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Ken Borland



Buccaneering SA20 trio return to 4-day action for Lions 0

Posted on February 21, 2024 by Ken

Ryan Rickelton, Wiaan Mulder and Mitchell van Buuren will all return to four-day action for the DP World Lions on Wednesday, fresh from their buccaneering batting exploits in the SA20, but the Pride will also welcome back two vital backroom members of the triumphant Sunrisers Eastern Cape to the team for their meeting with the Gbets Rocks in Johannesburg.

DP World Lions head coach Russell Domingo played a key role, as batting coach, in the Sunrisers claiming back-to-back SA20 titles at the weekend, and now he is eager for our Pride to seal a place in the four-day final.

Also returning to the DP World Wanderers Stadium is national Test captain Temba Bavuma, who is over his injury problems and, even though he played just the one game for the Sunrisers, scoring 33, he had an important effect on the happy mood and outstanding culture of the champions’ camp.

Bavuma’s addition nicely makes up for the absence of our Lions’ leading run-scorer in the four-day competition this season, Zubayr Hamza, who is with the Proteas in New Zealand.

The Lions’ two strike bowlers, Tshepo Moreki and Duanne Olivier, are also involved in that Test series.

With Rickelton, Mulder and Van Buuren all consistently amongst the runs in the SA20, it is an in-form and confident home batting line-up that will take the field at the DP World Wanderers.

Rickelton was the leading run-scorer in the SA20 with 530 in just 10 innings for MI Cape Town, who were eliminated before the playoffs. The left-hander was at his best as he scored at a phenomenal strike-rate of 173.77.

Mulder was one of the main reasons the Durban Super Giants reached the final, his 297 runs putting him in the top-10. His tally included three half-centuries, while he scored at a blazing strike-rate of 157.14.

Van Buuren had a solid campaign with the Paarl Royals, making 221 runs at 31.57.

The DP World Lions go into the penultimate CSA 4-Day Series match in third place on the log, but they are just 0.12 points behind the second-placed Warriors and 11.48 points adrift of the leaders, the Titans. So a place in the final and even hosting that five-day match is well on the cards for our Pride.

“It was a great time with the Sunrisers and obviously wonderful to win the trophy again, but now my full attention is on the four-day prize,” Domingo said. “There are two big games ahead for the Lions and we’re obviously missing a few players in New Zealand.

“But it’s very lucky for us to have Temba back, he’s fit and ready to play again and very keen to score lots of runs. Wiaan Mulder is also back after he missed our last game. Both he and Ryan Rickelton had fantastic SA20 tournaments, Mitchell van Buuren did really well and Codi Yusuf bowled nicely too.

“Any cricket played ahead of the four-day restart is good and we’re lucky that we have a few players who have been involved in very intense cricket. They will certainly come in match-ready and I’m really pleased that the Lions guys mostly played very well in the SA20,” Domingo said.

Although the Boland team will be without key players in Shaun von Berg, Clyde Fortuin and Keegan Petersen, who are in New Zealand with the Proteas, most of the rest of their squad would have been able to plan with much forethought ahead of their trip to Johannesburg for the return of red-ball cricket. Fast bowler Hardus Viljoen is the only member of their squad who saw much SA20 action.

“The Malan brothers [Janneman and Pieter], Stiaan van Zyl and Hardus Viljoen – those are all players with international experience and we know the Rocks are a tough unit. They would have worked hard on their skills these last few weeks and they have a lot to play for too, it’s a big game for them as well,” Domingo said, referring to their log-position of sixth, which could leave them flirting with the relegation zone.

Paceman Lutho Sipamla, who has not played a four-day game for the Lions this season due to injury, has been named in the squad and seems almost ready to play, pending the outcome of nets and a fitness test on Tuesday.

DP World Lions squad – Dominic Hendricks (capt), Josh Richards, Temba Bavuma, Ryan Rickelton, Wiaan Mulder, Mitchell van Buuren, Wandile Makwetu, Bjorn Fortuin, Delano Potgieter, Malusi Siboto, Codi Yusuf, Muhammad Manack, Connor Esterhuizen, Lutho Sipamla.

Faf hopes JSK are over their batting woes after change in the order 0

Posted on February 07, 2024 by Ken

FOCUSED: Joburg Super Kings captain Faf du Plessis returned to form with a quickfire half-century, steering his team’s late charge into the SA20 playoffs at the Wanderers.
Photo: Ron Gaunt.

A change in their batting order has Joburg Super Kings captain Faf du Plessis hopeful that they are over their batting woes as they head into their do-or-die eliminator against the Paarl Royals at the Wanderers on Wednesday.

JSK just snuck into the playoffs courtesy of their rousing victory over then log-leaders Durban Super Giants at the Wanderers last weekend, successfully chasing down a daunting target of 204. Du Plessis himself was man of the match with his 57 off 29 balls, marking a return to form for the former Proteas captain who had averaged just 20.66 in the tournament up till then.

Leus du Plooy opened the batting with Du Plessis and also scored 57, with Wayne Madsen coming in at number three and scoring 44 not out off 29 balls as he partnered big-hitters Moeen Ali and Donovan Ferreira as they took the Super Kings to victory with a ball to spare.

“After we were bowled out for 78 by the Sunrisers here, I felt embarrassed for the sell-out crowd, you’re hurting as a player and as a team. You’re half-expecting them not to turn up for the next game because they think you’re down-and-out, but we are extremely grateful we have such great supporters and we’re really glad we turned things around,” Du Plessis said at the Wanderers on Tuesday.

“I’m really proud of the performance against DSG, we were under a lot of pressure and managed to chase more than 200 against the best team in the tournament so far. So we will take a lot of confidence from that because DSG are a remarkable side with such balance.

“Obviously you need your big players to perform in a competition like this to put you in contention and there’s no doubt me not scoring many runs before that had a huge impact on the confidence of the team.

“You hope a couple of batsmen will have a purple patch and carry the batting line-up, but we were a bit light in that respect. But once we found our rhythm, we had better starts and that flowed through the team. We made a change with Leus moving up front and tactically that was a good change.

“Reeza Hendricks is an unbelievable player, but with the ball gripping in the first six overs like it has here, having two right-handers open the batting made it an uphill battle. To have two different batsmen at the crease [right-hand & left-hand] is important, especially if there’s something in the conditions.

“Wayne Madsen has also been fantastic in the last couple of games. Last season the pitch spun quite a bit here and so we went for Wayne because he’s very experienced and plays spin really well, his game centres around sweeping and reverse-sweeping. He’s been brilliant for us and he’s also one of the reasons our batting is in a better place,” Du Plessis said.

For Paarl Royals captain David Miller, the major change they need is in how they finish innings with the ball, having lost their last four games on the trot.

“It’s not ideal losing the last four, but it would look different if we lost five matches scattered through the tournament and there’s no stress or panic in any way. I was really happy with the way we went about our game at St George’s Park, even though we lost.

“In previous games, the opposition has taken the match away from us in the last four/five overs. You think you’ve restricted them to a good score to chase, but then it becomes a massive total and, as a batsman, chasing 10 or 11 an over from the get-go, you’re under pressure.

“So we’ve been in the game until the 15th or 16th over, playing really good cricket, but we need to stick to our processes, that’s what we’ll look to correct. T20 cricket can switch quickly, we have worked really hard and we still finished third on the log. So we are really positive and we just need to find our mojo again,” Miller said.

Playing at home in the eliminator and also potentially Qualifier 2 should also pump up the tyres of the Joburg Super Kings, but Du Plessis admitted they have struggled to adapt to the vagaries of the Wanderers pitch.

“Being at home will make a difference, it can give you an extra 10%, although we have been a bit frustrated here because we have not been able to produce our best. We’ve been a bit unsure of what the pitch will do. Winning your matches at home means you will generally be near the top at the back end of the tournament.

“But the last game here had a really good cricket wicket and it did not make that much difference whether you batted or bowled first. In the first few matches here, the pitch was very dry in the first innings and that played a bit into the oppositions’ strengths.

“But against DSG it was about playing your best cricket and then the best team would end up on top. It was all about how well you do your skills,” Du Plessis said.

As Miller pointed out though, Paarl Royals have won both their matches on the Highveld this season. Lungi Ngidi took four wickets as they won a thriller against the Pretoria Capitals in Centurion, and then they took advantage of a messy display in the field by the Super Kings to chase down 169 at the Wanderers and beat them by five wickets with an over to spare.

But back-to-back defeats to both the Durban Super Giants and Sunrisers Eastern Cape has punctured the confidence of the Royals; just how deflated they are will be seen on Wednesday evening.

Proteas mend some of the holes in their leaky batting bucket 0

Posted on December 20, 2023 by Ken

The Proteas have managed to mend some of the holes in their leaky batting bucket and will go into the final session of the third Test against Australia with nine wickets in hand at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Sarel Erwee (44 balls) and Heinrich Klaasen (21 deliveries) are both on 18 not out at tea as they took Souithy Africa to 46-1 at tea. A minimum of 32 overs are scheduled to be bowled after the break, with the deficit still 174 runs.

Captain Dean Elgar was once again caught sparring down the leg side, off opposite number Pat Cummins, for 10, bringing an end to another struggle at the crease.

Earlier, South Africa had narrowly failed to avoid the follow-on as they were bowled out for 255, 21 short, at 2pm in Sydney.

That they came so close was largely thanks to Simon Harmer and Keshav Maharaj in the lower-order, who showed tremendous resistance as they added 85 for the eigjth wicket.

Their stout effort provided a glimpse of what was possible on a reasonably good pitch if the top-order played with application and positivity, trusting their own games.

Harmer was well-equipped for a long stay at the crease, deserving great praise for his defiant 47 in three-and-a-half hours, while Maharaj did his utmost to see South Africa past the follow-on score with his 53 off 81 balls. He got himself in first, and then backed his attacking game as he struck six fours and a six, pulling especially well.

Although they ultimately failed to get to 276 to avoid the follow-on, it was just as important that Harmer and Maharaj took time out of the game, leaving Australia with just a small window of opportunity to bowl the Proteas out in their second innings.

South Africa had begun the final day on 149/6 and Marco Jansen continued his tenacious stay at the crease, batting for more than an hour-and-a-half in scoring 11 off 78 balls before edging part-time off-spinner Travis Head to the wicketkeeper.

The impressive Josh Hazlewood eventually broke South Africa’s resistance in an impressive spell after lunch. Using a hint of reverse-swing, he trapped Maharaj lbw and then bowled Harmer off the inside-edge, to finish with four for 48 in 23 overs, a superb comeback from injury.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon then caught-and-bowled Kagiso Rabada (3) to end the innings.

You can tell Pink Day was a grave disappointment when … 2

Posted on December 17, 2023 by Ken

Arshdeep Singh was the destroyer of the Proteas batting at the Wanderers on Pink Day.

You can tell Pink Day was a grave disappointment at the Wanderers on Sunday when even India’s bowling hero, Arshdeep Singh, sounded a bit disappointed that no Proteas batsman could pose any serious challenge to him at a venue that used to be famous for spectacular batting exploits.

South Africa, choosing to bat first, were bundled out for just 116 in 27.3 overs, their lowest ever ODI total at home, with Arshdeep doing the bulk of the damage with career-best figures of five for 37 in his 10 overs.

The left-arm quick rocked the Proteas early with back-to-back wickets in his first over, the second of the innings, as he bowled Reeza Hendricks off the inside edge and then trapped Rassie van der Dussen lbw, both batsmen out for ducks on their home ground.

Tony de Zorzi led a slight shift in momentum as he scored 28 off 22 balls before being caught behind off Arshdeep in the eighth over, leaving the home side 42 for three. With Avesh Khan getting in on the action with brilliant figures of 8-3-27-4, South Africa then lost four wickets for 31 runs as they crashed to 73 for eight.

Avesh also took two wickets in two balls when he bowled Aiden Markram (12), also playing on, and then trapped Wiaan Mulder lbw, making it a team hat-trick as Arshdeep had bowled Heinrich Klaasen (6) at the end of the previous over with a lethal delivery that jagged back to hit the top of leg-stump.

That South Africa made it to 116 was thanks to Andile Phehlukwayo, whose defiant 33 came off 49 deliveries and included a couple of sweetly-struck sixes.

A used pitch – the same one that the Proteas batting crumbled on in the midweek T20 match – that offered considerable lateral movement, was not was expected on Pink Day, which is usually a pretty miserable day for bowlers.

Arshdeep sounded a little disappointed that the hype did not live up to expectation.

“I went to dinner last night with Axar Patel and Avesh and we were talking about how brutal the Proteas are on Pink Day, just hitting sixes all the time. We actually spoke about hopefully trying to restrict them to less than 400,” Arshdeep said after his man-of-the-match performance.

“But there was a bit of moisture in the pitch and it was also a bit up-and-down. The plan was really simple, to hit good areas and try and extract that movement, get nicks and lbws.”

There may be some questions over why groundsman Brendon Frost, who served for many years at Benoni’s Willowmoore Park, used a used pitch for the showpiece Pink Day occasion and also why it broke with tradition by being so bowler friendly. But according to the Central Gauteng Lions, the Proteas actually asked for the same pitch used for the T20 game.

But India’s brilliant bowling and South Africa’s meek failure to adapt meant their own attack barely had a chance to defend their meagre total. That became no chance when debutant Sai Sudharsan (55* off 43 balls) and Shreyas Iyer (52 off 45) added 88 for the second wicket.

The Proteas eventually bended the knee with 200 balls remaining in the match, surely their worst ever display on Pink Day and one that left a large but not capacity crowd mostly only halfway through the vats of booze they were hoping to consume.

South Africa batting coach JP Duminy did not exude any bitterness about the conditions and did not want to be drawn into a discussion of whether such pitches are good for ODI cricket, especially on important occasions like Pink Day. He said it was up to a batting line-up that, De Zorzi apart, has plenty of experience, to adapt better.

“In ODI cricket, you want a good competition between bat and ball. In the first phase of the game, the ball did a lot more than expected. We did expect it to do something, we make decisions based on previous information and we know at the Wanderers that if you get through the new ball then batting becomes easier,” Duminy said.

“Yes, conditions played a role today, but that can never be an excuse, we still have to find a way. Credit to the Indian bowlers, they bowled particularly well, but we need to understand the options that are there in those conditions.

“The batting has been pretty consistent for a period of time, but now we need to take accountability, our execution will always be judged and now is a time for reflection,” Duminy said.

With the match all over, done-and-dusted by 2.15pm, the Proteas certainly left themselves plenty of time for post-mortems.

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    John 15:16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

    Our Christian experience begins when the Holy Spirit starts working in our imperfect lives. An inexplicable restlessness and a feeling that nothing can give you the satisfaction you yearn for, could be the Spirit working in you.

    Even when God calls you and chooses you to serve him, there may be inner conflict and confusion because you are not always willing to do what God is asking of you.

    But this inner struggle is part of spiritual life … Commit yourself to God and open yourself to the inflowing of the Holy Spirit.

    It is by great grace that you were chosen by God to serve him and to live to the honour and glory of his name. Surrender unconditionally to the Lord and you will discover that your life gains new meaning and purpose.



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