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Ken Borland

Markram admits Proteas missed out on extra 15-20 runs 0

Posted on December 23, 2022 by Ken

As well as he batted, Aiden Markram has admitted that the Proteas missed out on an extra 15-20 runs they should have scored as they went down to India by seven wickets in the second ODI at the weekend, and executing their skills in the crucial moments will be their focus going into the decisive third match in Delhi on Tuesday.

Markram scored 79 off 89 balls, an innings filled with plenty of great strokes, but he was just beginning to really dominate after a tough start when he got out, lashing a short delivery from off-spinner Washington Sundar to extra cover. What made his dismissal even worse was that it came just two balls after Heinrich Klaasen got out for a brisk 30 off 26 deliveries.

Markram had set up the innings superbly with Reeza Hendricks (74 off 76) in a run-a-ball third-wicket stand of 129, and he and Klaasen then added 46 off 40 balls to leave the Proteas poised for a score of over 300 as they reached 215 for three in the 38th over.

They subsided to 278 for seven, which India chased down with 25 balls to spare and Markram put his hand up for what happened.

“The pitch was drier than in Lucknow and we thought we had a decent score, even if it was 15-20 runs less than ideal,” Markram said.

“It would have been nice to bat through the last 10 overs and cash in, that’s where the runs left out there are on me. Whenever two wickets fall bang-bang, then the fielding team gets all the momentum back.

“When I got out, maybe that’s where we left the 15-20 runs short. I haven’t played in Delhi before, but lots of the team have, so we’ll have knowledge of the conditions. We will just try and execute our skills on the day, ultimately that’s what matters,” Markram said.

India’s successful chase was also built around a third-wicket stand, although Ishan Kishan (93 off 84) and Shreyas Iyer (113* off 111) took theirs to 161. Although he has been out-of-form lately, South Africa possibly missed the ability of wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi to take wickets in the middle overs. Both he and captain Temba Bavuma missed the second ODI due to illness.

“They were very good, they played excellent knocks and deserve a lot of credit for such a big partnership that killed the game,” Markram said.

“The ball was quite wet, we definitely saw the impact of the dew. I don’t think we bowled badly, they hit some good balls for boundaries and then it becomes tough to slow them down.”

Markram said he was greatly helped by having Hendricks in such good form at the other end, and hopefully the prolific 33-year-old keeps his place for Tuesday’s decider.

“Batting first, the ball did not skid on so much and India bowled into the pitch and the ball just died. David Miller struggling to hit the ball shows you how tough conditions were and how well India bowled.

“I found it tough, it was frustrating. But lots of credit must go to Reeza, he kept the runs flowing at the other end and so the partnership was still doing well,” Markram said.

Proteas are disappointed but still positive – Shamsi 0

Posted on April 19, 2021 by Ken

South Africa are disappointed to be 1-0 down going into the second T20 against Pakistan at the Wanderers on Monday, but they are still positive that they can turn things around, senior spinner Tabraiz Shamsi said on Sunday.

The four-wicket loss at the same venue in the first T20 was the Proteas’ second successive loss to Pakistan, after they were also beaten in the ODI decider. But, as Shamsi pointed out, both those defeats have come with South Africa fielding an inexperienced outfit missing seven first-choice players, while the tourists are pretty much at full strength.

“Obviously it’s not nice being 1-0 down but there are three more games and there’s no reason why we can’t win all three. The losses have been close games that could have gone either way, and the positive is that we are playing a young team while Pakistan have the strongest side they can put out. So we’re still quite positive, even though it still hurts whenever we lose.

“So we’re not happy, it’s not as if we are singing or dancing in the changeroom afterwards. But all the games have been close, we’re not losing by huge margins, so it means the guys coming in are performing up to international standard. It’s just small moments when we are not clicking, but that will come with playing together more, with more game time,” Shamsi said.

It’s fair to say that South Africa are not winning the big moments, which is a sign of inexperience. But it also means the senior players – the likes of Andile Phehlukwayo, Shamsi, Heinrich Klaasen and Beuran Hendricks – need to step up even more. Not that they are hugely experienced either, sharing just 95 caps between them.

“The current situation is that guys with 15-20 caps are senior players. But we all have to go out there and learn from these experiences. You do not learn these things from Playstation and sometimes you learn more from defeat. It’s always just one or two overs where we are slipping up, so we are not far off. It’s just about execution on the day and that can change quickly,” Shamsi said.

Williams provides insight into how hard it has been for Proteas ‘toddlers’ 0

Posted on April 13, 2021 by Ken

Proteas pace bowler Lizaad Williams provides some insight into how difficult it has been for all the new players included for the series against Pakistan to step up to the plate when he said on Tuesday that he feels like “a toddler going into primary school”.

Williams has been one of three debutants during the T20 series, while half-a-dozen fringe players have also been pressed into action in the two formats to cover for players who have left for the IPL and those who are injured. While the ODI series was lost 2-1, all three games were close, and the T20 series is level at 1-1 following South Africa’s overwhelming victory in the second match, heading into the third game at Centurion on Wednesday.

“It’s been an unbelievable experience and I’m really honoured to represent my country at the highest level, and being able to contribute in the second game after the first match did not go to plan. But there are still two big games coming up. And I am still trying to figure out the intensity of international cricket, I’m still very much in a learning phase.

“I feel like a toddler going into primary school, I’m just observing everything and trying to take it all in. The difference in intensity is the biggest thing, probably the biggest lesson that the margin for error is much smaller. The batsmen don’t give their wickets away easily, they grind you out. So at training you have to try and match that intensity,” Williams said on Tuesday.

The Proteas bowling was outstanding in the second T20 as they restricted Pakistan to 140 for nine, which the home side chased down in the 14th over with six wickets in hand. Williams said the mental side of the bowlers’ game was much stronger, giving them a template for what to do in Wednesday’s crucial game.

“The biggest thing was the clarity in your mind when you go up to bowl. You have to commit 100% to the delivery and not think too far ahead about what the end result will be. In the first game I got caught up a bit in what the end result would be, but you should just be thinking about executing to the best of your ability. It was actually a bit easier to make your debut with no crowd.

“I would enjoy the crowd to be there, but in those very nervous moments they bring a bit of added pressure and you just want clarity of mind in those moments. But at the start of my professional career, I played two seasons with Charl Langeveldt in Cape Town and I learnt so much, so I’m very excited to be working with the bowling coach again,” Williams said.

Rassie satisfied with ‘virgin’ effort on subcontinent 0

Posted on February 04, 2021 by Ken

Rassie van der Dussen was a virgin when it came to Test cricket on the subcontinent going into the first Test against Pakistan in Karachi last week and South Africa’s number three batsman pronounced himself satisfied with his efforts on Monday.

Van der Dussen, whose previous sub-continental experience has been limited to a first-class game for SA A in 2018 and a handful of T20s, made 17 and 64 in Karachi. His first innings saw him get off to a fluent start before he needlessly ran himself out, but his second innings was a fine 151-ball effort that reignited the Proteas’ hopes of winning the game along with Aiden Markram.

“For my first Test match in the sub-continent I was quite happy. You speak to players who have been successful here in the past, they prepare you for what to expect, and after spending time in the middle I can see it was exactly what we spoke about. So it’s nice to know my preparation and execution was good and I will take confidence from that into the second Test.

“The obvious difference to back home is the lack of bounce. Here the spinners come on quite early when the ball is still newish. There would be a lot more bounce for a spinner bowling with a newish ball in South Africa and slip would be in play but lbw would probably be out. But here the new ball skids through low, no ball is going to go over the stumps so all dismissals are in play all the time, for every ball,” Van der Dussen said on Monday.

The 31-year-old said the Proteas batting unit will be making an active effort in the second Test, which starts on Thursday in Rawalpindi, to bat time more than they did in their poor first innings of just 220 in Karachi after winning the toss.

“We were really disappointed to only get 220 after winning the toss. On the sub-continent, batting time is vital and we know as a batting unit that we weren’t even close to good enough. We prepared in bad conditions which is what we got to an extent, so we had the right game-plan, it was just the execution was lacking. It’s our responsibility if you get in, and a few of us got starts, to put pressure on the opposition.

“You need to get 350 at least and bat the whole day. But it was all of our’s first time in Pakistan, so it’s valuable experience that will hold us in good stead going forward. We will definitely be looking to rectify our batting. It comes down to the fundamentals of building an innings, give yourself a chance by surviving the first 20-30 balls. It was good bowling but there was also a bit of indecision,” Van der Dussen said.

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