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Ken Borland



Disallowed slip catch and handling of bad light the main talking points 0

Posted on October 16, 2023 by Ken

The TV umpire’s decision to disallow a slip catch by Simon Harmer and the onfield umpires’ handling of bad light were the main talking points after an abbreviated opening day of the third Test between Australia and South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

Only 47 overs were bowled on the first day, Australia reaching 147 for two. The second of those wickets was the dismissal of Marnus Labuschagne for 79, edging a phenomenal delivery with pace, bounce and nip away from Anrich Nortje that defied the sluggishness of the pitch. Unfortunately for the South African-born batsman, umpires Chris Gaffaney and Paul Reiffel then immediately took the players off the field for bad light, never to return.

Labuschagne had enjoyed a huge slice of luck though when he was on 70 and he edged left-armer Marco Jansen low to first slip, where Harmer seemed to have scooped up a fine catch.

Neither Labuschagne nor the umpires were 100% sure though, with third umpire Richard Kettleborough being called into play, the soft signal being out. Having watched numerous replays, the Englishman felt the ball had touched the ground, but a conclusive replay, zoomed in from the front, was strangely absent.

Labuschagne survived, and five minutes later, the crucial replay suddenly emerged and showed that Harmer did get his fingers under the ball. The incident raised suspicions about the host broadcaster interfering in the officiating of the game, but apparently the third umpire only had access to the world feed camera shots and the front-on slow-mo replay was exclusively a Channel 7 shot.

Nortje was adamant that Harmer had caught the catch.

“We all thought it was out, Simon was convinced that it had gone straight into his hands. The front angle replay I think showed that he had his fingers underneath the ball. So we were unfortunate not to get that one,” Nortje said.

“You’ve just got to try and focus again because feeling hard done by can quickly get out of hand. I just told Marco to try and refocus and stick to the basics. He bowled really well at that stage and we were able to feed off that energy.”

The in-form fast bowler had more sympathy for the umpires’ decision to stop play for bad light at 2.17pm local time, to again rule it was too dark just as the players were about to go back on to the field at 3.45pm, and then to stop play for the final time at 5.05pm.

“It’s tough and it was really dark at one stage,” Nortje said. “It’s not just about the batsmen, fielders start to not be able to pick up the ball in certain areas and you don’t want to drop a catch then.

“They were probably the right decisions, it’s about playing fair. With two guys bowling quickly and with the ball a bit harder, it can get unsafe. There was one bouncer from KG Rabada that was not picked up so well.”

Nortje was also the producer of the first wicket when he had David Warner caught by Jansen high at first slip off an attempted slash outside off stump.

CSA’s dictatorial treatment of Magala should receive more attention 0

Posted on February 10, 2023 by Ken

Temba Bavuma and the Proteas will no doubt still receive more than their fair share of flak for the next few weeks following their shock exit at the hands of the Netherlands in the T20 World Cup, but it is only right that Cricket South Africa come under scrutiny too for their handling of the domestic game.

The Proteas are the end result of whatever comes through the domestic system, so that pipeline is of vital importance. The first domestic tournament has already come to an end with the Northerns Titans winning the CSA T20 Challenge in Potchefstroom last weekend.

As provincial cricket so often is these days, it was a low-key event, not helped by it all taking place in one little university town. But CSA’s cost-cutting necessities are understandable.

But what is neither understandable nor acceptable is the way CSA impose so many other agendas, other than performance simply being the be-all and end-all, on the provincial teams.

The fact that CSA issued a directive forbidding the Central Gauteng Lions from choosing their star player, Sisanda Magala, simply because he failed their fitness tests, should cause all the provincial CEOs to rise up and reject such interference in their affairs by the mother body.

Magala is the sort of T20 specialist, with his death-bowling skills and hard-hitting batting, who could have made the Lions genuine contenders for a tournament in which they finished fifth, just two points away from the semi-finals.

The Lions missed out on vital promotion/relegation points because they were severely hamstrung by CSA. A player on the fringes of the national team – many believe he should have been in Australia for the World Cup – was also denied the opportunity to further build on his sizeable reputation.

And Magala’s credentials have not just been praised by great fast bowlers such as Dale Steyn and Shaun Pollock; the most ruthless judges of them all, the Indian IPL team owners, clearly rate the 31-year-old very highly too – he was bought for R5.4 million by the Sunrisers Eastern Cape in the SA20 Auction.

Magala’s ‘crime’ was that he cannot run a two-kilometre time trial in eight minutes, 30 seconds, missing out by a few seconds and that was enough for some jobsworth at CSA to ban him from playing in the CSA T20 Challenge. The big lad is actually pretty athletic in the field and never has a problem bowling his four overs and is quite capable of running quick singles. Where running two kilometres applies to batting and bowling I would love to know.

With so much at stake for the provinces – relegation would be a financial disaster for a team like the Lions – the day is surely coming when they challenge any policies imposed on them that stop them from performing at their best.

This over-emphasis on arbitrary fitness tests is surely something that falls under the ambit of director of cricket Enoch Nkwe and he needs to address it.

Not having Magala, one of our best cricketers, playing is also doing a disservice to transformation. In order to reach their targets, the Lions actually had to rope in a club cricketer to replace their star all-rounder on the morning the tournament started.

Magala’s treatment is just yet another example of South African cricket hurting itself. How did forcing him on to the sidelines serve the game or make it better?

Perhaps the day South Africa finally win a cricket world cup is the day when high performance, winning or getting results (call it what you will) is the only focus for our teams.

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.

Sharks stumble as if in a trance in 1st half, but show character to snatch victory 0

Posted on December 05, 2022 by Ken

The Sharks stumbled through the first half of their United Rugby Championship match against the Dragons in Newport as if in a trance, turning over possession and making basic handling errors, so coach Sean Everitt was delighted that they showed the character to still snatch victory in the end.

The Sharks were 12-6 down at halftime and then conceded the opening try to go 19-6 down seven minutes into the second half, but they roused themselves in the final quarter to snatch a fortuitous 20-19 win.

“I’m very happy with the result and very proud of the character the team showed. The discipline in the second half, when we were under pressure, was really good and I thought we thoroughly deserved the win in the end,” Everitt said.

“The first half was disappointing and we just couldn’t get our attack flowing because the Dragons put us under a lot of pressure at the breakdown. Their international loose trio really hurt us and forced us into errors.

“But after a chat at halftime, the guys came out firing and stuck to their task very well,” Everitt said.

The Sharks coach credited scrumhalf Grant Williams’ 62nd-minute intercept try with giving the team the belief to come back, and also praised the bench for taking their play to another level.

“Grant’s intercept try midway through the second half was a game-changer because it gave us belief,” Everitt said.

“And I must also credit the subs for changing the game, particularly Sikhumbuzo Notshe, who set up the try for us to go ahead.”

Replacement flank Notshe made the line-break that allowed backline substitute Marnus Potgieter to send wing Thaakir Abrahams speeding over for the try that lifted the Sharks into a 20-19 lead after flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain managed to slot an excellent conversion, his fourth consecutive successful kick.

The Sharks now travel to Dublin to take on log-leaders Leinster on Saturday, very happy and relieved to have come away from Newport with a win, but they are clearly going to have to be much more accurate against the Irish powerhouses, who are looking for revenge after a shock silverware-less 2021/22 season.

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