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Ken Borland

Donald says weekend games are massive to make Wanderers a fortress 0

Posted on June 06, 2024 by Ken

A triumph on the road is always a boost, but what you gain from winning at home and making the DP World Wanderers Stadium a fortress for the #PrideOfJozi is probably even more important, given the length of the CSA T20 Challenge.

So says DP World Lions men’s bowling coach and South African cricket legend Allan Donald, whose own career was linked so massively with the Bullring.

The DP World Lions may have gone down by four wickets in the last over to the Dolphins at Kingsmead in midweek for the first loss of our campaign, but Donald preferred to give credit to the opposition rather than worry about a rare off night for the team in one of the most difficult places in the country for visiting teams.

As such, our Pride, and Donald especially, are really keyed up for two massive home games coming up this weekend, against the Momentum Multiply Titans on Friday evening and the in-form World Sports Betting Western Province team on Sunday afternoon.

“It looked a beautiful pitch in Durban, absolute gun for batting, but then it nipped a little and it was tough to hit down the ground. The Dolphins bowled exceptionally well to use that bit of nip, and for us to get to 155 I thought was really good,” Donald said.

“We took two early wickets but then Bryce Parsons played magnificently and he had really good support at the end, he took his chances against spin. And yet we still managed to take it to the last over against a side that knows how to play there, it’s a tough place, and all credit to them because they were zero-for-two in the competition.

“But this competition is a marathon and you need to be very patient. Now we have two derbies against the Titans and Western Province that are always very closely-contested, and I think they are going to be two absolute crackers based on the pitch we had against the Rocks.

“We’re coming up against two quality teams and home games are massive. I expect a run-fest and whoever defends best will win. It will be a battle of inches and the bravery and execution and skill of the players is going to be tested to the limit,” Donald said.

Rickelton took advantage of an excellent wicket in the DP World Lions’ opening match against Boland to blaze his way to 75 off 39 balls, and his clean striking will again be a key factor at the Wanderers on Friday and Sunday.

But it is a revitalised Temba Bavuma who is top of the national averages after his fluent 53 not out off 40 balls against the Dolphins kept the Pride in the game. Rassie van der Dussen and Reeza Hendricks have also made good runs in the T20 campaign already and Mitchell van Buuren showed his progression in the shortest format in the SA20.

“Temba batted exceptionally well on a slow pitch and Mitchell was batting beautifully too. Winning at home is a massive deal and I’m sure all those guys are going to step up,” Donald said.

With batsmen expected to hold sway, it is perhaps the wicket-taking ability of the attacks that will be vital in stemming the flow of runs. For the DP World Lions, there can be no-one better than the graceful Kagiso Rabada, with the action as smooth as silk but delivering lethal weapons, to lead their attack.

Left-arm quick Kwena Maphaka will be alongside him again and the 17-year-old has made an incredibly smooth transition to senior domestic cricket.

“It’s so nice to see the national team players like KG turning out for us, it really gives the team a boost and they bring a lot of calmness,” Donald said. “And the more I watch Kwena, the more I realise he is just something else. He’s only 17 years old but he’s not scared, he doesn’t take a backwards step.

“It’s going to be great to see how he does and it’s going to be a wonderful festival at the DP World Wanderers this weekend. It won’t be easy to defend, we’ll have to be extremely smart and decision-making is going to come to the fore. When things are really tight, which is likely against two very good teams, that’s when you need to be on the money,” Donald said.

Jake has a little grouse: SA Rugby should remove the cap 0

Posted on May 23, 2023 by Ken

Bulls director of rugby Jake White has always been an outspoken commentator on the affairs of the game and he had a little grouse this week at what he sees as an unfair advantage for the European teams he is now competing against in the Champions Cup.

If White were not such a shrewd practitioner of mind games, a master of motivating his players, often saying one thing in public and telling his team the opposite, his comments about South African teams not being able to win the Champions Cup could be seen as really defeatist talk.

White justified his decision to send his second-stringers to England to take on Premiership big guns Exeter Chiefs on Saturday by pointing out that next Friday night, they have a crucial United Rugby Championship match against the Stormers in Cape Town and the travel arrangements made it well-nigh impossible for him to field his best XV in both matches.

White said: “I would like to do well in both competitions, but I am a realist. To win the Champions Cup, on three consecutive weekends you have to beat teams like Toulouse, Leicester Tigers and La Rochelle.

“Do we have the squads in South Africa that can do that away from home, because of the participation agreement? If you believe we do then you are either disconnected from reality or you believe our teams are going to get very lucky.”

The well-travelled World Cup winning coach said the biggest cause of an uneven playing field is the massive financial resources available to the European clubs. According to White, the French and English clubs have budget of around R180 million to pay their players, while SA Rugby has put a cap on our teams’ spending, at only R70 million.

Okay we can accept that the European clubs will always be richer than our teams simply because of the effect our decidedly mediocre economy has on the exchange rate. But perhaps SA Rugby should lift their player cap restrictions, especially with equity partners now having come into the local game.

Apart from the lesser budget available to him, White has also been banging on for some time about the number of South Africans playing overseas, saying the Springboks should only choose locally-based players in order to stop this player drain.

But it was exactly that restriction that plunged Springbok rugby into mediocrity in the previous decade; why do you think one of the first things Rassie Erasmus did when he became national coach was to do away with the locally-based rule he had enforced on Allister Coetzee when acting as director of rugby.

And White also needs to be a realist in accepting that for many players, the massive salaries they can earn overseas are worth taking oneself out of national contention for.

But if SA Rugby decides salary caps are not the correct way to go, that would at least halt some of the player exits.

The good news is that some excellent players have already turned their backs on overseas deals – Eben Etzebeth is one of the biggest global stars, able to command practically any fee, and he is inspiring the Sharks, while Rohan Janse van Rensburg swopped the Sale Sharks for the Durban variety.

Marco van Staden was lured back from Leicester Tigers to play for the Bulls, while Johan Goosen, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Cyle Brink, Jacques du Plessis and Nizaam Carr are all the sort of quality players who really boost the strength of local rugby.

The Stormers have nabbed a player of similarly experienced ilk in Juan de Jongh and the Lions have brought back fellow Springboks Willem Alberts, Jaco Kriel and Ruan Dreyer.

Hot weather & the ball flying miles the norm, but Detry masters different conditions 0

Posted on February 13, 2023 by Ken

Hot weather and the ball flying for miles is always the norm at Sun City, but Belgium’s Thomas Detry managed to master the different conditions in this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge and soar into a share of the lead after the third round with back-to-back 67s on Saturday.

Heavy showers on Friday meant the second round could only be completed on Saturday morning, with the golfers then only having a half-hour break before heading out again for their third rounds. Although there was occasional drizzle on Saturday, mercifully there was no disruption to play with the rain not nearly as heavy as forecast.

Detry began his round on the 10th and immediately gathered back-to-back birdies and then another shot on the par-five 14th. His next birdie came via a lengthy, curling putt on the par-three fourth, and he then finished his round in superb style with three successive birdies from the seventh to the ninth holes. The 29-year-old dropped two shots, on the 17th and sixth holes, both par-fours.

His tremendous finish lifted him to nine-under-par for the tournament, the mark Rasmus Hojgaard got to on a sensational run that saw him eagle the famous ninth hole and pick up birdies on the par-five 10th and par-three 12th holes. The exciting Dane then parred his way home to shoot another 69, just as he did in the first two rounds.

Detry is a leading player on both the DP World and U.S. PGA Tours, and so he has had to learn to be adaptable, especially when it comes to the considerable travel demands and the different courses and conditions he has to handle. It is no surprise then that an unusual day at the Gary Player Country Club did not catch him offguard.

“With all the rain, the course is playing longer. We’re used to hitting Driver 330 metres and seven-iron over 220, but with the colder weather, we’re now hitting five or six iron and I think that surprised some of the players a little,” Detry said.

“It’s also wetter so the rough can be a bit harder to get out of, so it is easy to drop shots here and there. It’s usually hot, so the course is playing much longer than we’re used to.

“The travel between tours is tough, but I really wanted to make these last two events on the DP World Tour, so I flew from Mexico on Sunday night and only arrived here on Tuesday night.

“I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather, so to be able to rest most of Friday was massive for me to play 27 holes today so consistently. Getting a lot of rest and eating a lot of food out there gave me energy,” Detry said.

South Africans Branden Grace and Thriston Lawrence are both just one shot off the pace heading into the final round. Lawrence had the lowest score of the third round with a brilliant seven-under 65 and, starting his round on the 10th, he had three successive birdies from the 13th and then another two back-to-back on 18 and the first hole. The 2021 Joburg Open champion completed a bogey-free front nine with two more birdies on the sixth and ninth holes.

Grace lifted himself into contention with a brilliant 67 on Saturday morning, and then struck the ball beautifully again in the third round, but a cold putter meant he had to settle for a one-under 71. But he is in hot form and has the confidence of his 2017 Nedbank Golf Challenge triumph to bolster him.

Always a few things to pick at ‘after a performance like that’ 0

Posted on February 06, 2023 by Ken

As a scarred and wounded Temba Bavuma said after the Proteas’ shock loss to the Netherlands saw them exit the T20 World Cup on Sunday, there will always be a few things to pick at “after a performance like that”.

The problems started for a surprisingly flat Proteas side, considering the semi-finals beckoned, with their bowling. The 10.30am start and early moisture in the pitch prompted them to bowl first, even though the last nine matches at the Adelaide Oval had been won by the side batting first.

The South African attack is always so highly-rated, but on this occasion they let down their captain’s decision at the toss by bringing little energy or smarts to their bowling. They failed to adapt to Stephan Myburgh’s onslaught up front or to the true nature of the pitch, which was slowing up and required pace to be taken off and plenty of variations to be used. How the Netherlands later bowled was exactly the template.

A switched-on Lungi Ngidi would normally have prospered, but he went for 35 runs in three overs; Kagiso Rabada travelled for 37 runs in his three overs.

Rabada is South Africa’s premier fast bowler and a team always needs their spearhead to shine in world cups. But sadly Rabada was the Proteas’ most expensive bowler in the tournament, conceding 9.43 runs-per-over and only taking two wickets for 151 runs. Those are not the returns expected from such a great paceman.

On a pitch on which strokeplay was always going to become more difficult as the ball became softer, a fast start to the chase is always going to be vital, but Quinton de Kock and Bavuma could only score at a run-a-ball as they limped to 39/2 in the powerplay.

Bavuma will surely now be jettisoned from the T20 side unless the selectors continue to be blind to what is now openly being called “the elephant in the room”, but the Proteas also need more consistency from De Kock, especially when it comes to the crunch games where he needs to be stepping up as a senior batsman.

Slow pitches with a bit of turn will continue to be the achilles heel of the Proteas batting unless their minds, game-plans and skillsets are sharper to the importance of being able to rotate the strike in-between the boundaries.

CSA will reportedly be splitting the Proteas coaching job into red-ball and white-ball roles, so these are the problems that will be inherited by whoever succeeds Mark Boucher on a permanent basis.

South Africa’s next limited-overs action will only be at the end of January, in an ODI series against England, which will be crucial to their hopes of qualifying automatically for next year’s 50-over World Cup.

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    Mark 7:8 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

    Surrender yourself unconditionally to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then you will be able to identify what is of man with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will be able to serve – in love! – according to God’s will.

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