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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.

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.

Beleaguered SA batsmen determined to grasp initiative & back up bowlers 0

Posted on July 06, 2023 by Ken

The beleaguered Proteas batsmen are determined to grasp the initiative and back up their bowlers to stay alive in the series when the second Test against Australia starts at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day.

In a recurring theme for the current South African side, Australia could only score 218 and 35 for four in the first Test on the enigmatic Gabba pitch, but that was still enough to secure an easy victory as the Proteas could only muster 152 and 99 in their two innings.

Now, in the showpiece event of the Australian cricketing summer, with an expected crowd of 65 000 on the opening day, the Proteas batsmen are under the spotlight, their ability to stand up to one of the best attacks in cricket being questioned.

“We’re very excited, a Boxing Day Test at the MCG is what dreams are made of,” batting coach Justin Sammons said on Friday. “It’s a special challenge and we must just embrace it.

“Our bowling unit has been unbelievable in the World Test Championship and our batsmen really want to pull their weight and contribute. We’ve got to keep the belief and we do have it.

“We’re up against one of the best attacks in the game, so we’ve got to be strong in defence, get into good positions, and if there are opportunities to attack and score, then we’ve got to take them.

“We know we didn’t bat to our potential in Brisbane, but the guys are determined to get it right and I’m confident we will. We really need to be on our game,” Sammons said.

Although the MCG pitch is not as green as the Gabba monstrosity was, Sammons said it is softer and South Africa’s bowlers will surely be hoping it gets firmer in the couple of days remaining before the crucial Test begins.

But the attack could be reduced in terms of personnel as South Africa desperately try to bolster their batting, perhaps by including Theunis de Bruyn in a seven-strong batting line-up. “Theunis is looking really good in the nets, coming off a century at home just before the tour. He’s always up for a challenge and his biggest attribute is the positive energy he will bring,” Sammons said.

Whatever the starting XI that coach Malibongwe Maketa, captain Dean Elgar and convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang settle upon, the Proteas need to harden up mentally in order to push back the confident Aussies.

“The work we’re doing is mostly in the mental space. The players need to have clear game-plans, commit to them and be decisive. Obviously they are always touching up on a couple of technical issues too, so they can trust their games,” Sammons said.

“But we have played our best cricket when we have been behind and we’ll take confidence from that. Against India and New Zealand at the start of the year, we came back strongly.

“So we are not afraid, we are up for the challenge and we know we have done it before,” Sammons said.

Springboks bounce back from 1st-half frustrations 0

Posted on August 15, 2022 by Ken

First-half frustrations

The Springboks put on a wretched first-half display as they returned to playing in front of a capacity crowd at home. And they only grew more frustrated as the Wales pack, splendidly cohesive and determined, stymied their rolling mauls and stood up in the collisions. The home side barely fired a shot despite enjoying enough territory and possession. The maul – largely nullified by Wales – and speculative kicks seemed to be their only attacking weapons.

Elton Jantjies had a particularly poor time. His kicks out of hand were often miscued, including one penalty that went touch-in-goal. He also missed a couple of shots at goal and spilled the ball that led to Rees-Zammit’s second try.

Wales, on the other hand, were clinical in punishing whatever mistakes the Springboks made in their own half, with rampant wing Louis Rees-Zammit scoring twice.

Back from the dead, impetus from the bench

Trailing 3-18 at halftime and wondering where their next points would come from, the Springboks certainly came out with fire in their bellies, no doubt after a roasting from coach Jacques Nienaber.

Their maul was revitalised thanks to greater purpose, but especially because they introduced some variation with peels off the side to split the Welsh defence.

Willie le Roux had replaced Elton Jantjies from the start of the second half and brought some direction to the backline. But the real difference came up front where the bomb squad forwards came on and smashed. The lift in intensity was palpable and debutant Elrigh Louw made a storming run into the shadow of the poles to help set up Cheslin Kolbe’s crucial try.

Dependable Damian, desperate Dan

With Jantjies off, South Africa did not really have an ace goalkicker on the field for the second half, but Damian Willemse stepped up admirably. Solid in general play at fullback and then rotating well with Le Roux at flyhalf, as well as providing some slick attacking touches, Willemse kicked two conversions, including one from the touchline, which was crucial in a tight game.

Never mind his moment of glory, stepping up to take the angled penalty after the final hooter that won the game and spared the Springboks’ blushes after they conceded a maul try to a pack that had two forwards in the sin-bin.

This year has seen the talented Willemse blossom as a highly dependable performer.

Wales captain Dan Biggar, by comparison, had an evening that rivalled Jantjies’ for awfulness. He seemed to be having a running battle through the match with the Springboks and the referee, was yellow-carded in the second half, and then it was his deliberate knock-on which gave South Africa their matchwinning penalty.

Wiese: Prim and powerful

Eighthman Jasper Wiese was a deserved man of the match. One of the few Springboks to shine in their disjointed first half, he was a phenomenal ball-carrier, averaging four metres per carry, and made some crunching tackles. It was also most pleasing that all his ferocity did not come at the cost of his discipline. Wiese has conceded several penalties in the past, but on Saturday night he was prim and proper and kept his nose clean.

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.


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