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Ken Borland

‘Pretty weak performance’ – Elgar’s prim & proper criticism of Proteas 0

Posted on August 31, 2023 by Ken

Proteas captain Dean Elgar admitted to having to bite his tongue at times after the second Test capitulation against Australia, as well as believing in positive affirmation for his team, but when he described their innings-and-182-run thrashing at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday as a “pretty weak performance”, it was prim and proper criticism.

South Africa struggled to 204 all out in 68.5 overs on Friday, Australia having piled up 575 for eight declared in response to the tourists’ inadequate 189 in the first innings, to lose the series 2-0, and their lack of fight with the bat was not befitting a team with their legacy in Australia, where they have won their last three Test rubbers.

“It was a pretty weak performance in conditions that were in favour of really good Test cricket,” Elgar said. “It’s pretty disappointing how we ended up when I wanted to see us really give the Aussies a fight, really value our wickets.

“We showed a lot more character with ball in hand, even though they batted us into the ground. There was not as much character in our batting and it is tough to digest.

“But we need to keep going, I still believe in positive affirmation for my team and the guys that are here are talented cricketers and hardened first-class players, just not at international level.

“You’ve got to believe that you are just one knock away from finding form and I keep reminding them that they are not crap cricketers. We’ll be playing for the badge and the pride of the team in the third Test,” Elgar said.

Temba Bavuma, who provided most of the resistance on Friday with a 201-minute innings of 65, told SuperSport after the game that the hunger David Warner had shown in scoring 200 before retiring with severe cramps was the sort of example the Proteas batsmen needed to follow.

“The batting is a worry, it was not good enough on probably one of the better pitches we’ve played on recently. Australia showed it, with Warner really making it count, but unfortunately we could not put anything of substance together,” Bavuma said.

“Australia have done things right, while we have not done it for long periods. Warner started with good intensity, he put the bowlers under pressure, scored at every opportunity and, most importantly, made it count to the point of almost putting himself in hospital. He showed what is required,” Bavuma said.

Sharks swop URC action for Champions Cup, with Powell relieved to get a result 0

Posted on April 06, 2023 by Ken

Director of rugby Neil Powell is not usually a results-focused coach, but as the Sharks swop URC action this week for the Champions Cup, he admitted some relief that his embattled team had beaten the Ospreys, however ugly the performance.

The Sharks beat a depleted Ospreys side 25-10 last weekend, but that winning margin was bumped up by them scoring 14 points in the last three minutes. For those expecting a magic wand to suddenly put everything right after the departure of former coach Sean Everitt, it was a reality check.

“For me, it’s never just about the result, it’s about the effort, how the players execute their individual roles and responsibilities. But maybe this one was just about the result,” Powell said after the error-filled win.

“It was a much-needed result and it gives us a bit of a breather. It was not an easy week and the game was also not easy, plus it was such a short week playing on Sunday and then Friday.

“We can definitely step up on our execution, we will look at the things that can be a lot better. It was a stop-start game, we made too many mistakes.

“But we had good dominance, especially in the scrums and in the collisions, where our defence was really good. It’s a pity to be so on top and not get more rewards,” Powell said.

The former Springbok Sevens coach put the high error-rate down to a lack of confidence, but he is hopeful that the way the Sharks dug their way out of a pit of trouble will banish some of the self-doubt ahead of their debut Champions Cup clash with top English side Harlequins at Kings Park on Saturday.

“The basic errors are maybe because the players are looking for confidence, confidence has a lot to do with it. Hopefully we can build on the bit of confidence and momentum we got in the last 10 minutes against Ospreys,” Powell said.

“You score one or two tries and you start to get that confidence back, and I think then you’ll be a lot more accurate. There were definitely encouraging things we can build on.

“We made a lot of changes to the team so we did not have the synergy we would have liked, but hopefully we can keep changes to a minimum now for the match against Harlequins.

“The Champions Cup is a difficult competition, almost between the level of the URC and Test rugby, and Quins are a good side playing a good brand of rugby. We definitely need to step up,” Powell said.

Rabada worn out at T20 World Cup, but looks forward to knocking over Aussie batsmen 0

Posted on March 14, 2023 by Ken

Kagiso Rabada has admitted to feeling worn out at the T20 World Cup, but the Proteas pace spearhead is excited about knocking over a few Australian batsmen in the Test series that is set to begin in Brisbane on December 17.

Rabada ended October by producing an intense, pressure-building bowling spell, as well as two superbly athletic outfield catches, in the impressive T20 World Cup win over India, but he was then flat and ineffective against Pakistan and the Netherlands as South Africa made a shock exit from the tournament at the group stage.

The 27-year-old said that is why he decided to rest rather than play any four-day domestic cricket ahead of the crunch series back in Australia.

“I felt like I needed to rest, it’s been a long year,” Rabada said on the morning of the Proteas’ departure for Australia. “It is a concern the amount of cricket we are playing and it needs to be managed.

“You can feel the fatigue in the intensity of your play, it’s just not where you want it to be. It catches up with you and at international level you really want to be playing at high intensity.

“I’m not trying to make excuses, I wasn’t up to scratch at the World Cup and I did have a disappointing tournament. I didn’t feel like I had great energy. I tried my best but it felt like the harder I tried, nothing really came out.

“But I am excited about playing some cricket now, playing against quality opposition like Australia always seems to bring the best out of me and I have good memories of playing there,” Rabada said.

In the three Tests in Australia in 2016, Rabada took 15 wickets at an average of 22.40 and his overall record against them is outstanding – 38 wickets in seven matches at 20.50.

Rabada has had some famously fiery exchanges with the Australian batsmen, and some of the language thrown around then probably belongs in the Adult Classifieds, but as befits the leader of the South African attack, he says he will never back down.

“We will be tested over there and against them it always seems like we are going up against some sort of feud, that is always extremely apparent,” Rabada said.

“It’s always a good contest and,  as much as nerves and passion are incredibly important, sometimes you must just let it happen. It always seems to be a challenge against Australia.

“But I won’t back down to the challenge, if they want to come hard then I will stand up to it. That’s what competition is,” Rabada said firmly.

Technique & mental strength meant to be safe ports in the storm, but weaknesses for Proteas 0

Posted on December 29, 2022 by Ken

Technique and mental strength are meant to be two safe ports in the storm for batsmen reaching the end of a testing tour of India, but Proteas coach Mark Boucher admitted on Tuesday that those were two areas of weakness as South Africa were bundled out for a miserable 99 all out and thrashed by seven wickets with 30.5 overs to spare in the decisive third ODI in Delhi.

On the eve of their departure for Australia and the T20 World Cup, it is perhaps not too surprising that the batting line-up was not fully focused on the task at hand on Tuesday, which was unsurprisingly fatal against an Indian team full of second-stringers desperate to get into the first-choice XI.

“Coming off a long tour of England and some guys were at the Caribbean Premier League as well, with that sort of schedule you can’t expect the players to be up for every single game,” Boucher said after the series loss.

“That’s when you rely on your technique and mentality to pull you through, but unfortunately we were a bit weak in both of those today. There were soft dismissals up front and technical faults.

“Keeping the players mentally and physically fresh is crucial, we need to get that mental side up, along with the technical. But tonight we did not rock up and India bowled very well.

“They showed good aggression and intent. We need to make sure the guys are really up for the World Cup games, that will bring the best results. We are really gearing ourselves up for that big competition. It will be okay,” Boucher said.

The coach acknowledged that the team were looking forward to playing in Australian conditions that are much more like their own.

“Conditions will be very different in Australia and I think they will suit our batsmen, but especially our fast bowlers more. You need to keep your aggression up over there, and we have good pace and bounce.

“Although I thought we did not show that enough in these ODIs, India showed far more aggression. But the way Anrich Nortje ran in tonight was a positive sign for me, especially going into conditions where he will be more effective,” Boucher said.

Heinrich Klaasen showed that he is your banker when it comes to playing spin, top-scoring for the Proteas with his 34.

Opener Janneman Malan made 15 off 27 balls, but that included three fours, which means he scored just three runs off his other 24 deliveries. That failure to rotate the strike puts your batting line-up under pressure.

But credit must go to the Indian bowlers, especially Mohammed Siraj, who removed both Malan and Reeza Hendricks (3), and the spinners as South Africa were 26/3 in the powerplay.

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.


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