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Ken Borland

Coach Pretorius not hitting the roof as Lions hope for sun 0

Posted on May 10, 2024 by Ken

The DP World Lions ladies team will be hoping for two days of sun and better basics as they take on the Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers in Johannesburg this weekend, following their disappointing trip to Durban three weeks ago.

The Lions were frustrated to have their one-day match against the Dolphins abandoned due to rain, seeing them slip to fifth in the standings, and they then suffered a 10-wicket defeat in the T20 game.

But it’s not like coach Shaun Pretorius hit the roof or anything, he knows our DP World Lions ladies are not far off from winning form. Just one win in the One-Day Cup will lift them back up to third.

“Things didn’t go according to plan in Durban, and there were small things that we can learn from; the only way you’re going to learn those lessons is on the park,” Pretorius said.

“I’m quite confident actually that if we stick to the basics and follow our game-plans, then we have got enough ability to win this weekend. There are still good things happening around the team, there’s no stress.

“If we execute in the right phases of the game, if we get a grip on the game and then hang on to it, then we are capable of a bonus point win which has a massive effect on the log. It’s about handling situations, not overthinking things. We must focus on the ball being delivered now and not look too far ahead. One ball can change the game,” Pretorius said.

They may be feeling a little blue after recent results, but Pretorius has been reminding our #PrideOfJozi of past successes and epic performances like chasing 250 twice at the DP World Wanderers Stadium before.

Our Pride will be without Chloe Tryon and Shabnim Ismail, who are in India for the IPL, and young stars Karabo Meso and Jenna Evans, who are representing South Africa at the Africa Games in Ghana.

But the DP World Lions are not about individuals, but the system, and Pretorius backs the squad for this weekend to put their hands up in the key phases of the game.

Proteas star Tazmin Brits battered a century off the Lions in their meeting in Oudtshoorn in November, but our Pride will not be overly focused on her. Besides, the DP World Lions have experienced, quality Proteas batters of their own in Kirstie Thomson, Sunette Viljoen-Louw and Nonkululeko Thabethe.

Disappointing results are not main reason for Jake changing half the Bulls’ starting line-up 0

Posted on January 09, 2023 by Ken

The Bulls will be eager to stop their slide down the United Rugby Championship table before the end of October when the competition takes a break, but disappointing results are not the main reason coach Jake White has changed half his starting line-up for their match against Benetton in Treviso on Friday night.

Having been knocked over and physically dominated by the Glasgow Warriors and Munster on successive weekends, the Bulls are now down to sixth on the log. Benetton will definitely be tricky to beat on their home turf, and the high-flying Sharks then come to Loftus Versfeld on October 30.

“It’s not just results that decide selection, I would have changed the team anyway this week,” White said on Thursday. “Every coach has an idea of a certain team he wants to play against certain opposition.

“But then the whole thing changes with injury and I didn’t think I would not have Johan Goosen or Cornal Hendricks. But it’s a long season and the European competition hasn’t even kicked off yet.

“Benetton rested a lot of their main players last week, we know they have targeted this game and everyone understands how tough it will be. It shouldn’t be an ambush here anymore.

“We have not gone from a good team to a poor one overnight, and this is a massive game for us because an away win is like gold. No-one must think we’re going through the motions,” White said.

The ever-improving Benetton side is certainly not going to stand back for anyone on their home ground anymore, and the Bulls can expect a feisty welcome up front, led by loose forward Lorenzo Cannone and his brother, lock Niccolò. Benetton still talk about their famous victory over the Bulls in the Rainbow Cup final last year, when White’s team, rampant at home, were shocked by the intensity of their hosts.

“I hope we are not surprised again. There will be unbelievable passion in the crowd and we are coming from rain and cold every day in Scotland and Ireland to warm weather and sunshine,” White said.

“Benetton still talk a lot about beating us in that final, and that was an opportunity for us to learn some lessons. I hope we are wise enough that we don’t get caught again.

“They are a good team, well-coached, while, for whatever reason, we have not played as well as we can. Sometimes it feels like we are stuck in third gear and we struggle to get into fifth.

“But our saving grace is that it is a long season and we only need to play our best rugby at the back end. But the challenge is for us to get better every week,” White said.

Bulls: Kurt-lee Arendse, David Kriel, Stedman Gans, Harold Vorster, Wandisile Simelane, Chris Smith, Embrose Papier, Elrigh Louw, Marco van Staden, Marcell Coetzee (CAPT), Ruan Nortje, Janko Swanepoel, Francois Klopper, Bismarck du Plessis, Gerhard Steenekamp. Bench – Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Simphiwe Matanzima, Mornay Smith, Walt Steenkamp, WJ Steenkamp, Zak Burger, Morne Steyn, Stravino Jacobs.

Kickoff: 6.30pm.

Proteas are considering 2 spinners to avoid Kingsmead disappointment 0

Posted on April 25, 2022 by Ken

The Proteas are considering playing two frontline spinners in the first Test against Bangladesh starting on Thursday at Kingsmead, where South Africa have had disappointing results in recent years, captain Dean Elgar has confirmed.

The Proteas have lost seven of their last 10 Tests at Kingsmead, dating back to 2008. They have repeatedly expressed their frustration at the dry, low and slow, spin-friendly pitch that has developed there.

But this time, with Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi all unavailable, they could well play both orthodox left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj and offie Simon Harmer.

“We’ve been having really good discussions about the best combination to take 20 wickets and we’re sitting with three different combinations as regards the bowlers,” Elgar said.

“Playing two spinners in Durban is very much a talking point. We are aware of the conditions, it’s generally slower and lower here, and our squad has covered a lot of areas.

“We obviously want more grass on the wicket and it seems that it has grown a bit. But it helps if you put more water on the pitch as well. We hope to get a nice and hard surface, with more pace and bounce.

“But we’re not too fazed by playing on slower wickets, we just need to do the basics better for longer,” Elgar said.

So what are the three permutations for the starting XI?

Disappointment for all-rounder Mulder

If conditions are going to be really tough for batting, or there is pressure to play three Black Africans, then South Africa could choose seven specialist batsmen, giving both Ryan Rickelton and Khaya Zondo their Test debuts. That would mean leaving out all-rounder Wiaan Mulder and probably fielding just one spinner and three pacemen.

TeamElgar, Erwee, Petersen, Bavuma, Rickelton, Verreynne, Zondo, Maharaj, Williams, Sipamla, Olivier/Stuurman.

Two spinners, the most likely XI

The team that would be the most balanced and cover the most bases includes six specialist batsmen, a seam-bowling all-rounder, two frontline quicks and two spinners lining up. I’ll back this to be the team if the Kingsmead pitch is as it has been in recent years.

Lizaad Williams, so impressively controlled and effective in domestic cricket this season, could get the nod ahead of Duanne Olivier and Glenton Stuurman, who were both dropped after the first Test hiding in New Zealand.

Rather than choose a third, middle-of-the-road paceman, rather go with the four best bowlers, which in this squad includes two quality spinners in Maharaj and Harmer.

This would involve being slightly down on transformation targets, however, with only five players of colour and two Black Africans.

TeamElgar, Erwee, Petersen, Bavuma, Rickelton, Verreynne, Mulder, Harmer, Maharaj, Williams, Sipamla.

Placing their hopes in pace bowling

If the Proteas go their traditional, unsuccessful-at-Kingsmead, route of having a pace-based attack and just one spinner, then Lutho Sipamla will be joined by Lizaad Williams and Duanne Olivier, or Glenton Stuurman if CSA insist on placing six players of colour in the team.

Recent pitches in Durban suggest this attack will not be as effective, but if there is a bit more grass present, and more pace and bounce, then it could be worth the gamble.

Team Elgar, Erwee, Petersen, Bavuma, Rickelton, Verreynne, Mulder, Maharaj, Williams, Sipamla, Stuurman/Olivier.

Disappointing Proteas are going to need to stamp out this infuriating inconsistency 0

Posted on April 19, 2022 by Ken

The Proteas really are extremely hard work for their fans, the latest grave distress they have inflicted on them being their hugely disappointing series loss to Bangladesh in the ODIs.

It is Bangladesh’s first series win in South Africa in all formats and they are going to be favourites now going into the two-Test series. Conditions at Kingsmead and St George’s Park are probably going to be low and slow, the Proteas are missing five frontline players who have chosen to go to the IPL instead and the tourists certainly have all the momentum with them.

How South Africa managed to lose to Bangladesh in a three-match series on the Highveld, with plentiful bounce on offer in all three games, is baffling though and the shockwaves are going to reverberate around the ODI team for a while.

What makes the loss even more dismaying is how poorly they played in the deciding match and also the fact that this same team, minus Kagiso Rabada, beat India 3-0 in their previous engagement.

It is this infuriating inconsistency that the Proteas are going to have to stamp out. Several wins are required for them to qualify automatically for the World Cup next year and South Africa are certainly not going to be contenders unless there is a greater steadiness to the execution of their 50-over skills.

Top limited-overs teams always talk about intent these days and that was rather lacking from the Proteas batsmen. Intent is, of course, easier to show once a partnership has taken control of the innings and one of the major differences between the Bangladesh and Indian series was that South Africa had major partnerships in the latter. Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen both scored hundreds in their incredible partnership in the first ODI, openers Janneman Malan and Quinton de Kock took the Proteas to 212/2 in the 35th over in the second match, and centurion De Kock and Van der Dussen shared a crucial stand of 144 in the last game.

The overs after the fall of a wicket are always a tricky time for the batting side, but in the deciding match against Bangladesh, Malan, who had started at about a run-a-ball, inexplicably went into his shell after De Kock’s dismissal. He had 28 off 31 balls at the end of the over before the wicketkeeper holed out at long-off, but then began leaving balls outside off stump and was eventually dismissed for 39 off 56 deliveries.

That innings included seven fours, which points to the fact that Malan was too block-block-block-four-block-block-block in his innings; De Kock had only faced eight balls at the time of his dismissal in the seventh over, the lack of rotation of strike probably causing frustration.

Malan (65.09), Bavuma (59.32) and Kyle Verreynne (74.57) all had strike-rates of below 80 in the series; 80 should always be the benchmark in decent batting conditions. Bangladesh certainly showed that as none of their batsmen scored at less than 74 runs per 100 balls.

South Africa also need to look at the composition of their attack. Simply choosing the Test bowlers and adding Tabraiz Shamsi and an all-rounder like Phehlukwayo or Pretorius is not cutting it in ODI cricket.

Different, specialist skills are needed, especially at the death. If Rabada and Lungi Ngidi don’t strike up front then they are in trouble, generally needing Shamsi to bail them out in the middle overs.

There also clearly needs to be a discussion over whether the fitness tests are helping the team or hurting them. While Lizelle Lee was able to join the Women’s World Cup squad late and lacking match fitness, Sisanda Magala was ruled out of the Bangladesh series because he failed a fitness test. While taking bags full of wickets for the Central Gauteng Lions, scoring vital lower-order runs and generally showing the skills so sorely lacking in the Proteas attack.

And it seems the Proteas need a full-time sports psychologist in camp as well.

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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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