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Ken Borland

JSK overwhelm Paarl, need 1 more win to book place in SA20 final 0

Posted on February 08, 2024 by Ken

Sam Cook of Joburg Super Kings celebrates one of his four wickets at the Wanderers during his record spell for an SA20 debutant.
Photo: Shaun Roy (Sportzpics)

The Joburg Super Kings just need to win one more game to book their place in the SA20 final after they threw everything at the deflated Paarl Royals and hammered them by nine wickets with 40 balls to spare in their Eliminator at the Wanderers on Wednesday evening.

Having just scraped into the playoffs with victory in their last round-robin game, the Super Kings will now face the Durban Super Giants in Qualifier 2 at the Wanderers on Thursday, the winner going on to play defending champions Sunrisers Eastern Cape in the final at Newlands on Saturday.

Before their almost complete victory over the Royals, Joburg’s best showing in the tournament had been in the previous game when they registered a rousing win in the final over against the selfsame Super Giants last weekend.

Wednesday was a night when just about everything went according to plan for the Super Kings, starting with winning the toss and sending Paarl in to bat first, which has generally been tougher this season at the Wanderers.

And then Sam Cook, making his SA20 debut because strike bowler Lizaad Williams picked up an injury, struck twice in his second over, removing Paarl’s two leading run-scorers going into the game, Jos Buttler (10) and Mitchell van Buuren (0).

Van Buuren’s dismissal was courtesy of a sensational catch by Imran Tahir, who showed that age is just a number by racing back from short fine-leg and diving to take a catch over his shoulder. At 44 years old, Tahir has been “poor in the field” this season, JSK coach Stephen Fleming admitted, but he took a second fantastic catch when he intercepted Dane Vilas’s sweep that was looking like being a low, flat six, at fine leg off Nandre Burger.

Burger also dismissed Jason Roy (24) and Wihan Lubbe (4), finally getting the wickets his excellent bowling this season has deserved.

While fast bowlers Cook, whose four for 24 in 3.5 overs were the best ever figures by an SA20 debutant, and Burger (4-0-26-3) shared most of the wickets, spinners Moeen Ali (4-0-26-1) and Tahir (4-0-33-2) were able to tie the batsmen down and strike, while seamer Dayyaan Galiem bowled two tidy overs for 11 runs.

From 43 for four, Vilas (21) and David Miller were able to double the total with their stand of 44 off 34 deliveries, and the Royals were relying on captain Miller for a big finish to give them a competitive score. But Miller was caught behind off a Tahir googly at the end of the 17th over with the total on 126.

Eventually Paarl finished on 138, bowled out in 19 overs, setting them on track for their fifth successive defeat.

Joburg Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming.
Photo: Shaun Roy (Sportzpics)

“We weren’t 100% with the ball, but we were on the right areas for long enough and we had a bit of luck,” a smiling Fleming said after the triumph. “It’s a very fine line, on certain days you can do everything right but it just doesn’t work.

“The word momentum is over-used, sometimes it’s just slightly different training or words beforehand that can turn things around, and we were nicely in the moment this evening.

“Imran has been poor in the field for us this season, and then he takes a couple of catches like that! That’s when you know it’s your day,” Fleming said.

Faced with a potentially tricky target if they lost early wickets, the Super Kings were on fire from the start of their chase.

In the briefing before their innings, the importance of a good start would have been emphasised, and once Leus du Plooy had lashed 68 off 43 balls, JSK were always going to make short work of the chase.

Du Plooy’s innings, laced with seven fours and two sixes, was a fine example of dominant strokeplay and clever shot options.

With Faf du Plessis giving perfect, sensible support at the other end, they raised their century partnership for the first wicket in the 10th over, Du Plooy falling soon after, stumped off Tabraiz Shamsi.

But by then Du Plessis was giving the Royals bowlers a battering as well, and he finished with 55 not out off 34 deliveries.

When your best performance of the season comes at the start of the knockout rounds, your coach is going to be well-pleased, and Fleming was certainly chuffed.

“That was right up there as one of our most complete performances, and also with the status of the game. It’s a great time to have the sort of performance we aim for.

“The start of the chase was so good, it just killed the game, we polished off that target. It was a really good win,” Fleming said.

What has to go right for South Africa to beat England? 0

Posted on December 31, 2021 by Ken

South Africa are looking to beat England for the first time in six outings in Sharjah on Saturday for a possible semi-final place in the T20 World Cup. A lot has to go right for the Proteas to upset the form book and win against the undisputed tournament favourites.

Ken Borland highlights four occurrences that will probably need to happen for Temba Bavuma’s spirited team to prevail.

  1. Quinton de Kock to fire at the top of the order – It’s been a rough tournament for the wicketkeeper/batsman. His bizarre dismissal against Australia was followed by his equally baffling decision not to take a knee and rather withdraw from the match against the West Indies. He has not passed 50 in any T20 match in eight innings, but he looks in form. De Kock is due and he is undoubtedly a potential matchwinner for South Africa.
  2. Heavy dew after winning the toss & bowling first – Sharjah is known for its dew and it would be a marvellous early Christmas present for Bavuma if he could win the toss and elect to bat second. No-one would suggest England’s impressive attack are ill-equipped to handle a damp ball, but if South Africa can set themselves up to chase 140-150, and De Kock gets going, it would give the Proteas serious hope.
  3. A pitch that is really tough for batting – England like to play aggressive T20 cricket, setting matches up with their dashing batsmen going hard from the outset. But if the pitch is a bit of a snakepit, say like the one the Dutch were bowled out for 44 on less than a month ago at Sharjah, then it could take them out of their comfort zone. They adapted brilliantly against Sri Lanka at the start of the week, but what if the pitch is even tougher and Jos Buttler fails? South Africa have the spinners to hound them in the middle overs.
  4. Fired up new-ball bursts by Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje – Rabada was superb in the win over Bangladesh and Nortje is enjoying a magnificent World Cup. But if something can get them really cross before the England innings and they come out really firing, England could lose a couple of wickets in the powerplay to their sheer pace.

Proteas need to take a leaf out of Montagu’s book 0

Posted on February 08, 2021 by Ken

Montagu Toller is not a well-known cricketer with great exploits immediately springing to mind except for those with the most intricate knowledge of the sport, but it looks like the Proteas will need to take a leaf out of his book after the first day of the second Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi on Thursday.

Toller is an Olympic Games hero, taking seven for nine as Great Britain bowled France out for 26 to win the 1900 Olympic final by 158 runs. It was the only time cricket has featured at the Olympics. But the relevant item of trivia from paceman Toller’s tale is that all seven of those wickets were out bowled. In other words, he must have really targeted the stumps and it looks as if that is going to be the best line of attack for the Proteas as well.

That’s because Pakistan won the toss and reached 145 for three on the first day, which saw the final session of play washed out. After early moisture gave the South African bowlers some assistance, the pitch dried out and developed into a real beauty for batting as Babar Azam (77*) and Fawad Alam (42*) shared a really fruitful partnership.

Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada and Wiaan Mulder, the all-rounder who has specifically been chosen for his line-and-length abilities, have all bowled well, but with precious little movement on offer in the afternoon and the ball seldom bouncing more than hip-high, bowled and lbw seem the most likely ways for them to get wickets. So straight lines are going to be essential.

Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj is probably the greatest threat to the Pakistan batsmen and his variations of flight and pace have certainly tested Babar and Fawad. One sensed Babar was just itching to hit him into the spacious gardens of the Nawaz Sharif Park across the road from the stadium, but the closest he came was a lovely straight drive for a one-bounce four as Maharaj showed all his craft, cunning and accuracy.

It was a testing day for Maharaj as well as his first delivery turned sharply, finding the edge of Imran Butt’s bat only for Temba Bavuma to drop the straightforward catch at slip.

But the Dolphins star removed both Butt and Azhar Ali for a duck soon afterwards, the opener being smartly caught behind by Quinton de Kock as the ball turned again and Azhar being trapped lbw by a delivery that went straight on with the arm.

Back-up spinner George Linde left the field after bowling just 2.5 overs as a fierce drive by Babar lacerated the pinkie finger of his left-hand, leaving Maharaj, who turns 31 on Sunday, to toil for 25 overs on Thursday as the turn on offer diminished.

“Getting through the early session is crucial for batsmen here and Babar and Fawad absorbed the pressure nicely and then after lunch it was easier to bat. With the newish ball and the moisture in the morning, the ball tended to stick in the pitch a bit more. But as the moisture seeped away, the turn became substantially less.

“The wicket is pretty hard and the moisture from the rain and tomorrow [Friday] morning might bind it together more, especially if the heavy roller is used between innings. We’ll have a better idea of how the pitch will play at the end of the second day, but everyone has been a bit confused,” Maharaj said after the early close of play on Thursday.

SA bowl in all the wrong places as Smith scores great series-winning ton 0

Posted on December 23, 2014 by Ken

Steven Smith produced a great century as South Africa bowled in all the wrong areas at the death, leading Australia to a three-wicket victory with an over to spare to clinch the series in the fourth one-day international at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

Chasing 268, some bizarre field placings and the poor execution of the South African bowlers saw Australia plunder 86 runs in the last 10 overs, Smith and Matthew Wade having lifted them from 98 for five midway through their chase with a stand of 121 in 20 overs.

Smith eventually fell with the scores tied after scoring 104 off 112 balls – an innings of great composure and skill. James Faulkner came in after Wade’s dismissal and took advantage of South Africa feeding his strengths as he belted 34 not out off 19 balls.

Smith and Wade brought Australia back into contention after Dale Steyn took two wickets in two overs to put South Africa in control.

But Smith produced a fine innings and Wade played an invaluable hand of 52 off 59 deliveries.

Wayne Parnell eventually removed Wade thanks to a great catch by Ryan McLaren running in from deep backward square-leg, but Australia went into the last five overs needing just 40 runs with the big-hitting Faulkner joining Smith at the crease.

Spearhead Steyn was brought back into the attack in the 21st over after Smith and George Bailey had added 30 for the fourth wicket and he struck in his second over as captain Bailey edged a slash outside the off stump to be caught behind for 16.

That brought the dangerous Glenn Maxwell in, but he could only score two before his flatfooted drive at an away-swinger in Steyn’s next over saw him caught at slip by Hashim Amla. Credit to captain AB de Villiers for having the slip in.

Smith and Bailey made bright starts to their innings after pace bowlers McLaren and Parnell took a wicket apiece to reduce Australia to 48 for three in the 14th over.

South Africa’s back-up seamers were under pressure as Australia reached 39 for one after 10 overs, but both settled after wayward starts.

Shane Watson will be furious with himself as he once again made a start, getting to 19 off 25 balls, before he reached out to try and drive a wide, full away-swinger from McLaren and edged a catch to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.

Opener Aaron Finch was looking dangerous on 22 when he pulled Parnell straight to Faf du Plessis at deep square-leg.

Opening bowlers Kyle Abbott and Steyn were spot on from the outset to have the Australian openers under pressure, with Abbott making the breakthrough in the fourth over when he trapped David Warner lbw for four, the left-hander being hit on the back pad as he was late on a delivery that straightened back into him.

South Africa’s batsmen fell away in the later overs as they faded to 267 for eight after winning the toss and electing to bat first in the day/night game.

AB de Villiers once again dazzled and David Miller can book his ticket to the World Cup, but the rest of the South African batting once again disappointed.

The Proteas are fortunate that they can call on De Villiers, already established as one of the all-time greats, as he was once again the mainstay of the innings, scoring 91 off 88 balls in another great display of skill and exquisite placement of the ball.

Miller was the one batsman to provide sturdy support to De Villiers, playing a fine knock of 45 off 61 balls as they set up the innings with a fourth-wicket stand of 122 in 20 overs.

But unlike South Africa, whose problems extend from the batting relying too heavily on De Villiers to dodgy death bowling, Australia can rely on their bowlers in the last 10 overs to really turn the screw. Once they removed Miller, caught in the covers in an attempt to hit over the top in the powerplay, they restricted the Proteas to a meagre 51 runs in the last 10 overs, while claiming four more wickets.

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc was outstanding with his mix of yorkers and slower balls as he finished with one for 40 in 10 overs – figures that don’t do justice to his performance. Fellow paceman Pat Cummins also bowled better than his figures of two for 61, being a threat throughout, while James Faulkner was also brilliant at the death with his back-of-the-hand deliveries, finishing with two for 45.

South Africa will be concerned that Quinton de Kock continues to struggle at the top of the order, scratching his way to 17 off 38 balls before popping a lame return catch to off-spinner Glenn Maxwell, who had had him dropped at slip in his first over.

Fellow opener Hashim Amla was looking good, however, as he cruised to 18 off 20 balls. He had identified the balls to go after well, collecting three fours, and was quite within his rights to pull the shortish delivery Nathan Coulter-Nile bowled to him in the sixth over, but unfortunately he hit it straight to midwicket, where Cummins hung on to a sharp, dipping catch.

Faf du Plessis also looked in good touch as he scored 28 off 37 balls as South Africa reached 70 for one in the 16th over. But Cummins, returning after Du Plessis had hit him for two fours in his previous over in the first powerplay, got some extra bounce outside off stump and found the edge of an attempted steer, the ball nestling safely in wicketkeeper Matthew Wade’s gloves.

De Kock had fallen in the previous over and South Africa were in some strife on 79 for three.

But De Villiers once again showed that he is in a different league, improvising brilliantly, while still playing off the basis of a sound technique, and hardly ever seeming to take a risk. He only collected six boundaries, but scored at better than a run-a-ball on a slowish pitch without breaking a sweat.

With the bowlers at their mercy – Australia’s attack were also one short when Coulter-Nile limped off with a hamstring strain – both found ways to get out. Miller was trying to hit over the top in the powerplay, but could only skew Faulkner high into the covers, while De Villiers charged down the pitch to Cummins and was reaching for a slower-ball bouncer, a tennis-like shot going to deep midwicket.

After that, the remaining batsmen could not find ways to dominate the impressive Australian attack, with Farhaan Behardien managing just 22 off 23 balls.


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