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Ken Borland



It all came down to 2 record stands at SuperSport Park as Paarl pip the Capitals 0

Posted on January 14, 2024 by Ken

Mitchell van Buuren (left) and David Miller of Paarl Royals celebrate another milestone.
Photo by Sportzpics

In the final analysis it all came down to two record partnerships in the SA20 match between the Pretoria Capitals and the Paarl Royals at SuperSport Park on Sunday night: the one unbeaten and the other crucially ended with the loss of both set batsmen in the space of three deliveries.

After the seasoned David Miller (75 not out off 42 balls) and the highly-talented Mitchell van Buuren (72 not out off 40 balls) had added an unbeaten 141 for the fourth wicket to steer Paarl Royals to a strong 210 for three after they had been sent in to bat, Will Jacks (58 off 34) and Rilee Rossouw (82 off 45) put on 147 for the third wicket for Pretoria to put them well on target in the run-chase.

But Rossouw then top-edged a slog-sweep at Lungi Ngidi and Jason Roy took one of those brilliant boundary catches when the fielder tosses the ball back infield, steps over the boundary and then comes back to complete the catch. The left-handed Rossouw had moved beautifully through the gears, collecting 10 fours and four sixes with great skill and timing, as he came to the crease after the Capitals had made a terrible start, losing two wickets in the opening over.

The first ball of the next over saw Jacks bowled by left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin, the delivery being too full to be played off the back foot. Englishman Jacks had struck six fours and three sixes and had done a great job up front in ensuring Pretoria did not stagnate after Ngidi had removed Phil Salt (0) and Theunis de Bruyn (4) in the opening over.

With the two set batsmen out, the Capitals needed 58 off 35 balls to win and coach Graham Ford admitted afterwards that he was still hopeful they would have enough batting left to see them home.

Captain Jimmy Neesham scored a promising 20 off 9 balls but once Fabian Allen held on to a steepling catch running in from cow-corner to dismiss him off Andile Phehlukwayo, the other batsmen were all at sea on a pitch which did see the odd delivery ‘stick’ in the surface.

In the end, Paarl Royals won by 10 runs, Obed McCoy showing great guts and composure as he conceded just three runs in the final over, despite suffering from severe cramps that saw him hobbling about after every delivery.

In conditions that were still good for batting, coach Ford also admitted that the home side would have settled for a target of just below 200. But Miller and Van Buuren put them to the sword at the death, plundering 51 runs off the last three overs.

“The odd one did stick a bit, but if you’re going to mix up your pace then you still have to get your length right,” Ford said. “I think everybody in the changeroom would say that we could have limited them to 15 or so runs less.

“It was a fairly high-scoring game, another great T20 pitch here, but we probably could have controlled things a bit better at the end, when you trust the bowlers to back their best disciplines.

“Then again, if Rilee had batted for another three overs then we probably would have won. I can’t say enough of how well he and Will played and we saw how tough it was for the lower-order. But I was hopeful that we would have had some extra batting to see us over the line,” Ford said.

Miller and Van Buuren came together after Paarl Royals had lost two wickets in three overs to slip to 69 for three, and they were quick to settle at the crease, needing just 31 balls to raise their 50 partnership. Their next fifty runs together came in 30 deliveries, and in the end their partnership of 141 came off just 72 balls, with 13 fours and six sixes.

Jacks and Rossouw sent 16 balls to the boundary and seven over it as their stand of 147 came off 82 deliveries.

Both partnerships were the best ever for their respective wickets in SA20 history. The previous third-wicket record was held by Jacks and De Bruyn, who put on 111 against the Sunrisers Eastern Cape at Centurion last season; the previous fourth-wicket record was 75 shared by Matthew Breetzke and Heinrich Klaasen of Durban Super Giants, and Aiden Markram and Tristan Stubbs of the Sunrisers.

It was not a particularly good day to be a bowler, but leg-spinner Adil Rashid was the pick of the Capitals attack with one for 31 in his four overs, while new-ball bowlers Ngidi (4-0-39-4) and McCoy (4-0-30-1) led the way for Paarl Royals, who now go to second place on the log after their back-to-back wins over last season’s losing finalists.

Kolisi ditching his 5yr Sharks contract is all kosher – Eduard 0

Posted on October 13, 2023 by Ken

Current captain Siya Kolisi will be leaving the Sharks at the end of the season, even though he signed a five-year contract renewal last May, to join Racing 92 in France, and it’s all kosher according to the local franchise’s CEO Eduard Coetzee.

Kolisi’s three-year deal with Racing, a Parisian club, was announced on Tuesday and, while it will no doubt shock Sharks fans and cause consternation in terms of those wondering what happens to the Springbok captaincy after the World Cup, Coetzee said he was leaving Kings Park early with their full blessing.

“Siya’s move to France is a new and exciting opportunity and we could not be happier for him. We are blessed to have him don the black-and-white jersey and we know that over the next few months, he will continue to give back to the team and our fans,” Coetzee said in a Sharks statement, which also said the move was “part of a broader long-term collaboration between the Sharks and Racing 92, with the two clubs having come to an amicable agreement, while they also look forward to continuing to build a mutually-beneficial relationship in the future.”

Kolisi expressed his gratitude to the Sharks for their willingness to part with their most iconic player.

“It has been an incredible collaborative effort between the Sharks and Racing 92 that has enabled me to start a new chapter in my career after the 2023 World Cup.

“I want to give a massive thanks to the Sharks for welcoming me with open arms in 2021, and for making me feel so at home in Durban, while their support over the last couple of years has been hugely influential during a key period in my career.

“I am immensely appreciative that the Sharks have given me their blessing to make this move, and it goes without saying that I will continue to give my all for the team over the next few months,” Kolisi said.

“The signing of Siya Kolisi reinforces the ambitions of Racing 92 and will offer our supporters a high-level of performance,” said Jack Lorenzetti, the owner of Racing.

“His winning ambition and natural leadership makes him a great player, but he’s also a deep humanist. He will bring additional positive energy to Racing 92.”

The 31-year-old’s departure to France, for what is probably hundreds of thousands of euro a year, certainly spices up the debate about how the Springboks should approach the post-2023 World Cup era.

Kolisi will only be 32 at the end of this year’s World Cup, and 36 at the 2027 event in Australia, which he will presumably still be available for given that his Sharks contract was going to run until then.

Whoever is in charge of the Springboks at the end of this year may want to keep Kolisi as captain, perhaps with a handover period to his successor.

Springbok quartet no longer waiting in the aisles as Powell brings them all back 0

Posted on September 14, 2023 by Ken

Springboks Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi, Eben Etzebeth and Siya Kolisi were waiting in the aisles last weekend, but Sharks director of rugby Neil Powell has brought them all back into the starting XV for Saturday’s United Rugby Championship match against the Bulls at Kings Park as he dares not allow any complacency to creep into his high-flying side.

The Sharks have won four games on the trot across the two European competitions and they face a fired up Bulls side that are coming off a fiercely-contested loss to the Stormers last weekend. Inconsistency has bedevilled the Sharks in the past, and Powell is eager to ensure there is no slip in intensity on Saturday.

“It’s always good to be able to select your best players against the Bulls, who are coming to our house and always bring a big physical challenge, but on Saturday they will bring a bit more because of that loss,” Powell said on Friday.

“They saved their players from the Champions Cup to target these games, so last weekend’s loss will definitely hurt and they will bring a lot of effort and physicality to get at least one win from these games.

“We’re obviously aware of it, and it’s a really good opportunity for us to still build momentum and cohesion. We would like to be more clinical and we know a quality team like the Bulls only gives you so many opportunities.

“It’s mid-season and we feel like we’re moving in the right direction. There’s still a lot we can do better and we want to build on last week’s performance against the Lions.

“We want to take the opportunities that weren’t taken and if we can play with that flow then that will be great. But there’s an awareness of complacency and we can’t let successive wins breed that.

“We can’t just rock up and think things will happen. We need to really get stuck in and make sure we do our various roles,” Powell said.

Nche, Mbonambi and Thomas du Toit combine as an all-Springbok front row, while Kolisi will be joined in the loose trio by Henco Venter and Sikhumbuzo Notshe.

Grant Williams will continue as the starting scrumhalf, with Curwin Bosch going well at flyhalf.

“It’s good to see Curwin slowly but surely getting back to his best form. Credit to the coaches because in pre-season he was in really good form but then unfortunately got injured.

“But the coaches have all been very positive about him. There’s still room for improvement and we will keep chipping away,” Powell said.

Sharks Boeta Chamberlain, Marnus Potgieter, Lukhanyo Am, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch, Grant Williams, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Henco Venter, Siya Kolisi (c), Gerbrandt Grobler, Eben Etzebeth, Thomas du Toit, Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche. Bench: Kerron van Vuuren, Dian Bleuler, Carlu Sadie, Hyron Andrews, Phepsi Buthelezi, Jaden Hendrikse, Lionel Cronje, Yaw Penxe.

Structure in place for ICC to rate Gabba pitch, but Elgar makes sure his feelings are known 0

Posted on June 05, 2023 by Ken

The ICC do have a structure in place whereby the match referee rates the pitch for all international games, but Proteas captain Dean Elgar made sure his feelings were known about the Gabba snakepit as he said after South Africa’s six-wicket defeat in the first Test against Australia in Brisbane that it was not suitable for Test cricket.

Former West Indies captain Richie Richardson, the match referee on duty for the series, can rate the Gabba pitch as being ‘poor’ or ‘unfit’, which would lead to the International Cricket Council (ICC) requesting an explanation from Cricket Australia and possibly taking further action.

The general consensus on Sunday was that the grassy Brisbane pitch was very poor, with excessive sideways movement and inconsistent bounce, much of it steep from a good length. The Test was the second shortest since the Second World War and only the second two-day Test in Australia ever.

“For me, that’s not what Test cricket should look like. I would ask ‘Was it a good advert for the format?’ To have 34 wickets in two days means it was pretty one-sided towards the bowlers,” Elgar said after Australia had struggled to 35 for four to win, having bundled the Proteas out for just 99 earlier in the day.

“I’m a purist of this format and you want to see it go four or five days. But it was not a good Test pitch, there was some seriously steep bounce even with the old ball.

“When KG Rabada got Travis Head caught down the leg-side and Anrich Nortje was sending short ones over everyone’s heads, I asked the umpire when do they consider it dangerous? I didn’t get a reply, maybe they thought I was taking the mickey.

“The divots had a big role to play in the sideways movement, the up-and-down bounce, much of it steep. It was interesting to see how quickly the wicket started divoting,” Elgar said.

While the terrible pitch has taken some of the attention away from another poor batting performance by the Proteas, that is sure to come back under the microscope as the crucial second Test starting in Melbourne on Boxing Day gets closer. As captain of the good ship Proteas, Elgar needs to be shouting “Ahoy! There are rocky times ahead!”

But he, perhaps cleverly, pointed to the pitch as being the root of their problems.

“We need to be honest and realistic about what happened, we were absolutely jaffered out and they bowled properly,” Elgar said. “We were confident coming in to the game, we had practised bloody well. “We will now have some extra days to tap into our mental spaces. The biggest danger is to withdraw and not deal with what happened.

“I don’t see how hitting more balls is going to make us become better cricketers, we all know our games pretty well. It was just one of those games where we failed.

“Personally, I’m still confident going into the next Test, and you still want to give your batsmen confidence and positivity,” Elgar said.

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