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Ken Borland

The facts behind the Paarl Royals’ win at the Wanderers … and a pitch that has gone the same way as the fax machine 0

Posted on January 25, 2024 by Ken

Wihan Lubbe of Paarl Royals during his beautifully-controlled half-century.
Photo: Arjun Singh (Sportzpics)

The facts of the SA20 game at the Wanderers on Wednesday night will show that the Paarl Royals beat the Joburg Super Kings by five wickets with six balls to spare, but one could just as easily use the number of extras conceded to indicate the difference between the two teams.

The Royals, in a bowling display full of discipline, backed by tidy fielding, conceded just four extras; the Super Kings donated 18 extras, including nine byes, five wides and a couple of no-balls. And there were a couple of dropped catches and several misfields and overthrows.

Joburg Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming was unsurprisingly a frustrated man after their fourth loss in six matches. Not just with his team’s sloppiness in the field but also with a Wanderers pitch whose character the home team is really battling to understand from match-to-match.

The days of a Wanderers pitch that was a batting belter week-after-week seem as far gone now as the fax machine.

“A couple of weeks ago the ball was really flying through and then tonight it was a low and turning pitch. So it’s difficult to understand, we don’t know what to expect and we’re struggling to adapt to it.

“But we were also a long way off where we need to be in the field, we were sloppy. We were a bit unlucky with the ball because a number of deliveries went just past the bat, but we could have saved 20-30 runs in the field and that was the difference.

“They needed 105 off the last 10 overs and we are disappointed we did not put them way. Instead we gave runs away and we did not get enough wickets,” Fleming said.

Having been sent in to bat, the Joburg Super Kings soon discovered that the pitch was really tough to handle against the hard new ball. There was seam movement for the pacemen and grip and turn for the slow bowlers. The top-order had to hunker down in their bunkers.

The Super Kings scored just 37 in the powerplay, only getting there thanks to Leus du Plooy hitting Lungi Ngidi for 6-4-4 off the last three balls of the sixth over. They also lost the wicket of Faf du Plessis, bowled by a superb cutter from Ngidi for 17 off 19 deliveries.

The in-form Du Plooy was able to fuel a slight breaking of the shackles with his 30 off just 16 balls and Joburg had reached 62 for two after 10 overs. Unfortunately they lost Du Plooy to some clever bowling from Andile Phehlukwayo, who outfoxed the left-hander and had him steering a lifter to short third man.

Reeza Hendricks, meanwhile, had dug in and played the sort of opener’s innings one usually sees in that format some people want to cancel, ODI cricket. He reached his first fifty of the campaign off 43 balls and was given a reprieve on 58 when Phehlukwayo dropped him, coming forward at square-leg, off Obed McCoy.

Hendricks took full advantage as he and Moeen Ali dished out some severe punishment in the last four overs, slamming 56 runs.

Hendricks showed the ability to stick around in tough conditions, his defiance allowing him to capitalise with some fine ball-striking towards the end of his innings, as he finished with 79 not out off 56 balls, with seven fours and three sixes.

Moeen’s 23 not out off just 12 balls included two sixes and helped Joburg to post 168 for three, a total that Fleming and many observers felt made them favourites.

“I thought we had plenty, definitely enough,” Fleming admitted. “It was very tricky at the start, a tough pitch for 20/20 cricket and I felt we did well to navigate ourselves to an above-par score. It was a well-constructed total on a pitch that wasn’t really suitable for hitting out.”

Lizaad Williams then removed Jason Roy (8) with his first delivery, in the third over, and Moeen dismissed Jos Buttler (22 off 18) in the seventh over, with Paarl’s total on 42.

Wihan Lubbe had come to the crease after Roy’s dismissal and endured some woolly moments, especially against the excellent Nandre Burger (4-0-21-0).  But looks can be deceiving and the left-handed Lubbe was merely playing himself in and biding his time, in the same way that Hendricks did for the home team.

Mitchell van Buuren (7) was bowled by off-spinner Moeen at the end of the ninth over, and needing a required run-rate of double figures, Lubbe and the determined Dane Vilas managed to avoid falling into the trap of just trying to hit boundaries.

They improvised shots, they ran hard and forced the fielders to crack under the pressure, really just upping the intensity of their partnership quite superbly.

Both were dismissed, however, with victory in sight, having added a brilliant 95 for the fourth wicket off just 54 balls, with eight fours and four sixes. It is the best SA20 fourth-wicket stand at the Wanderers.

Lubbe showed great composure and patience up top, steering the Paarl top-order through the tough times and finishing with 57 off 48 balls, with three fours and three sixes.

The 38-year-old Vilas showed how valuable he still is at this level, making 42 off 26 deliveries, with just one six. He still has plenty to offer.

“As the ball got older it became easier to bat,” Lubbe said. “That partnership between Dane and I got momentum on our side, and when that happens you will get the odd misfield and bad ball.

“A lot of credit must go to Dane for the intensity he showed and his calm presence helped me  a lot. Fortunately we lost the wicket on the strategy break and we were able to have a conversation with a few old heads around about how we would go about the chase. We spoke about keeping the intensity as high as we could for the next five overs and not letting the required run-rate get to 15s,” Lubbe said.

The mission accomplished means the Paarl Royals have now opened up a four-point gap for themselves at the top of the SA20 log.

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.

SA have made hash of Bangladesh bowling before, Rossouw says how handled spinners the difference 0

Posted on January 16, 2023 by Ken

South Africa have made a hash of handling the Bangladesh bowling half-a-dozen times in ODIs, but centurion Rilee Rossouw said for him the big difference on Thursday, when they hammered the subcontinent team by 104 runs in their T20 World Cup match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, was how well they played the spinners.

Rossouw thoroughly dominated the bowling in stroking a tremendous 109 off just 56 balls, and it was almost totally thanks to him and Quinton de Kock (63 off 38) that the Proteas managed to post a formidable 205/5 after electing to bat first.

A slick bowling display, led by Anrich Nortje (3.3-0-10-4) and Tabraiz Shamsi (4-0-20-3), then ensured South Africa wrapped up the win in clinical fashion by bowling Bangladesh out for just 101 in the 17th over. They therefore successfully negotiated a team that has caused them World Cup embarrassment before – at Providence in 2007 and The Oval in 2019. The Proteas also batted poorly in series defeats to Bangladesh on the 2015 tour and at Centurion earlier this year.

“Taskin Ahmed was shaping the ball up front, he bowled nicely to Temba Bavuma (2), while The Fizz [Mustafizur Rahman] is world-class, a definite threat who you just have to play as you see it,” Rossouw said after his second successive T20 International century, a unique feat amongst Full Member teams.

“But what we did really well was to take on the spin. We took charge, we wanted to control that area of the game and we did that well. It definitely helped me that I played for three years in the Bangladesh Premier League and was the leading run-scorer twice, so there was nothing too unfamiliar out there today.

“I’ve definitely improved playing against spin because I’ve played a lot in the subcontinent – in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Dubai. I’m much more comfortable against spin than I was in my twenties. Being in pressure situations on pitches that are turning has made me a better player,” Rossouw said.

A top-class innings by the left-hander brought a spontaneous display of emotion when he reached his hundred off just 52 deliveries.

“This is really close to my heart and I’m just every chuffed, to do this on the main stage, at the World Cup,” Rossouw said. “Sometimes things go for you and this year has been an unbelievable rollercoaster ride for me.

“I’m so happy sitting here now, I never even thought about it being possible 12 months ago. I am a very passionate man, and to get across the line meant a lot to me and my family back home.

“It’s been amazing to play for South Africa again, when you give up the right to play for your country, you expect that to be your last chance. So I will cherish every moment.

“It’s been a great journey, a long journey, and hopefully it’s not finished yet. I hope I have another opportunity to do well in this World Cup,” Rossouw said.

2 days makes a world of difference to pitch … and gives birth to furious response from SA middle-order 0

Posted on September 19, 2022 by Ken

Two days made a world of difference to the Bristol pitch, but a poor start to the South African innings gave birth to a furious response from the middle-order as they posted a matchwinning 182/6 after being sent in to bat and beat Ireland by 44 runs in the second T20 on Friday night.

Wayne Parnell enjoyed one of his best days in Proteas clours as he took a brilliant 5/30 to lead an impressive Proteas bowling display that bowled Ireland out for 138.

On a pitch that had the bowlers celebrating more assistance than usual in a T20, South Africa struggled to 58/2 after 11 overs. Quinton de Kock (7 off 10 balls) and Rassie van der Dussen (4 off 14) again struggled, but opener Reeza Hendricks continued his hot form with a determined 42 off 40 balls.

Aiden Markram came in and provided some much-needed impetus as he slammed 25 runs off spinner Andy McBrine in the 12th over, but both he, for 27 off 10 balls, and Hendricks were dismissed in the next over, bowled by leg-spinner Gareth Delany (4-0-24-2).

South Africa were 93/4 off 14 overs, but thanks to Heinrich Klaasen (39 off 16 balls) and David Miller (32 not out off 20), South Africa were given a crucial late boost. Dwaine Pretorius also chipped in with 17 off 7 balls.

Left-arm paceman Josh Little was the best of the Irish bowlers with 1/20 off four overs.

South Africa’s left-armer, Parnell, then struck twice in successive balls in his first over to rock Ireland’s chase from the start. Paul Stirling (28) and Harry Tector (34) lifted Ireland to 40/2 inside the 6th over, but Lungi Ngidi (3-0-14-1) removed Stirling and Parnell returned to get Tector out.

Pretorius (3.5-0-33-3) then also took two wickets in two balls to all but seal victory.

Second-last man Barry McCarthy walloped 32 off 19 balls at the death to take Ireland over 100 and restore some dignity.

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