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Ken Borland



Bangladesh Tests at same venues where Sri Lanka rocked the cricket universe 0

Posted on March 09, 2022 by Ken

South Africa’s two Tests against Bangladesh at the end of the summer were confirmed on Wednesday as being played at Kingsmead and St George’s Park, which is hardly earth-shattering news. But it is the exact same schedule as in February 2019 when the cricket universe was shaken by Sri Lanka’s 2-0 series win.

The first Test in Durban starts on March 31 and the second Test in Port Elizabeth begins on April 8.

Sri Lanka shocked the Proteas at Kingsmead as they chased down 304 thanks to Kusal Perera’s incredible 153 not out and a 78-run last-wicket stand, and then the tourists won by eight wickets in Port Elizabeth to become the first sub-continental team to win a Test series in South Africa.

The series was the last for legendary fast bowler Dale Steyn and he remembers the uncertainty created by conditions that were unfamiliar for the home team but suited the visitors.

“The Port Elizabeth game was my last Test and we were just desperate to try and knock them over,” Steyn told The Citizen on Wednesday. “We were under pressure and that leads to cloudy minds sometimes.

“But that’s what happens when conditions are not in your favour at home. I think whenever we host a subcontinent team, you kind of want to play them on the Highveld, where there is bounce and seam movement.

“Those are unfamiliar conditions for them and you want to take them out of their comfort zone. But the conditions at Kingsmead and St George’s Park will even things out a bit because Bangladesh will be good on slower pitches.

“Maybe it’s because the Test matches won’t go as long as at SuperSport Park for instance. It will make things a bit more difficult for us, but I still think we well have enough to knock them over,” Steyn said.

One good thing about playing on the coast is that the pitches should be easier for the Proteas batsmen to shine on after a long period when they have not been able to advertise their real abilities at home due to a succession of tough surfaces to bat on.

“The batsmen had a rough time against India, although Dean Elgar was fantastic and Keegan Petersen was phenomenal. And now New Zealand will have seam and swing, if not so much pace and bounce,” Steyn said.

“So conditions should be a little bit more in favour of the batsmen against Bangladesh and our guys will be stoked with that.

“I still think we have a fantastic team, especially if we have our full seam attack with Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada.”

Sharks avenge loss to Griquas, but hardly revenge due to poor performance 0

Posted on September 20, 2021 by Ken

The Sharks avenged their recent home loss to Griquas when they beat them 28-24 in their Currie Cup semi-final at Kings Park on Saturday, but it was hardly sweet revenge because it was a poor performance by the hosts.

The Sharks have therefore booked a place in next weekend’s final against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld, but that will be a daunting prospect if they perform like they did on Saturday evening. Apart from their rolling maul, and staunch defence close to their tryline, there was little else that consistently worked well in the Sharks’ arsenal.

They led 17-9 at halftime but that scoreline flattered them as Griquas had what would have been the try of the match disallowed due to an earlier knock-on, and the Sharks scored a soft try just before halftime when centre Marius Louw burst straight through two tacklers to score under the posts.

The Sharks’ other try came via hooker Kerron van Vuuren at the back of a lineout drive.

Griquas collected three penalties through flyhalf George Whitehead and gained rich reward for swarming all over the breakdowns. The Sharks allowed much of the disruption there because their cleaners were too slow to do their jobs.

By the 50th minute, the Sharks only enjoyed a small three-point lead after outstanding lock Adre Smith scored from close range for Griquas. Brilliant wing Eduan Keyter sparked the attack and showed great hands to send flank Hanru Sirgel charging to just short of the line.

The Sharks had some short-lived relief four minutes later when Van Vuuren scored his second try from the maul, but for the rest of the second half it was their own errors that forced them into grim defence.

Despite Louw receiving a yellow card in the 70th minute, and Griquas pounding on the tryline, the Sharks defence showed great determination to keep them out. Fullback Curwin Bosch, who had earlier had a penalty disallowed because he took too long, slotted a crucial long-range penalty in the 73rd minute to stretch that lead to 28-17.

Griquas eventually got a maul rumbling over the line in the 79th minute, replacement lock Johan Momsen scoring a try that gave them a small glimmer of hope.

But Griquas could not exit from the restart and the Sharks were able to triumph, but the celebrations will be muted.

Scorers

SharksTries: Kerron van Vuuren (2), Marius Louw. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2). Penalties: Bosch (3).

GriquasTries: Adre Smith, Johan Momsen. Conversion: George Whitehead. Penalties: Whitehead (4).

Rabada aims to guide the young pups with his own management agency 0

Posted on September 06, 2021 by Ken

Kagiso Rabada is hardly a veteran of the cricket scene at just 26 years old, but he has been around for a while and, with an extremely wise and mature head on his shoulders, he is already finding ways to give back to the young pups rising not only in his chosen sport but in all spheres of athletic and artistic endeavour.
Rabada will lanch his own talent management agency on Saturday – KGR Sports and Entertainment, a combined effort with Ashley Kotzin, the CEO of ForwardZone, a 22-year-old company also in the field of talent management in the sports and arts.
“KGR is all about collaborations and networks, both locally and globally. With Ashley, who has more than 20 years experience in this field, we have access to lots of networks and it’s about building and leveraging those. Managing sports people is about much more than just signing a contract, it’s about leveraging the off-the-field opportunities as much as possible.
“We want to combine the on-field and off-field product and make it great for any athlete or artist. A lot of pieces need to come together for that and it has always been an interest of mine to be involved in the corporate space, this is something I’ve always wanted to explore. I think I can do it from a different perspective,” Rabada told Saturday Citizen on Friday.
Rabada not only has the pace and skill to stun opposition batsmen but also the business nous to impress someone with the expertise of Kotzin.
“What is true of KG as a person – and as a brand – is that he is multi-dimensional, multi-talented and so much more than just an on-field hero. He is also a leader and creator off of it. We are excited about being a part of all of the ways in which KG expresses himself – as an athlete, as a leader, as a creative, as a savvy businessman and community builder.
“His competitive edge, drive to succeed and his profile in the international sports arena are key elements to the growth and success of KGR. We are proud to have KG as a partner in this business, and look forward to walking a special journey with him. The confident and competitive athlete you see on the field is the same in business,” Kotzin said.

Bulls’ loss hardly a terrible blow – Jake 0

Posted on December 15, 2020 by Ken

A phlegmatic Jake White said the Bulls’ loss to the Sharks in Durban at the weekend was hardly a terrible blow to their Currie Cup chances and he still believes his side are sitting pretty in the competition.

The Bulls were pipped 32-29, with Morne Steyn missing a relatively straightforward penalty after the final hooter for the draw, but White is right, his team are still in a strong position. They are five points clear at the top of the log, with matches against Griquas, the Lions and Pumas to come.

The win did a lot for the Sharks, however, who are in second place, with a game in hand over the Bulls. But Western Province and the Lions have played as many matches as the Bulls and are seven and eight points behind respectively.

“This doesn’t change our plan at all, we’ll put the game behind us as a wasted chance, but the margins are so small. It’s a long season and we will learn from it, but I’m very happy where we are. Our destiny is still in our hands and who would have thought that six months ago? What’s important is that we get to January 23 and win the final that day.

“So I’m not worried, we are playing good rugby but we wasted chances today, that will happen with a young squad that has only been together for six months and half of that was in Lockdown. You can see the disappointment in the guy’s faces in the changeroom, you can see losing means a lot to them. Going into halftime 14-9 down it was obviously very pleasing to take the lead, but you’ve got to make sure you get the win at the end of the day,” White said after the Kings Park thriller.

White paid credit to the Sharks for their much-improved display at the breakdown, where they made life much harder for the Bulls compared to when they were hammered 41-14 at Loftus Versfeld in October in Super Rugby Unlocked.

“They slowed down our ball so we couldn’t get much momentum, they had obviously relooked at how they defend at the breakdown, so credit to them. We did not get as much quick ball as in the last game, the Sharks’ breakdown game obviously went up a notch which is why we struggled to get momentum.

“But we can only blame ourselves for losing four balls in our own 22 at the end, twice through not controlling the kickoff properly and we also lost two lineouts. The Sharks stood in our lineout and listened in on our calls, which was amazing to see, but [replacement hooker] Schalk Erasmus has been injured since the Green and Gold game [October 3], so it’s understandable it was difficult for him to find his locks,” White said.

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