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Ken Borland

Excellent day for Schaper as all aspects of his game come through for him 0

Posted on December 19, 2022 by Ken

BENONI, Gauteng – Jayden Schaper enjoyed an excellent day on his home course of Ebotse Links as all aspects of his game came through for him in a seven-under-par 65 that gave him a share of the lead with Clinton Grobler and Ockie Strydom after the first round of the Fortress Invitational on Friday.

The highly-promising Schaper began his round on the 10th hole with a birdie, and followed that up with consecutive gains on the 12th and 13th holes. A marvellous outgoing nine holes was capped by birdies at the par-three 15th and par-five 18th, seeing him go to the turn in just 31 strokes.

Schaper picked up three more birdies in four holes from the fourth, and even a bogey at the par-three eighth could not put a damper on a superb round of golf.

“Playing on my home course is a bit of an advantage because I know where certain pins are, where to miss and which bunkers to avoid,” Schaper said after his best round of the Sunshine Tour season so far.

“But you’ve still got to hit the ball well, hit the shots and make the putts. In the last couple of weeks, my tee-to-green play has been solid and I’ve been slowly getting better on the greens too.

“Today I just played really solid golf, I made good decisions and hit some really good shots. I was consistent today,” Schaper said.

The return of long-time coach Grant Veenstra from the United States may also have played a role in the impressive showing, with Schaper saying “it was the first week I’ve seen him in the last couple of months and it was really good to have him back to help out.”

Grobler, the 28-year-old Krugersdorp golfer, also started on the 10th and began the round with three straight birdies, while bogeying the 17th and fourth holes on the way to his 65. The highlight of his round was his eagle-three on the 18th.

The in-form Strydom, from the nearby Serengeti Estate, cruised through the front nine in four-under-par, but then the rollercoaster began: The 37-year-old bogeyed the par-four 10th, then grabbed a hat-trick of birdies from the 12th, dropped a shot at 17, but then finished spectacularly with an eagle on the last hole to vault into a share of the lead.

The leaderboard is congested, with five golfers shooting 66, including the veteran Hennie Otto, the American Dan Erickson, the amateur Kyle de Beer, as well as Makhetha Mazibuko and Richard Joubert.

Wynand Dingle, the winner of the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series San Lameer event three weeks ago, is in the group on five-under-par.

Grand batting of Miller & Klaasen puts SA in control, but India provide big scare with mother of late charges 0

Posted on December 14, 2022 by Ken

The grand batting of David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen, and excellent bowling up front, gave South Africa control of the first ODI against India, before the home team produced the mother of all late charges to give the Proteas a big scare in Lucknow on Thursday.

Miller and Klaasen came together with South Africa struggling on 110 for four in the 23rd over. But the skill and composure of the duo was exceptional as they stopped the rot and then cut loose, scoring 85 runs in the last 10 overs.

The in-form Miller struck a fiery 75 not out off 63 balls, with five fours and three sixes, while Klaasen was unbeaten on 74 off 65 deliveries, a fine supporting act that saw him hit six fours and a couple of sixes.

Their outstanding unbeaten partnership of 139 in 17.4 overs lifted South Africa to 249 for four in 40 overs, the match being reduced after the start of play had been delayed for an hour-and-45-minutes. They lost the toss and were sent in to bat on a tricky pitch offering seam and turn, and Quinton de Kock kept the top-order together with 48 off 54.

Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell then produced superb tight lines with the new ball, forcing both openers to play on.

Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj then turned the screw, conceding just 23 runs in his eight overs and getting the wicket of Ishan Kishan, caught at leg-slip for 20.

That left India 51 for four in the 18th over and their required run-rate soon grew to more than 9.5 runs per over.

But Shreyas Iyer showed what a dangerous hitter he is, lashing 50 off 37 balls, and Sanju Samson and Shardul Thakur (33 off 31) added 93 in 11 overs.

The brilliant Rabada (8-2-36-2) and Lungi Ngidi (8-0-52-3) took key wickets at the death and Tabraiz Shamsi, who was badly out of sorts, had 29 runs to defend in the last over.

Samson set up an incredible finish as he scored 15 off the first three balls (including a wide), but Shamsi finally managed to get the ball on a fuller length and a slog-sweep failed to find the boundary, no run being taken, and India’s thrilling chase came to an end, the Proteas winning by nine runs.

Samson finished with a superb 86 not out off 63 balls, tempering his usually aggressive game at the start, but then scoring with astonishing freedom at the death.

Shamsi gives prim & proper answer of ‘trying to do my best every game’ 0

Posted on November 16, 2022 by Ken

Proteas wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi gave the prim and proper answer of “trying to do my best every game” when asked on Monday what his approach to South Africa’s T20 series against India will be, but trying to get one over the powerful home batting line-up is clearly also in the back of his mind.

Not just because the Proteas will play India again in Group II at the T20 World Cup in Australia next month, but also to prove to the world’s biggest cricket market that he truly is one of the world’s best white-ball spinners.

Compared to his career stats – 69 wickets in 56 T20 Internationals, economy 7.11, strike-rate 17.70, average 21.02 – Shamsi’s record in India is clearly inferior: In 6 matches he has taken just three wickets at an average of 48, his economy is 8.47 and his strike-rate 34.

“I’m not sure what conditions will be like, but I will prepare exactly the same as my previous times there,” Shamsi said in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. “I was happy with my performance in England.

“But it’s always challenging against India. I won’t be changing much, previously it’s just been a few balls that I haven’t executed properly. Some days you’re just a bit off the mark and the batsmen do well, you get hit for just a couple of sixes here and there.

“The boundary sizes tend to be smaller here in India and the pitches will be different to Australia. But there are always things to work on, and bowling at these Indian batsmen with them being in our group at the World Cup, it’s an opportunity to observe and maybe pick up one or two things to use later on,” Shamsi said.

Wednesday’s match will only be the third T20 International to have been played at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram. The first one was a game shortened to eight overs against New Zealand in 2017, which India won with a total of 67/5. In 2019, India posted 170/7 against the West Indies and lost by eight wickets with nine balls to spare.

The stadium doubles as a football field, so there are bound to be some short boundaries.

But Shamsi said this current Proteas team are unfazed by challenges these days, having come through so much together.

“The mood is really good in the camp, we’re excited to be back together as a group and it’s always a nice challenge against India. This team is all about overcoming challenges.

“Our expectations are the same, but obviously with the World Cup coming up, we will keep one eye on the future as well. Preparing for that is our first priority.

“So the captain and coach might want to play around a bit with the team, and that’s okay,” Shamsi said.

Proteas had a toe-hold in the series … and then a mass of bad fortune 0

Posted on September 06, 2022 by Ken

The Proteas Women’s team began their tour of England five weeks ago and their brave draw in the one-off Test seemingly gave them a toe-hold in the multi-format series. But since then it has been a mass of bad fortune and a litany of defeats, which does not augur well for their chances in the Commonwealth Games starting this weekend in Birmingham.

South Africa arrived in England with talk of competing on all fronts, having beaten their hosts in the T20 World Cup earlier in the year before the tables were turned on them in the semifinals. Sadly, there is little doubt that the Proteas have regressed since then, while England have powered on to new heights with a rejuvenated team introducing exciting new blood.

The Proteas have lost both the ODI and T20 series 3-0 since then, but there have been mitigating factors.

Regular captain Dane van Niekerk has still not returned to play since November last year, and key players like fast bowler Shabnim Ismail and all-rounder Chloe Tryon have also struggled with injuries. The shock retirement of Lizelle Lee, on the eve of the ODI series, must have been a damaging mental blow for the team and it is doubtful that it does not speak to some sort of cultural issues within the squad.

And now Marizanne Kapp, who has been turning in massive performances game-after-game, is back home, ruled out of the Commonwealth Games, due to a family emergency in which her brother-in-law suffered serious burns.

While it would be unwise to make a meal of the recent results given these setbacks, questions need to be asked about whether the pipeline is delivering the quality that is needed for South Africa to remain one of the top sides.

It has not helped that senior players like stand-in captain Sune Luus, stalwart batter Mignon du Preez and 33-year-old bowling spearhead Ismail have not enjoyed good tours.

It is turning into a very long tour for the Proteas Women and they need to pull things together with haste to ensure the wheels don’t come off properly in the Commonwealth Games. Coach Hilton Moreeng will need all his powers of inspiration to put this squad back together again.

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