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Ken Borland

Powerhouse Lions field top-class outfit for T20 opener 0

Posted on May 10, 2024 by Ken

A “powerhouse” DP World Lions men’s team are determined to claim a second trophy this season as they start their CSA T20 Challenge campaign against the GBets Rocks in Johannesburg on Friday night, and they will be fielding a top-class outfit.

The #PrideOfJozi boast a couple of players named in the Betway SA20 Team of the Tournament in Ryan Rickelton and Wiaan Mulder, there is a thrilling prospect of Kagiso Rabada and his protégé Kwena Maphaka sharing the new ball, and a wonderful batting line-up with other Proteas stars in Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma.

Apart from Rickelton and Mulder blazing a trail in the SA20, the DP World Lions are guided by a coach in Russell Domingo who has played a key role in the Sunrisers Eastern Cape winning back-to-back titles as their batting coach. The experienced Domingo will know exactly how to play winning T20 cricket in South Africa.

Rickelton, who was the leading run-scorer in the SA20 with 530 runs at an average of 58.89 and a strike-rate of 173.77, is setting a confident tone right up front.

“We will have a full squad, barring KG when he goes to the IPL, so we have a powerhouse team, obviously we’re going to put our names up for the overall win. We would be upset if we don’t get that far and we’re really looking forward to it after winning the four-day title, which was a big incentive for us because we haven’t won that in a while,” Rickelton said.

“While the tournament was obviously a major let-down for us at MI Cape Town, I have clarity about my batting. Coach Robbie [Peterson] was quite decisive about what he wanted us to do and we really strived to win the powerplay. So I had to execute my role as well as I can with Rassie, because of the power we had to come behind.

“The opportunity was there to really take the game on there up front, to really maximise the powerplay. I had the freedom to fail and I just tried to keep it simple, while training specifics. Now I want to make sure I make an impact for the Lions, that is hugely important for me,” Rickelton said.

All-rounder Mulder earned a spot in the SA20 Team of the Tournament mostly for his batting, where he averaged a healthy 37.13 and scored at a dynamic 157.14, continuing what has been a top-class summer with the bat. Mulder shone as a finisher, but also as a safeguard who could come in during the powerplay and lay a platform for the spectacular hitting of Heinrich Klaasen.

Mulder said he went into the competition with confidence, thanks to, again, the freedom given him by the DP World Lions coaches, and a clear job description from Durban Super Giants coach Lance Klusener.

“Russell Domingo and Hashim Amla have been incredible for my game, they have really motivated me and allowed me to just go and play, to break the shackles. Because of them I took a lot of confidence into the SA20.

“I discovered a couple of new things about my game during the tournament. I worked really hard on playing spin and finishing, which is a part of the game Mark Boucher told me he didn’t think I had when he was Proteas coach. I spent quite a lot of time working with Heinrich and Dwaine Pretorius, but I’m never going to be that type of batter, having a perfect swing and getting carried away hitting sixes.

“But I can hit space and I can score different sorts of boundaries, I can still score 50 off 25 balls. Lance backs me quite a lot, my technique gave me the opportunity to bat in the top five and my role was to face quite a lot of balls and protect Heinrich. You can get some real jaffas in the powerplay, but you can play with a lot of freedom afterwards,” Mulder said.

With the players that the Lions have, playing at a fast-action venue like the DP World Wanderers Stadium, and with so many of them knowing exactly what to do to win T20 games, there is no reason why our Pride should not back themselves to bring home another trophy.

Titans & Lions like bumper cars crashing into each other in crazy derby, before hosts scrape through 0

Posted on April 19, 2024 by Ken

Corbin Bosch hits out in a matchwinning hand for the Northerns Titans. Photo: Lee Warren.

Like bumper cars spinning and bashing into each other, the Northerns Titans and the Central Gauteng Lions went head-to-head in a crazy Jukskei Derby at SuperSport Park on Friday night, their thrilling CSA T20 Challenge clash ending in a last-ball victory for the home side.

Chasing a moderate 155 for victory, the Titans looked well on course when they reached 105 for four after 14 overs. But the leg-spin of Nqaba Peter and the hit-the-deck seam of Evan Jones saw them each take a pair of late wickets for the Lions to set up a nailbiting conclusion, especially with so much riding on the game.

If the Lions had won, they would have been guaranteed a home semi-final and probably a home final as well because, with the Warriors being shocked by the North-West Dragons in Potchefstroom, victory for them would have given them a five-point lead at the top of the standings with just Sunday’s round to play.

For the Titans, the win keeps them in fourth place, but now just three points ahead of Western Province, who beat the Boland Rocks by a bonus point in Paarl. So Sunday’s match between great rivals Northerns and WP at Newlands is to decide the last semi-final place. The Dolphins beat the Tuskers with a bonus point in the battle of the KwaZulu-Natal sides in Durban and can still finish in the top two if they beat the Warriors on Sunday.

Corbin Bosch was the hero for the Titans on Friday night, walloping 19 not out off 14 balls to see them home by two wickets; Reeza Hendricks was the villain for the Lions as he missed a routine stop at long-off in the penultimate over, conceding a boundary when it should only have been a single. The normally reliable boundary fielder seemed to want to let the ball bounce one more time and to his horror it squirmed between his legs and over the line.

That left Northerns with 10 runs to get off the final over, bowled by Codi Yusuf (4-0-25-1). A meaty pull for four by Bosch broke the back of the task, but they still needed a single off the last ball to win. Yusuf did his job by beating Bosch outside off-stump, but he and Lungi Ngidi managed to run a bye as both wicketkeeper Ryan Rickelton and the bowler missed their throws at the stumps.

Wiaan Mulder had earlier had some car-crash moments of his own in the field, as he dropped a tough chance from opener Lhuan-dre Pretorius in the first over, and then conceded a boundary when the ball went through his legs.

But he came back excellently with the ball, conceding just 24 runs in his four overs and getting the wicket of Pretorius for a run-a-ball 29.

The Lions fielding also went through a magnificent patch when the in-form Rivaldo Moonsamy (24 off 15) was run out by a direct hit from point by Temba Bavuma, and Jack Lees (5) was run out by Jones. The visitors probably should have had a third run out when Jones scored another direct hit early in Neil Brand’s innings, but the TV umpire ruled not out even though replays suggested the Titans captain had his bat on the line but not over it.

Brand scored 29 off 27 balls, adding 34 for the fifth wicket with Dayyaan Galiem (26 off 12) to steer the game the Titans’ way. But then they were derailed by Peter (4-0-29-2) crashing through the attacking strokes of Galiem and David Wiese, bowling both of them in the 15th over.

Jones eventually had Brand caught at deep extra cover and then Junior Dala (8) at deep backward square-leg in the 18th over, but Bosch sent the ball whizzing off his bat and to the boundary three times in the closing overs to win the race to the line.

Earlier, the Central Gauteng side had been sent in to bat and found it difficult to accelerate as they posted 154 for eight, which seemed no more than par. Wiese once again shone with the ball with one for 22 in his four overs, while Galiem was also brilliant with one for 20 in four.

Hendricks and Bavuma (21 off 13) added 46 off 32 deliveries for the third wicket, and Hendricks went on to score a pugnacious 44 off 33 balls with four fours and a six. There were also useful contributions from Mulder (25 off 22) and Delano Potgieter (21 off 15). But, having added 29 off 20 balls, Potgieter was run out when Mulder called him through for a bye and the 18-year-old wicketkeepr Pretorius threw down the stumps at the bowler’s end.

Potgieter had already hit a couple of sixes and who knows how many more runs he would have added. The Lions tried to run a bye and it proved a costly mistake; the Titans did the same off the last ball of the match and it worked.

And that’s how narrow the margins were in this dramatic derby clash.

Ability of the Titans to keep their wits is something national team should borrow 0

Posted on February 06, 2023 by Ken

The ability of the Northerns Titans to keep their wits about them under pressure is something the national team should maybe try and borrow from them as Mandla Mashimbyi’s side claimed the CSA T20 Challenge title at the weekend with a thrilling victory over the KZN Dolphins in Potchefstroom.

Having restricted KZN to 162/3 after they were 110/1 after 15 overs, the Titans chased their target down with two balls to spare and four wickets in hand, despite slipping to 99/5 after 14 overs. It meant Northerns won a staggering eight of their nine matches in Potchefstroom, with Dayyaan Galiem (32* off 22) and Donavon Ferreira (40 off 25) the heroes in the final as they added 63 off 37 balls for the sixth wicket.

“It was a tough campaign but I think that prepared us for those tight moments in the final,” coach Mashimbyi told The Citizen on Sunday. “We had two low-scoring chases before, the one we came close, the other we nearly stuffed up.

“But there were learnings from that, it gave us an emphasis and a structure of how to chase. If it hadn’t happened, we might have made the same mistakes as in last season’s final.

“The players were able to identify the big moments and the areas they had to look after. The bowling unit was a big highlight for me, that’s what wins you tournaments.

“With the batting, partnerships are the only thing that get you over the line and we had two guys who were able to connect and find a way. It was nice to see us control our emotions,” Mashimbyi said.

The 2021/22 CSA Coach of the Season has high hopes for the 25-year-old Galiem and believes he will become the same sort of expert finisher for the Titans as Farhaan Behardien was, as well as pushing for higher honours.

“Dayyaan has been the big positive for me this tournament, just how he went about his business,” Mashimbyi said. “He was really focused over the winter and worked hard on his finishing skills and power-hitting.

“He’s shown 100% buy-in for what we want to do and I think he can finish for us like how Fudgie used to. Dayyaan Is certainly an up-and-coming star for the Titans and our national teams.

“And he can bowl as well, so he’s a huge talent. That 19th over he bowled that cost just one run and he got Jon-Jon Smuts out brought us back into the game.

“If he keeps on playing like this then I won’t be surprised if he gets a call-up,” Mashimbyi said.

Powerful bowling attacks of Northerns & KZN should decide destination of trophy 0

Posted on January 30, 2023 by Ken

The Northerns Titans and the KZN Dolphins, the two teams that will contest the CSA T20 Challenge final in Potchefstroom on Saturday afternoon, both have powerful bowling attacks that should decide the destination of the trophy, or will another inspirational innings by Dewald Brevis prove the difference?

It seems that the final will be played on the same strip on which Brevis plundered 162 off 57 balls against the Free State Knights and a world record 501 runs were scored in the match. But the pressures of a final and the fact that the two best bowling attacks of the competition will be on show, suggests the ball will continue to hold sway as it has for most of the tournament.

“Both teams have really good bowling attacks and I think whoever bowls best will win the final,” Northerns coach Mandla Mashimbyi told Saturday Citizen on Friday.

“Our four spinners have really put the opposition under pressure. We have experienced campaigners in Aaron Phangiso and Simon Harmer, Neil Brand has been really good and Dewald has done well with his leggies too.

“Our bowlers have put in quality performances game in, game out, and that’s why we’ve been winning,” Mashimbyi said.

The Dolphins also have quality spinners in Prenelan Subrayen and Jon-Jon Smuts, and potent pacemen in Ottneil Baartman, Eathan Bosch and fast man Daryn Dupavillon.

“Our bowling attack has really stood up, as it has done in this competition in the last three seasons,” KZN assistant coach Quinton Friend said.

“We try to simplify things and we’ve put a big emphasis on death bowling, which has been going very well. We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing with the ball.

“The confidence in our bowling unit is high, the low totals against us speaks to the quality of the guys and the way they’ve stuck to the plans put in place.

“We’ve often had to defend low scores, which adds a lot of pressure, but the guys have stepped up. Our bowling is probably our strength,” Friend said.

The Titans have an average score of 170/6 in the tournament, but if one removes their extraordinary 271/3 against Free State, then their average drops to 155/7. The Dolphins are averaging 160/5.

Northerns won six of their seven round-robin games and KZN lost twice. But the Dolphins are too dangerous to be called underdogs and Mashimbyi is mindful of how the Titans slipped up in last season’s final, having also won six out of seven to top the log, but then losing by 15 runs to the Boland Rocks.

“We have learned from last season that we have to play certain big moments a little better. Hopefuly it all clicks for us in this final,” Mashimbyi said.

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