for quality writing

Ken Borland

Maharaj: Proteas need to ensure such a terrible batting display does not happen again 0

Posted on November 28, 2022 by Ken

South Africa’s top-order produced a terrible batting display in the first T20 against India in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, crashing to nine for five after being sent in to bat, and top-scorer Keshav Maharaj admitted that they had been caught unawares in the powerplay and needed to look at ways of ensuring such a parlous start does not happen again.

The Proteas eventually made it to 106-8 thanks largely to Maharaj’s greatly determined 41 off 35 balls, while there were also rearguard knocks by Aiden Markram (25) and Wayne Parnell (24). But despite a shaky start they saw them reduced to 17-2 in the seventh over, India cruised to victory by eight wickets with 20 balls to spare, thanks to unbeaten half-centuries by Lokesh Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav.

“We don’t want to dwell too much on the match, but there are things we can address and hopefully rectify,” Maharaj said after the awful start to the tour. “We do need to chat about how we started.

“When you are put under pressure like that then it’s very difficult to come back. But we showed some fight and we can build on that. It showed great character to go from nine for five to 106, we made a game of it and there are a lot of positives from that.

“But we need to adjust better against the new ball, they were getting a lot of swing, so we needed a change of plan and mindset. We didn’t expect the ball to swing so much, and the pitch was also two-paced, there was a lot of tennis ball bounce, so it was not easy.

“We need to find a way to combat the swing up front and our application at the top also needs to be looked at. But the ball was swinging prodigiously and we were just trying to get to the 16th over and not get bowled out,” Maharaj said.

Losing five wickets in the powerplay was the difference between the two sides though, as Rahul dug in and Suryakumar scored an inspired 50 not out in 33 balls.

“With five wickets down in the powerplay, you’ve still got to be focused. We wanted to try and get to 16 overs and not get bowed out, and then unfortunately Wayne got out.

“Our seam bowlers also did really well in the powerplay, KG Rabada and Wayne were exceptional. Small moments went India’s way, but they batted exceptionally well.

“It was always going to be very difficult to come back from five wickets down in the powerplay, maybe it was a bit of rustiness on our part. Hopefully we can execute much better and make the second T20 more exciting.

“Conditions were in the bowlers’ favour, but full credit to Deepak Chahar and Arshdeep Singh for landing the ball in the right areas. They had us under pressure in the powerplay,” Maharaj said.

Elgar no longer willing to wait before middle-order clicks 0

Posted on October 14, 2022 by Ken

Having last week given the impression he believed it was only a matter of time before the middle-order clicks, Proteas captain Dean Elgar now seems to have lost patience and said changes were going to happen for the third and decisive Test against England starting at The Oval on September 8.

South Africa will be forced to make at least one change to the batting line-up, with Rassie van der Dussen returning home with a fractured left index finger.

Van der Dussen’s place has been under pressure as he has now gone 13 innings without a Test half-century, although his 41 in the second innings at Old Trafford, spending nearly three hours at the crease when his finger was obviously causing him pain, was a substantial effort. It probably would have saved him, but ironically he now cannot play.

Aiden Markram is still very much in the firing line, having gone 15 innings without reaching fifty. His only chance of survival would seem to be if the Proteas management decide it would be too risky bringing two inexperienced players into the middle-order for the series-decider.

Van der Dussen is likely to be replaced by Ryan Rickelton, who has played two Tests against Bangladesh at home, or Khaya Zondo, whose only Test cap came as a concussion substitute on the final morning of the Gqeberha Test against Bangladesh, and he did not bat.

“There are a few tough decisions coming our way,” Elgar said after the Proteas’ innings defeat in Manchester. “Obviously we have to replace Rassie, so that’s a definite change.

“But whether that’s the only change, we’ll have to see, we’ve got a few days to get ourselves a better combination. The bottom line is that we need runs from the middle-order and they have let us down quite a bit. The guys know it already.”

Markram’s cause is not helped by both his dismissals at Old Trafford making him look like a clot: In the first innings he fell crucially just before lunch, skying a pull at a Ben Stokes long-hop outside off-stump; in the second innings he got a nick to an ambitious drive on the up, outside off-stump, against Stuart Broad.

A fresh comeback for a mint talent who has lost his shine 0

Posted on February 25, 2022 by Ken

Curwin Bosch was considered a mint talent when he arrived at Kings Park in 2016, but is almost a forgotten Springbok these days. The 24-year-old’s latest comeback will happen on Wednesday night as he has been named as the Sharks’ starting flyhalf for their Currie Cup match against Western Province in Durban.

The Eastern Cape prodigy has played two Tests for South Africa, but the last of those was in June 2018. Bosch has not appeared in the United Rugby Championship since the Sharks’ match in Cardiff on October 16.

The rumour mill has been rife with speculation that the Sharks want to offload the bright and still young talent, despite their five-year investment in him, but CEO Eduard Coetzee has denied this.

“Curwin has had a bit of an unfortunate run, he had a hip flexor injury, but he’s back this week,” Coetzee said at the Sharks’ media weekend. “With the British and Irish Lions defeat and the Currie Cup final, he lost a bit of confidence.

“But we are looking to get him back in the team, even though he thinks his future may lie outside of the Sharks. We’ve given him time to get his head right and if he wants to stay with us then that would be cool.

“Curwin is an unbelievable rugby player who has won games for us. But sport is cruel. He’s a great kid though and it’s important that we look after him,” Coetzee said.

The presence of one Elton Jantjies at Kings Park over the weekend – ostensibly to visit his nephew who is at the Sharks Academy – could indicate there is further pressure, however, on Bosch’s future in Durban.

Adding the skills and trickery of Jantjies, all of it done flat to the gainline, to the powerful Sharks backline would be a mouthwatering prospect.

And Coetzee has admitted that they need to bolster their squad in order to challenge for URC honours and beyond.

“We gave away the most penalties at scrum time of any team – 3.8 per game – hence our signing of Globis [Georgian scrum coach Akvsenti Giorgadze] and Bongi Mbonambi.

“We had to ask ourselves, if Thomas du Toit goes down, we have another tighthead? So we are looking to bolster our tight five. I don’t think we’ll be signing any wings …

“It’s a balancing act because there are also transfer fees to consider and we have to wait for the right guy to come up. But by July 1, I’m confident we will have a squad that can win the URC.

“We are a global competitor and we are ambitious. We want to enter the Heineken Champions Cup and win it. We need older heads for that because age is the big difference between our teams and the overseas ones,” Coetzee said.

Lions playing in the Cape a beacon of hope 0

Posted on July 21, 2021 by Ken

The fact that the British and Irish Lions tour will be moving to Cape Town at the end of the week is ironically a beacon of hope for the Bulls that their match against the tourists might still happen, according to the franchise’s CEO Edgar Rathbone.

SA Rugby confirmed on Tuesday night that the Bulls’ match against the Lions scheduled for Loftus Versfeld on Saturday has, at this stage, been postponed due to four players and one member of the medical staff testing positive for Covid. It is now up to the Lions and SA Rugby to see if the match can be rescheduled.

Rathbone, while accepting that the matter is now out of the Bulls’ hands, is hopeful that the game will still go ahead. The Bulls, although they were arguably the best club team in the world back then, also did not get to play against the Lions in 2009 for what can only be described as some arcane SA Rugby in-house political issue when it came to drawing up the schedule.

“It’s a big disappointment for the players because they were very excited to play, but the positive, the good news for the players, is that it is not cancelled and at this stage they are looking at a postponement, so there is a bit of hope. It depends on the date fitting into both the Lions and Currie Cup schedules. The Lions only come every 12 years but the Currie Cup runs on log-points, so it’s a tight balance.

“One option is the Tuesday before the first Test [July 20], but we have three Currie Cup games in the space of just about a week then. Playing midweek games between Tests has not been scheduled before. But the tour is definitely not in jeopardy, the Sharks are already in their bubble and will play the Lions on Wednesday night.

“After that the Lions play against SA A and the Stormers in Cape Town where there are much lower Covid numbers. Logically, with the Lions then in their bubble in Cape Town, our game if rescheduled will most probably happen in the Cape,” Rathbone said on Tuesday night.

And it’s not as if the Bulls are an island of infectivity either, because SA Rugby have confirmed that four more Springbok players (Marvin Orie, Frans Steyn, Handre Pollard and Frans Malherbe) plus six of their management team, including head coach Jacques Nienaber, as well as four Georgia players, have tested positive.

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    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.


↑ Top