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Ken Borland

Markram admits Proteas missed out on extra 15-20 runs 0

Posted on December 23, 2022 by Ken

As well as he batted, Aiden Markram has admitted that the Proteas missed out on an extra 15-20 runs they should have scored as they went down to India by seven wickets in the second ODI at the weekend, and executing their skills in the crucial moments will be their focus going into the decisive third match in Delhi on Tuesday.

Markram scored 79 off 89 balls, an innings filled with plenty of great strokes, but he was just beginning to really dominate after a tough start when he got out, lashing a short delivery from off-spinner Washington Sundar to extra cover. What made his dismissal even worse was that it came just two balls after Heinrich Klaasen got out for a brisk 30 off 26 deliveries.

Markram had set up the innings superbly with Reeza Hendricks (74 off 76) in a run-a-ball third-wicket stand of 129, and he and Klaasen then added 46 off 40 balls to leave the Proteas poised for a score of over 300 as they reached 215 for three in the 38th over.

They subsided to 278 for seven, which India chased down with 25 balls to spare and Markram put his hand up for what happened.

“The pitch was drier than in Lucknow and we thought we had a decent score, even if it was 15-20 runs less than ideal,” Markram said.

“It would have been nice to bat through the last 10 overs and cash in, that’s where the runs left out there are on me. Whenever two wickets fall bang-bang, then the fielding team gets all the momentum back.

“When I got out, maybe that’s where we left the 15-20 runs short. I haven’t played in Delhi before, but lots of the team have, so we’ll have knowledge of the conditions. We will just try and execute our skills on the day, ultimately that’s what matters,” Markram said.

India’s successful chase was also built around a third-wicket stand, although Ishan Kishan (93 off 84) and Shreyas Iyer (113* off 111) took theirs to 161. Although he has been out-of-form lately, South Africa possibly missed the ability of wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi to take wickets in the middle overs. Both he and captain Temba Bavuma missed the second ODI due to illness.

“They were very good, they played excellent knocks and deserve a lot of credit for such a big partnership that killed the game,” Markram said.

“The ball was quite wet, we definitely saw the impact of the dew. I don’t think we bowled badly, they hit some good balls for boundaries and then it becomes tough to slow them down.”

Markram said he was greatly helped by having Hendricks in such good form at the other end, and hopefully the prolific 33-year-old keeps his place for Tuesday’s decider.

“Batting first, the ball did not skid on so much and India bowled into the pitch and the ball just died. David Miller struggling to hit the ball shows you how tough conditions were and how well India bowled.

“I found it tough, it was frustrating. But lots of credit must go to Reeza, he kept the runs flowing at the other end and so the partnership was still doing well,” Markram said.

Lack of resilience & poor batting on 1st day why Proteas lost – Elgar 0

Posted on October 14, 2022 by Ken

Proteas captain Dean Elgar knows as well as anyone that batting first at Old Trafford was not going to be easy, but he expected the batting line-up to show more resilience, saying the poor performance with the bat on the first day was why South Africa lost the second Test against England by an innings and 85 runs on Saturday.

Having selected two frontline spinners in their XI, it was almost inevitable that the Proteas would bat first after they won the toss to allow Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer to bowl on a deteriorating pitch in the fourth innings. But that plan was torn to shreds when South Africa were bundled out for 151 shortly after tea on the first day.

“Obviously the lack of first-innings runs was where the game was lost,” opening batsman Elgar said after the Manchester thumping that sends the series into a decider at The Oval from September 8. “That’s when you stabilise your game and scoring 300+ gives you the best chance of competing. We got half of that.

“We did not bat well. Sure, the ball moved around, but this is Test cricket and you must deal with it. Losing two wickets just before lunch was crucial. If we had been 80/3 then we would have been in a good position.

“But we were five down and then we were always playing catch-up. The pitch deteriorated like we thought it would and there was plenty in it for both seamers and spinners.

“It’s all been a bit of a blur since Day 1, it all happened so quickly after that. England’s batting let them down in the first innings at Lord’s and it happened in this Test as well. You set yourself up nicely if you score runs in the first innings,” Elgar said.

Before what should be an exciting finalé to the tour back in London, Elgar said it was important the Proteas don’t panic despite the horrible loss in the second Test.

“Sometimes you can go into panic mode after a defeat like that, but myself and the coach definitely won’t be doing that. We know we’re not suddenly a bad side.

“I know have a couple of days to process everything, but I won’t change my approach because to do that now would be letting myself down. And I think the players enjoy my honesty.

“Sometimes time away from the game is good, we will do things as a squad though, touch base again, get connected again. We need to pull ourselves towards ourselves and let the dust settle.

“It’s an adult environment and I won’t treat the players like schoolchildren because I know I would not have liked that as a young player. But there are a few tough decisions coming our way,” Elgar said.

Harmer’s performance loans credibility to his long-term Proteas future 0

Posted on April 29, 2022 by Ken

Simon Harmer’s four wickets, as well as his valuable runs, on the second day of the first Test against Bangladesh at Kingsmead on Friday certainly loans credibility to his long-term future with the Proteas side, but it also answered a few of his own questions about whether he was still good enough for international cricket.

After six-and-a-half years and a record 55 Tests missed between appearances for the Proteas, Harmer took all four Bangladesh wickets to fall, for just 42 runs in 20 overs, as the tourists closed on 98/4 in reply to South Africa’s tidy first-innings total of 367.

That the Proteas reached that score after they had been reduced to 298/8 was thanks to Harmer’s determined 38 not out, as he shared important late partnerships with Lizaad Williams and Duanne Olivier.

“Bowling puts bread on my table, but I have worked hard on my batting this season because it hasn’t really gone to plan at domestic level,” Harmer said after play on Friday.

“Taking wickets is my currency though, winning games and trophies, and I have a feeling of vindication today. Although I’ve done it for Essex and now for the Titans, you do still ask yourself ‘Am I good enough for international cricket?’

“To take four wickets certainly answers a few of my own questions and it was a very good day, which I could not really have scripted better. For us to be in this position going into Day 3 is very good.

“We expected the pitch to turn a bit more actually, but we were able to bide our time. We had to bowl double-spin because it was too dark for pace, and Keshav Maharaj and I found some turn with the older ball as the pitch began to wear more,” Harmer said.

Harmer and Maharaj, who was wicketless but bowled well, sent down 39 of the 49 overs Bangladesh have faced. With the Proteas expecting the pitch to turn more and more, they are likely to play the key roles in the South African attack.

Harmer said his time at Essex – he has taken 491 first-class wickets between his last two Test appearances – has given him the confidence that his off-spin can be matchwinning fare.

“Essex gave me the platform to find myself again. I had been dropped by the Proteas and SA A, and I did not know if I would get a franchise contract. So I had a lot of self-doubt.

“But I rediscovered what made me successful, how to be a matchwinner and be more comfortable with that role.

“I now know that I can do it as an orthodox spinner, I have that level of confidence,” Harmer said.

Current international cricket season could be ripped apart again 0

Posted on January 04, 2022 by Ken

Last summer it was England and Australia controversially pulling out of tours to South Africa due to their Covid fears and now the current international season could be ripped apart as well as the Netherlands tour and the vital Indian visit are hanging in the balance following reports that local scientists had detected a new variant of the virus in Gauteng and neighbouring countries.

The UK government started the panic when they put South Africa on the travel red list overnight, with the European Union expected to follow suit soon. This is despite scientists assuring that the new variant almost certainly does not come from South Africa, they have just been the first to identify it.

More than half-a-dozen of the Netherlands players are based in the UK, meaning they will have problems returning home after their three-match ODI series against the Proteas ends on Wednesday.

CSA issued a statement on Friday afternoon, while the Netherlands innings in the first ODI had been interrupted by rain at Centurion, saying it was highly unlikely that the tourists will be able to leave before the end of the weekend.

Given that they would have to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel if they do not return home as soon as possible, it is understandable that the Dutch team wanted to head off on Friday. But they will now probably only be able to leave on December 2, due to the lack of flights available in the hysteria. It is believed their federation is willing to cover the costs of quarantine.

That means the third ODI, scheduled for December 1, could still go ahead and the series can be completed, unless some other flight option is discovered by the KNCB.

While CSA and the Proteas will be disappointed to not complete the series, they – and especially their meagre coffers – would be devastated if the India tour set to start on December 17 does not go ahead.

India are set to fly to South Africa on December 8, but reports from India suggest the BCCI is waiting for their government to make a decision regarding travel to South Africa.

India A are currently in Bloemfontein playing the first of a three-match series of four-day games and CSA sources have told Saturday Citizen they have expressed no concern about staying in the country.

At the Joburg Open golf tournament at Randpark, co-sanctioned with the DP World Tour (formerly known as the European Tour), thunderstorms caused delays on Friday, but 20 European-based golfers, out of the field of 156, withdrew before the second round began, trying to scramble their way home before the travel deadline.

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