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Ken Borland

Lack of opportunity for middle-order soured Zim successes – Smith 0

Posted on September 18, 2014 by Ken

Former captain Graeme Smith is highly impressed by the recent performances of the South African one-day side, but believes the success in the Zimbabwe triangular series was soured by the lack of opportunity given to the middle-order.

JP Duminy scored 51 in one innings but only managed another 51 runs in his other four innings, two of which were undefeated.

David Miller could only score 13 runs in three brief innings, Ryan McLaren batted twice for 30 runs and Rilee Rossouw also only batted twice, scoring a duck and 36.

“They’ve really done well and for me winning in Sri Lanka was the big one. Zimbabwe was great for their confidence. Australia were a bit undercooked, but there was needle in those games and it’s always lekker to beat them. We’re beating them more than ever before, here, over there and in other places.

“Our top five can really win games and set a platform, but I worry a bit about our middle-order. It’s a really difficult place to bat in and I think we need to give more opportunity to those guys, get them batting up the order in warm-up games or the softer matches. They must get batting, that will get them confidence and it will change the whole dynamic of the side,” Smith told The Pretoria News.

Smith said he felt particularly sorry for Miller, who either came in to bat with very few deliveries remaining or with the top-order having fallen cheaply.

“We know his ability and I think he should have been pushed up the order against Zimbabwe. That’s what should happen in the softer games. A guy like him needs both clarity in terms of his role and confidence,” South Africa’s captain in a record 149 ODIs said.

Smith also backed leg-spinner Imran Tahir as the man who will probably be the first-choice spinner for the World Cup early next year in Australia and New Zealand.

“I think Imran is a terrific short-form bowler, he picks up wickets and he’s difficult to attack because he turns the ball both ways. A finger spinner, if he doesn’t get big turn, can be lined up and go for 50 or 60 runs without the batsmen taking any risks. The smaller boundaries in New Zealand mean you probably won’t play two specialist spinners there, especially since JP Duminy is basically a frontline bowler now.

“Imran is the sort of bowler who can create things, he’s a partnership breaker and he takes pressure off the seamers. If you don’t have a spinner taking wickets then the seamers can be over-bowled and then they’re tired at the death,” Smith said.

The recently-retired left-hander said the need for wicket-taking bowlers remained a strong conviction of his.

“You need impact bowlers, both spinners and pacemen. In one-day cricket, if you can have game-changers with the ball then it makes a big difference.”

Smith also said the role of the selectors was crucial in getting the balance of the side right for the World Cup.

“A lot of the time, the balance of the side is about gut feel. But the selectors need to create consistency in the build-up to the World Cup. Those last two or three places in the squad are also crucial and the management have to have confidence in them if they decide to play the extra batsman or extra bowler. You don’t want things to suddenly start changing once you’re at the World Cup,” Smith warned.

“But we’ll obviously feel more at home in the conditions in New Zealand and Australia. Eighty percent of the time now you play in sub-continental conditions, but this World Cup will suit our style of play. Spinners will still be effective because the boundaries are big, so rotating the strike is key,” Smith said.

The 33-year-old is now a full-time employee of major cricket sponsors Momentum, marking the start of his business career and confirming that he has turned down the approaches of the Big Bash in Australia and of his own Cape Cobras side to play in the Champions League.

“My relationship with Momentum started back in 2003 and it’s a great place to start my business life. I’ll also be doing work with Cricket South Africa on the cultural identity of the Proteas, which is something very close to my heart, as well as some leadership consulting, public speaking, that sort of thing. So I won’t be going to the Big Bash to play for Perth Scorchers or to the Champions League with the Cobras,” Smith confirmed.

Levi and pacemen see SA to top-class victory 0

Posted on September 26, 2012 by Ken

An unbeaten half-century from Richard Levi saw South Africa to a 10-wicket victory, set up by a top-class bowling performance, over Zimbabwe in their ICC World T20 match at Hambantota on Thursday.


Having been sent in to bat, Zimbabwe’s hopes of staying in the tournament were quickly soured by a brilliant display by the South African pacemen, led by Jacques Kallis, as they were restricted to a paltry 93 for eight.

South Africa’s prior two encounters, both unofficial, with Zimbabwe had ended in embarrassing defeats, but the difference this time was the tremendous strikepower that was available with Kallis, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn all in action.

It was pros against amateurs as Craig Ervine (37 off 40) was the only batsman to score more than 15.

Kallis returned with new career-best figures of 4-15, tearing through the middle-order with 3-3 in his first two overs.

It was a good toss to win for South Africa as their fast bowlers revelled in the moist conditions after a heavy afternoon shower, and Morne Morkel (4-0-16-2) immediately justified the decision to send Zimbabwe in as he removed Vusi Sibanda (0) and Brendan Taylor (4) in his first two overs.

Sibanda was bowled by a marvellous delivery that jagged back through the gate to hit the top of off stump, while both Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza, who was caught off Albie Morkel for six, erred in trying to manufacture strokes that the conditions did not allow.

Ervine produced a couple of beautiful strokes through the off side and Zimbabwe were dreaming of a comeback as he and Stuart Matsikenyeri added 35 for the fourth wicket.

But then Kallis, the man with the golden touch, seized control of the innings.

He didn’t have much to do with his first wicket, Matsikenyeri leaving his crease and slapping the ball straight to cover to be caught for 11, but Kallis’s next delivery was far too quick and straight for Elton Chigumbura, who stayed back and played all around it to be trapped lbw for a golden duck.

Graeme Cremer averted the hat-trick, but Kallis had his career-best figures three overs later when he surprised Cremer (6) with a bouncer that was gloved through to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers.

Prosper Utseya (5) was soon sent on his way by a superb diving catch down the leg side by De Villiers off Steyn, South Africa’s bowling spearhead not disappointing with outstanding figures of 1-9 in his four overs.

Ervine, the one Zimbabwean to emerge with some credit, was the last batsman to fall, caught behind as he failed to control a well-directed lifter from Kallis.

South Africa’s chase was a mere formality, even though Hashim Amla was dropped on 29 and Levi erred once in top-edging a hook for four off left-arm paceman Brian Vitori.

Most importantly, Levi put to bed the doubts over his place at the top of the order as he cruised to 50 not out off 43 balls, with six fours.

While Zimbabwe’s limited bowling was clearly right up his street, Levi impressed by not playing across the line so much and half his boundaries were straight through the covers.

Amla finished on 32 not out off 33 balls, with three fours, as Zimbabwe were condemned to a flight back to Johannesburg and then home after just three days of the tournament.

No nasty Zim surprises for SA 0

Posted on September 20, 2012 by Ken

There were no nasty surprises for South Africa as they thrashed neighbours Zimbabwe by 10 wickets, with 7.2 overs to spare, in their ICC World T20 match at Hambantota on Thursday.

12th over – Kyle Jarvis returns and his first delivery is cut hard to backward point by Hashim Amla, but Vusi Sibanda can’t hang on to the catch going to his left. Amla gets a let-off on 29.

11th over – A touch short from Ray Price and Richard Levi slashes the ball through the covers for a fine boundary.

9th over – Nicely controlled and crisply struck as Levi slog-sweeps Prosper Utseya for a one-bounce four.

6th over – Two cracking drives on the up through the covers for four by Levi off Brian Vitori.

5th over – Amla creates room for himself so well and his quick hands allow him to lean back and slash a perfectly good delivery from left-arm spinner Price through extra cover with great timing for four.

4th over – In the slot from Jarvis and Levi pulls it from off stump over mid-on for a one-bounce four.

2nd over – Levi top-edges a hook at left-arm paceman Vitori for four.

1st over – Jarvis drags a slower ball down short and wide, Amla waits for it and cuts the ball powerfully through the covers for four. Jarvis again provides too much width on the last ball of the over and an edged slash by Amla flies to the third man boundary for another four.

Zimbabwe innings

Jacques Kallis was the hero as the South African pacemen blasted Zimbabwe and restricted them to 93 for eight in their ICC World T20 match at Hambantota on Thursday.

20th over – Ray Price ends the innings by stepping back and forehand-smashing Kallis between mid-off and extra cover for four.

18th over – WICKET – Kallis has four now and it’s the admirable Craig Ervine out for 37 off 40 balls. Kallis sends down a well-directed short-pitched delivery which the left-hander tries to run down to third man. But there’s steep bounce and the line is tight, so a cramped shot can only succeed in giving wicketkeeper AB de Villiers his fourth catch.

17th over – Dale Steyn has conceded just three runs in his previous three overs, but now Ervine half-steers/half-edges him past the slip for four. WICKET – Steyn ends with a well-deserved wicket as Prosper Utseya (5) tries to fend off a fast, short-pitched delivery on leg stump and can only glove the ball, wicketkeeper De Villiers taking a superb diving catch.

14th over – WICKET – Kallis now has tremendous figures of 1.4-1-2-3 as Graeme Cremer (6) gloves an attempted hook at a bouncer and is caught behind by De Villiers.

11th over – Two wickets in two balls for Kallis in his first over! WICKET – Stuart Matsikenyeri (11) comes down the pitch and slaps the ball hard, but straight to Robin Peterson at cover. WICKET – Elton Chigumbura goes back to his first delivery, but it’s full, the bat is nowhere near the ball and he’s plumb lbw for a royal duck.

9th over – Johan Botha tosses up the first ball of the over and Ervine responds with a beautifully-played drive through the covers for four.

8th over – Robin Peterson joins Botha in the attack but a flatter, quicker delivery is brilliantly reverse-swept for four by Ervine.

5th over – Albie Morkel joins the attack, but his first delivery is short and angling across the left-hander and Ervine punches the ball crisply through the covers for four. WICKET – But three balls later, Morkel gets in on his brother’s act with a wicket of his own. Hamilton Masakadza (6) gives himself room, Albie Morkel follows him and a cramped drive, on the up, loops to deep mid-on.

4th over – WICKET – Morne Morkel strikes again as Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor plays an awful shot. Taylor backs away to leg and then plays a half-hearted cut shot as Morkel puts the ball outside off stump, presenting a comfortable edge for De Villiers and Taylor is caught behind for four. The first boundary of the innings comes after 23 balls as Masakadza bashes a delivery straight down the ground as Morkel over-pitches a touch.

2nd over – WICKET – A brilliant delivery from Morkel bowls Vusi Sibanda for a duck! Morkel gets a ball to jag back and bowl Sibanda through the gate, hitting the top of off stump.

1st over – A fantastic opening over from Steyn. All six deliveries are pitched just outside off stump, swinging away and he concedes just a single as Masakadza comes down the pitch and then defends the ball into the covers.

Post-Zimbabwe, pre-England SA cricket Q&A 0

Posted on July 03, 2012 by Ken

Maroof Gangat asked:
The Big 3, amla, kallis, de villiers. why is it that it has to be 1 of these 3 batsmen that bail SA out of trouble, im sure the other batsmen have to pull up there socks and come to the party eg. rudolph, du plessis etc.
Ken answered:
I think you’re being a little unfair. Obviously Amla, Kallis & De Villiers are 3 of the best batsmen in the world and they will obviously consistently produce great performances. But the rest of the batting order are consistently chipping in as well – Jacques Rudolph made a crucial century recently in NZ, Du Plessis top-scored in the final in Zimbabwe and has made valuable runs in the middle-order in ODIs. Smith, Petersen, Duminy have all made runs in the last year as well.

Riaan asked:
Hi Ken,
My question is regarding Parnell. I am just struggling to see why we keep investing in him. Understandably he has shown immense talent and therefore his prolonged was justified to an extent, but he has never made the international level his own. He I know he has performed well in the last T20, but the first two? I perceive him as very hot/cold. Your opinions on him being the constant inclusion that he is? Justified? For how long still?
Ken answered:
I think the problem when it comes to Parnell is that the talent is obviously there and the best way to nurture talent is to back it, give it opportunity, hope continuity of selection helps him to settle down. But yes, consistency is his problem. His place will definitely be under serious threat if the likes of Marchant de Lange or Rusty Theron start to produce the goods on a consistent basis.

Armand asked:
Hi Ken,Do u think we have got the right back up players in our squads if some of our star players get injured?? If u look at our bowlers and keeper?? I think we need some wicket taking bowlers and not stock bowlers..
Ken answered:
Hi Armand
Are you talking about the test squad?
In terms of the wicketkeeper, I am disappointed that Tsolekile has not been taken on tour as specialist back-up.
The back-up players are probably the best we have, though … we just need to do more work on them!
“Stock” bowlers are also important though because they dry up an end, build pressure and allow the more attacking bowlers to rotate from the other end.

Bennie asked:
Hi Ken, After our second defeat to Zim, do you think Amla is still the man to take charge should AB be unavailable in the limited overs games?
Ken answered:
Hi Bennie
I don’t think our losses to Zimbabwe were due to bad captaincy, we were beaten so thoroughly that I don’t think any tactics made the difference! But yes, I’m not entirely convinced with Amla as captain … but that being said, he was only standing-in for the T20s because Johan Botha was injured. The problem is, if not Amla, then who? Botha is no longer assured of his place in the limited-overs teams …

Tumelo asked:
Hi Ken,

1)Would Faf be ahead of Kallis in the opening slot after Amla and Levi?
2)If Kallis is not going to open is there a place for him in the middle ahead of Faf as I think the spinning option would be better suited to conditions
3)Who between Faf, Ontong and Ingram do you think will get the nod?
4)Would it be wise to play 3 seamers and Kallis in the sub-continent?

Ken answered:
Hi Tumelo
Nice questions!
I think Kallis is a definite, we saw his immense value in helping KKR to the IPL title. But I believe he must open the batting, probably with Levi. I also firmly believe AB, our best T20 batsman, must bat 3 and be fully utilised. Duminy then at four, I agree with you about Faf as a spin option as well, so I’d put him at five. Because AB will keep, we can have another specialist batsman as a floater – coming in anywhere between 3 & 6 – this could be Ingram or Ontong, Albie Morkel 7, Peterson/Botha 8, three pacemen – Steyn, M. Morkel, Tsotsobe (providing he bowls better than he did in Zim!). That leaves possible space in the squad for Amla as the reserve opener and one other fast bowler. Depending on just how spin-friendly the conditions are, we could play both Peterson & Botha, leaving out one paceman.

Wynand asked:
Do you think there is reason for worry regarding the depht of our squad after the recent tour of Zim?
Ken answered:
It did show that our depth is perhaps not as great as we think it is, but for me it was more apparent just how hard it is to make the step up from domestic to international cricket, especially when conditions are unfamiliar. The up-side is we now have far greater clarity in selection for the ICC World T20.

Dallas Nash asked:
Giving all those youngsters a chance was a nice gesture but so close to the England tour I really think the core squad members should have used the opportunity to get some match/team practice in. They really haven’t done much as a team all year and they’ll need to be on their toes. We want that No. 1 slot!
Ken answered:
I don’t think a T20 series on low, slow pitches would be any preparation at all for a test series in England! They’ll have a couple of warm-up games together in England, plus the core players who weren’t in Zim were working hard back in SA!

Jack asked:
England just played a series of ODIs and test matches vs West Indies and are now playing a 5 ODI series vs Australia. Is our only preparation for the test series going to be a T20 triangular vs Zim and Bangladesh? I”m hoping the players are going to get a lot of game time before the 19th.
Ken answered:
There will be two warm-up matches against Somerset & Kent, giving them 5 days of cricket before the 1st test … At least we’ll be focusing on test disciplines, why England will be involved in tough ODIs …

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