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Proteas head to the World Cup with tails up, thanks to all-round Jansen show 0

Posted on September 17, 2023 by Ken

Marco Jansen took a career-best five for 39 with the ball, and also scored an explosive 47 with the bat.

The Proteas will head to the World Cup with their tails up after they completed a brilliant come-from-behind series win over Australia on Sunday, their 122-run victory in the fifth ODI at the Wanderers being their third on the trot.

Chasing 316 for victory, Australia had their customary fast start as they reached 124 for two in the 20th over, but they then faded away amidst the fall of regular wickets, one of the World Cup favourites slipping to 193 all out before another 15 overs were bowled, thereby surrendering a five-match series they led 2-0.

Marco Jansen was the destroyer-in-chief, revelling in the pace and bounce available at the Wanderers to claim a career-best five for 39 in eight overs. Twelve of those runs technically came off one delivery as he bowled successive no-balls and was hit for a four and a six by Mitchell Marsh. The Australian captain was the main threat in the chase, striking some mighty blows as he powered to 71 off 56 deliveries.

The beanpole left-hander took the first five wickets to fall and is only the second South African to achieve this feat in ODIs. The great all-rounder Shaun Pollock did it twice, also at the Wanderers, against England in 2000 and Pakistan in 2007*.

And then the classy left-arm spin of Keshav Maharaj was too much for the tail as he took four for 33 in 9.1 overs, also a career-best.

Jansen also answered one of the troubling questions surrounding this South African side: Do they have a proper all-rounder to fill the key number seven slot?

The 23-year-old showed his batting ability as he smacked an almost arrogant 47 off just 23 balls, also his highest score in ODIs. He came in with the innings at a crossroads on 212 for five in the 42nd over, Aiden Markram having just fallen for an elegant, high-quality 93 off just 87 balls.

It had been tough going up front for the home team after they were sent in to bat on a tacky pitch which allowed the ball to do a lot. They had been reduced to 103 for four in the 24th over, but the calm and experienced heads of Markram and David Miller (63 off 65 balls) put them back on an even keel and the Proteas then dominated the tailend of the innings.

Another all-rounder, Andile Phehlukwayo, also took the chance to shine although he is not in South Africa’s World Cup squad. At least not yet as injuries to Sisanda Magala and Anrich Nortje could see him get a late call-up. He was playing on Sunday due to Kagiso Rabada resting a sore ankle.

Phehlukwayo finished the innings in sensational fashion, blasting 39 not out off just 19 balls, with four sixes. The left-hander plundered 24 off the last over bowled by Michael Neser to lift the Proteas to an above-par score. They really should have been 292 all out but Australia messed up a golden opportunity to run out last man Lungi Ngidi at the bowler’s end as Phehlukwayo came back for two in the final over.

Coach Rob Walter was measured in his delight, refusing to entertain thoughts that Australia have been sent from these shores with their tails between their legs, but chuffed by how the Proteas bounced back from their five-match losing run including the T20s.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion either side of winning and losing, but it’s important to stay level and understand where we are as a team and what we are working towards.

“The best thing about the series win was that we won in different ways: In Potchefstroom we won through spin, at Centurion through pace and today was an all-round performance. We have progressed and improved in all departments and we’re closer to playing good cricket than we were when we started.

“I would be very careful though to read too much into beating Australia and what it means for the World Cup. Conditions might be very different in India, even though we have won with both pace and spin, and their team will change considerably.

“You’re going to have Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc coming at you and they’ll have a couple of other batsmen too. Plus Australia know how to play at a World Cup,” Walter said.

Before the series, South Africa faced questions over the number seven spot and a potentially long tail when they are batting. Jansen averaged 33.50 in the series and scored at a strike-rate of 125.23 – you can’t ask for much more in that position.

“Marco has such huge potential and we saw a bit of that today in the way he contributed with both bat and ball. But he has so much more in the tank, he’s not even close to his ceiling and I’ll be pushing him to achieve that.

“Andile is part of our broader squad and he showed with the bat how capable he is, that innings was highly influential in the match because chasing 270 is very different to 315. He played a massive role today and got an important wicket. It’s great to see him come in and contribute,” Walter said.

The man of the match plaudit, however, belonged to Jansen. The amiable Potchefstroom product confirmed that he just loves to bat; bowling is more like a job for him.

“My main focus is with the ball and taking wickets is expected of me, that’s my primary role. But I’m happier batting, I enjoy that a lot more, I like batting a lot, so I enjoy the hard work I’ve put into it,” Jansen smiled.

“I’ve improved my options a lot. When I started playing for the Proteas, certain shots were my go-to, like against a spinner I would slog-sweep over cow-corner. Now I feel I can play more off the back foot, I can manoeuvre in the crease. And I’m not just trying to plant my foot and hit every ball for six over cow, I can get the other batsman on strike, I can rotate.

“It’s a bit more responsibility as an all-rounder, but it’s important to go out and enjoy it. Luckily I really enjoy batting and just go out and try and express myself. Bowling feels more like my day job.”

Jansen took both his proper job and his ‘hobby’ to new levels on Sunday and he will go to the World Cup as one of several question marks that have been answered for the Proteas.

They will board a plane to India on Saturday, with both Nortje and Magala having to bowl in the nets in the coming days to prove they are pain-free and able to participate in the World Cup.

*Stats kindly supplied by CSA official statistician Andrew Samson.

Frustrations of rain put aside as Grace roars up the leaderboard 0

Posted on February 13, 2023 by Ken

The frustrations of Friday’s rain were put aside as the second round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge was completed by noon on Saturday, with South Africa’s Branden Grace roaring up the leaderboard and finishing just one shot off leaders Richard Bland and Luke Donald.

Grace fired a bogey-free five-under-par 67 to climb to seven-under-par, and with none of the first-round leaders able to make much headway in the overcast, damp conditions, the 2017 champion is right back in the mix.

New Zealander Ryan Fox followed up his 64 in the first round with a 74 on Saturday and is now on six-under, tied for fifth place with Rasmus Hojgaard (69).

European Ryder Cup captain Donald, who shot 65 on the first day, was one-over after the front nine, but he went to the top of the leaderboard with three birdies from the 10th to 14th holes. Unfortunately the Englishman three-putted the 18th for bogey to slip back into a share of the lead with countryman Bland, who was excellent on Saturday morning with four birdies and no dropped shots in his 68.

Italian Guido Migliozzi was in third place after his first-round 67, but he tumbled down the leaderboard in spectacular fashion as he dropped six shots on the par-four 17th. The 25-year-old’s drive found the bunker, he laid up but then duffed his wedge onto the rocky shore of the dam, below the stonewall of the green. Instead of taking a drop, he tried to chip it out from between the rocks, but failed to get on to the green, leaving the ball closer to the wall. He then elected to drop but hit the ball straight back into the trouble he had come from. Again he tried to hit it out, but needed two attempts to get on to the fringe of the green from where he two-putted.

Although the sextuple-bogey destroyed his round, Migliozzi is not entirely out of contention on one-under-par, seven shots behind midway through the tournament.

Grace often struggles on the front nine of the Gary Player Country Club and he was probably pleased to par his way through the first eight holes and then birdie the ninth. But the 34-year-old does love the back nine and he played some tremendous approach shots to collect four birdies on the first five holes after the turn.

Malaysia’s Gavin Green produced the most enchanting performance of the second round as he blazed his way to a seven-under-par 65, which lifted him alongside Grace in third place on seven-under. The 28-year-old’s only bogey came on the 18th when he three-putted, but before that he had six birdies and an eagle on the par-five 14th.

Nortje says his role is to provide energy for the Proteas team 0

Posted on October 10, 2022 by Ken

Fast bowler Anrich Nortje says his role is to provide energy for the team and his high-octane burst of three wickets in two overs certainly vitalised the Proteas on their way to their fabulous innings win over England at Lord’s, completed in just three days.

Given that Nortje was consistently around the 150km/h mark, and according to some analysts produced the fastest bowling seen in England for a decade, there must have been a temptation for him to launch a fearsome bouncer barrage on the batsmen. But where the home side erred in bowling too short to the lower-order, Nortje can credit a much fuller length for his success.

“I’m very happy with the way things happened, I didn’t come here expecting that,” Nortje said. “I was just really happy to be bowling with the red ball again, it was so nice, having seen a lot of the Test team on TV.

“We have an unbelievable attack, we all cover different aspects. So well done to all the bowlers, especially KG Rabada, who bowled unbelievably well and got himself on the honours board, so that must be a great feeling.

“My job is to just try and get some energy and momentum on our side when things are tough. It’s about the conditions on the day and what they allow. If things are more spicy, then I just try to hit a length.

“But generally I just try and bring some energy, generally later on in the innings. You need to get yourself up at the right stages and I just try to execute as much as possible,” Nortje said.

While Nortje said he would spend his two days off “doing a bit of exploring London”, he was also not worried about travelling a bit on the field either, given his role as a strike bowler. The 28-year-old’s three wickets on the final day came at a cost of 47 runs in just seven overs, and his 3/63 in the first innings came in 13 overs. So overall he conceded 110 runs in 20 overs, a rate of 5.5 runs-per-over, but the six wickets are what is important.

“I wasn’t happy at the start, so I tried to rev myself up, which took two or three overs. Fortunately I got a nick and then you just try and run with it,” Nortje said.

“Stuart Broad smashed a few around and sometimes the right ball still goes to the boundary, and then the captain is in your ear saying ‘it was a good ball, don’t worry, keep going.’

“You have to just think on the spot, read the situation. But Dean Elgar is quite straightforward, if you’re not bringing your A-game then he will tell you. We need that, he doesn’t beat around the bush.

“At stages he tells us it’s not good enough, but he obviously encourages us as well. He allows me to be myself and express myself, and I really enjoy having him as captain and his honesty,” Nortje said.

Venter completes inspired 3 rounds of golf with victory 0

Posted on October 07, 2022 by Ken

PRETORIA, Gauteng – Albert Venter completed an inspired three days of golf as he won the SunBet Challenge hosted by Time Square Casino at Wingate Park Country Club by six strokes on Friday.

Going into the final round with a five-stroke lead, the 26-year-old said his approach was to think he was actually tied for the lead, and that saw him get the job done on an even more blustery, and colder, day in Pretoria.

Venter offset two bogeys on each nine with five birdies, and always looked in complete control of affairs, especially after birdies at the second and third holes.

“Even with a five-shot cushion I knew I could take nothing for granted because there have been a lot of cases where someone has a big lead and they don’t get over the line,” Venter said.

“So my mindset was that I was tied for the lead and just needed to play as solidly as I could. Starting off the tournament with a 63 put me in a really good position, so the last two rounds were just about maintaining that and trying to increase my lead.

“But you never know what could happen at the next hole if you make a mistake, so it’s really important to have that cushion,” Venter said.

Venter’s one-under 71 on Friday lifted him to 13-under for the tournament, with Ruan Korb also shooting a 71 and finishing second on seven-under-par.

Estiaan Conradie was alone in third on six-under after a 73 on Friday, with Michael Palmer (-5) and Jean Hugo (-4) completing the top-five.

Venter has now claimed two titles on the Sunshine Tour this year following his triumph in the Zimbabwe Open in May, and he said from now through October, he will be honing his game in preparation for the co-sanctioned events in the summer.

“I just try to play as good as I can in every tournament, but my main focus at the moment is on peaking at the end of the year in those big events, the four co-sanctioned tournaments.

“Those are like the Sunshine Tour majors. Knowing that I’m playing well will give me a lot of confidence. All of this is prep work for the end of the year,” Venter said.

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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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