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Ken Borland

Koekemoer determined but Lions strike telling blows late in the day 0

Posted on December 20, 2023 by Ken

Tian Koekemoer watchful in defence

A grimly determined Tian Koekemoer batted through most of the opening day of the CSA 4-Day Domestic Series match for the KZN Inland Tuskers against the Central Gauteng Lions at the Wanderers on Wednesday, before the home side landed some telling blows late in the day to be the happier of the two teams at stumps.

Having won the toss and elected to bat first, KZN Inland closed on 252 for six, but they were 208 for three going into the final hour.

But a fired up Duanne Olivier, operating with the second new ball, had Kagiso Rapulana (24) caught splicing a hook to square-leg, and in his next over, he had Koekemoer caught behind for 90.

You could tell the left-handed Koekemoer, who had produced more than six hours of defiance, was unsettled by the fast bowler switching from over the wicket to around and then back to over again in quick succession, and the 29-year-old just sparred at a delivery that was angled across him and was caught behind. It was a fine innings though by the former Eastern Province player, who faced 265 balls and hit 10 compact boundaries.

With Tshepo Moreki then having Thamsanqa Khumalo caught behind for a duck, the pressure was all on the Tuskers in the closing overs, but Cameron Shekleton (15*) and Malcolm Nofal (11*) collected a couple of boundaries each as they took the visitors to stumps without further loss.

Koekemoer honed his game as part of the highly successful Pretoria University side under Pierre de Bruyn, playing alongside Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, Lungi Ngidi and Theunis de Bruyn. He joined forces on Wednesday with a man from Kimberley who came through the Free State Schools system – Michael Erlank.

The St Andrew’s Bloemfontein product scored a century against North-West in nearby Potchefstroom previously this season, and Erlank looked bound for three figures again as he batted with great tenacity, but with lovely drives through the covers and shots off his legs too, to reach 79. So when he slapped a short-and-wide delivery from Malusi Siboto straight to backward point, he would have tore his hair out if he wasn’t wearing a helmet.

The Lions started well with the ball, reducing the Tuskers to 22 for two in the first hour of play.

Josh Richards should have had the acclamation of a large Wanderers crowd ringing in his ears when he dived full-length in the gully to snap up Yaseen Valli (1) off Olivier’s second over of the day.

Ben Compton (9) then misread the aerodynamics of Moreki’s second delivery of the match and was trapped lbw.

Moreki finished the day with two for 64 in 18 overs, but the pick of the Lions attack was Olivier, who ran in like the wind and claimed three for 39 in 19 tight overs that included seven maidens.

Warner bats with executive authority as he puts SA to the sword 0

Posted on August 03, 2023 by Ken

David Warner, celebrating his 100th Test, batted with executive authority as he put South Africa to the sword with an unbeaten double-century as Australia took complete control of the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday.

Warner, suffering from severe cramps, retired hurt immediately after he reached 200 with a steer wide of the slips for his 16th four to go with two sixes. He was spent physically in the sweltering Melbourne heat, but no doubt mentally as well after coming through a tumultuous period in which his Test future was in doubt.

There was no respite though for the South African bowlers, who toiled manfully without much luck in the morning session, but finally crumbled after tea as Australia added 155 runs in 28 overs in the final session to reach the close on 386 for three, already a lead of 197.

Steven Smith scored 85 but did not bat with his usual immaculate control, instead showing his powers of determination as he weathered some tough times, adding 239 for the third wicket with Warner.

The pair had accelerated after tea, lashing 83 runs in the 11 overs after the break, but Smith then steered the first ball after drinks straight to gully to give Anrich Nortje a well-deserved wicket.

But Travis Head showed he is well-equipped to also be one of the fast cars on the Australian race-track, cruising to a run-a-ball 48 not out by stumps.

About the only concern for the home side is that two of their bowlers may have broken fingers. All-rounder Cameron Green had to retire hurt on 6 after being a struck a fearful blow on the hand by Nortje, while Mitchell Starc dislocated a finger in the field on the first afternoon.

Nortje was a phenomenal mix of F1 car and tough bakkie on Tuesday, consistently sending down 150km/h thunderbolts and showing remarkable endurance to keep his speed up right until the end of a tough day, his figures of one for 50 in 16 overs not doing him justice.

He was the one bowler to really trouble Warner, finding his inside-edge several times. But South Africa’s only wicket in the crucial morning session came via a run out, Warner and Marnus Labuschagne (14) getting into a mishap over an overthrow. Nortje completed the run out of Labuschagne with good composure at the bowler’s end, Keshav Maharaj having provided the throw.

Left-armer Marco Jansen was also probing and he had Smith dropped on nine, gloving a hook down the leg-side, wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne spilling a tough, diving chance.

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.

Rossouw bats with power and precision, and Shamsi bounces back superbly 0

Posted on September 09, 2022 by Ken

Rilee Rossouw batted with power and precision and Tabraiz Shamsi bounced back superbly from his mauling in the first match as South Africa levelled the T20 series with an impressive 58-run win over England at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Thursday night.

Given how comprehensively they were outplayed in the first T20, the Proteas surprisingly fielded an unchanged XI and Rossouw, who scored just 4 in his comeback match, made the most of his second chance with a fiery 96 not out off 55 balls leading the tourists to a sizeable 207/3 after they had been sent in to bat.

Wrist-spinner Shamsi, who went for 49 runs in three overs in the Bristol battering, was the key bowler for South Africa, taking 3/27 in his four overs. That included the key wicket of Moeen Ali, who blasted England’s fastest ever T20 half-century in the first match and looked in similar touch in Cardiff as he blitzed 28 off 17 balls before Keshav Maharaj took a brilliant catch, running and diving at long-off.

It typified a vastly improved fielding effort by the Proteas as well, and when Sam Curran (2) fell to the same combination in the same over, England had slipped to 92/5 after 11 overs.

Earlier, Reeza Hendricks continued to fulfil the desire of the Proteas management for more aggression up front, stroking a fluent, impressive 53 off 32 balls up front.

He dovetailed brilliantly with Rossouw, the pair adding 73 in 7.4 overs for the second wicket.

The left-handed Rossouw showed his power game as he launched five sixes, but he also produced some superb touches that created some of his 10 fours.

Captain Jos Buttler gave England the rapid start they wanted with 29 off 14 balls, but Andile Phehlukwayo, another who rebounded extremely well with three wickets, had him caught off a leading edge.

Spinners Shamsi and Maharaj, with the important wicket of Dawid Malan (5) then did their job, and it was left to the outstanding Lungi Ngidi (2.4-0-11-2) to wrap up the game, England being bowled out for 149 inside 17 overs.

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