and that by two batsmen who are not renowned for being big boundary-hitters.

Finishers David Miller (23 off 9) and JP Duminy (18* off 7) were left with only a handful of overs to bat but they collected their share of boundaries as 87 runs were hammered in the last five overs.

With the bounce providing something for the bowlers to work with – which the West Indians failed to do – South Africa’s total is certainly well over par. But they will be wary that Chris Gayle is probably due a score in this series.

 – http://citizen.co.za/316633/no-cavalier-innings-for-gayle/

Rossouw lashes century to prove his World Cup credentials 0

Posted on April 21, 2015 by Ken

Rilee Rossouw proved his credentials with the World Cup just around the corner as he lashed a great century to take South Africa to a massive 361 for five in the rain-shortened fifth Momentum One-Day International against the West Indies at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday.

Rain delayed the start of play for two-and-a-half hours and saw the match reduced to 42 overs a side, and the West Indies won the toss and sent South Africa in to bat.

Rossouw helped himself to a career-best 132 off just 98 balls, with nine fours and eight sixes, and Hashim Amla cruised to yet another century, scoring a fine 133 off 105 deliveries.

Rossouw and Amla added 247 for the third wicket off just 181 balls, a record third-wicket partnership for South Africa and equalling their own mark for the best stand for any wicket that they set in the second ODI at the Wanderers.

It was another top-class batting display by the South Africans, even with big gun AB de Villiers having a rest, as they laid a solid platform on a tricky pitch and then launched a spectacular late onslaught.

A couple of wickets had fallen in the first 10 overs as Quinton de Kock (4) and Faf du Plessis (16) fell to horizontal-bat strokes on a pitch that provided enough awkward bounce to make those shots difficult.

Amla once again looked in a class apart as he reached a 49-ball half-century in the 21st over, midway through the innings with South Africa on 109 for two, while Rossouw, who has endured a troubled ODI career thus far, struggled through to his 50 off 60 balls.

But those early miscues all seemed a lifetime ago as Rossouw then blossomed in spectacular fashion, needing just 23 more deliveries to register his second century of the series.

The left-hander raced past Amla and looked every bit a power-hitter as he smashed 82 runs off his last 38 balls.

Amla just kept on amassing runs as he has all series, except in this innings he was able to do it in half-dozens at a time, clearing the boundary six times to go with his 11 fours, showing that even a great batsman like him has had room to improve his game.

The West Indies were bleeding runs horrifically as the sun shone brightest on its way to the western horizon, bathing SuperSport Park in a sepia light befitting a display that was one for the ages.

The last 147 runs of the Amla and Rossouw partnership came off just 69 balls … and that by two batsmen who are not renowned for being big boundary-hitters.

Finishers David Miller (23 off 9) and JP Duminy (18* off 7) were left with only a handful of overs to bat but they collected their share of boundaries as 87 runs were hammered in the last five overs.

With the bounce providing something for the bowlers to work with – which the West Indians failed to do – South Africa’s total is certainly well over par. But they will be wary that Chris Gayle is probably due a score in this series.

 



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