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Ken Borland



Former Protea’s outstanding catch, off Joburg-born bowler, breaks millions of South African hearts 0

Posted on February 06, 2023 by Ken

When former Protea Roelof van der Merwe let out a fervent roar of celebration after his outstanding catch, off the bowling of Johannesburg-born Brandon Glover, to take the key wicket of David Miller, it was unlikely he felt much regret for the millions of hearts that were breaking back in South Africa as the Proteas made a shock exit from the T20 World Cup, losing to qualifiers the Netherlands by 13 runs.

Chasing 159 for victory, South Africa had slipped to 111/4 after 15 overs and their hopes rested on Miller, their finisher supreme. The experienced left-hander had gone to 17 when he top-edged a pull at Glover and Van der Merwe scrambled backwards from short fine leg, and dived to take a superb catch.

Glover, who took 3/9 in his two overs, then had Wayne Parnell caught behind three balls later for a duck and, when Heinrich Klaasen (21) was caught at cow-corner off medium-pacer Bas de Leede in the 18th over, South Africa were all but buried. They limped to 145/8 in the end.

The Netherlands deserve full credit for their amazing victory, bowling and fielding with tremendous tenacity.

South Africa began their chase tentatively as Quinton de Kock (13) and Temba Bavuma (20) both just scored at a run-a-ball and the Proteas could only score 39/2 in the powerplay.

Rilee Rossouw (25 off 19) looked threatening before he pulled Glover straight to deep square-leg and Aiden Markram (17) sent a leading edge, well taken by a diving Stephan Myburgh, to cover off the excellent Fred Klaassen (4-0-20-2).

The dismissal encapsulated what the Netherlands did so well – taking pace off the ball and using variations, which caused the Proteas to really struggle to score freely.

It was something the Proteas attack failed to do and there can be no sympathy for their lack of awareness and adaptability to the conditions, which allowed the Netherlands to post a competitive 158/4 after they had been sent in to bat.

The outstanding Anrich Nortje (4-0-10-1) and Keshav Maharaj (4-0-27-2) apart, the Proteas attack simply lacked intensity and it was the Netherlands who seized the initiative from the start.

Pretoria-born Stephan Myburgh belted 37 off 30 balls, with fellow opener Max O’Dowd providing valuable support with 29 in an opening stand of 58 in eight-and-a-half overs.

Tom Cooper blasted 35 off 19 deliveries and another South African expat, Colin Ackermann, provided the finishing touches to the winning total with his brilliant 41 not out off 26 balls. The former Eastern Cape star also bowled three overs of probing off-spin for just 16 runs, keeping the left-handers quiet.

This time the Proteas could not blame anything outside of their own control – there was no rain, no freakish misfortune – for failing to make the semi-finals.

They defied history by choosing to bat first on a pitch that was only going to slow down and their whole mindset seemed incredibly soft when so much was on the line.

Proteas enter ODI series with mass of expectation on their shoulders 0

Posted on September 13, 2021 by Ken

The Proteas enter an ODI series in Sri Lanka on Thursday and once again there is a mass of expectation on their shoulders as they look to not only win on the field but somehow also win over the hearts of the many people who are deeply dismayed by what has been going on in South African cricket lately.

One can sympathise with captain Temba Bavuma as he looks to juggle all these demands that range from socio-economic issues that plague the country as a whole to how to deal with turning pitches on the subcontinent.

South Africa’s struggles with that are well-known and they have not won an ODI series since beating Australia 18 months ago, which means they are currently outside the top eight in the race to pre-qualify for the next World Cup. And they have not won an ODI series overseas in nearly three years – again it was Australia who succumbed to the Proteas, in November 2018.

“It seems these days whenever we play there’s always something brought up that we haven’t done,” Bavuma lamented on Wednesday. “Our main aim is to win series, to try and accumulate as many points as we can to qualify for the 50-over World Cup, and we are here in foreign conditions and we don’t focus on the past, but we do learn from it. I’ve only been in this role for two series – against Pakistan and the Ireland series that was affected by the weather.

“We still have a lot to overcome as a team, there’s the stuff going on behind closed doors, but our responsibility is to make sure that what we do on the field meets a certain standard. Winning is where our minds are at and our conversations are largely centred around how we can play our best cricket. We don’t need to get involved in external matters,” Bavuma said.

The Proteas are also missing key players in Quinton de Kock, David Miller and Lungi Ngidi. The absence of De Kock means either Aiden Markram or Reeza Hendricks will open the batting with Janneman Malan, with Heinrich Klaasen or Kyle Verreynne taking the gloves; both could play as they did in South Africa’s last ODI, a thumping 70-run win over Ireland that levelled the series.

But there are also empty chairs to be filled in the management room with bowling coach Charl Langeveldt not able to travel due to Covid quarantine and assistant coach Enoch Nkwe having resigned.

“It’s our first tour without Enoch and it’s quite a big loss, especially on the tactical and strategic side. He was a good sounding board for me, someone I could test my ideas with, and we had experience of working together at domestic level. But life goes on and there’s not much we can do about it. As far as his reasons go, as a team we have not heard from Enoch himself.

“There has been a lot of speculation, but I’m sure he’s rooting for us. For it to be said there was something wrong with our team culture and environment, makes me feel … I haven’t had the opportunity for a formal discussion with him, so I would like to sit down and unpack it all with him, hear from him first. I will take what he says on board and discuss it amongst the team,” Bavuma said.

Sympathy for Bavuma as Proteas have mass of expectation to win on & off field 0

Posted on September 01, 2021 by Ken

The Proteas enter an ODI series in Sri Lanka on Thursday and once again there is a mass of expectation on their shoulders as they look to not only win on the field but somehow also win over the hearts of the many people who are deeply dismayed by what has been going on in South African cricket lately.

One can sympathise with captain Temba Bavuma as he looks to juggle all these demands that range from socio-economic issues that plague the country as a whole to how to deal with turning pitches on the subcontinent.

South Africa’s struggles with that are well-known and they have not won an ODI series since beating Australia 18 months ago, which means they are currently outside the top eight in the race to pre-qualify for the next World Cup. And they have not won an ODI series overseas in nearly three years – again it was Australia who succumbed to the Proteas, in November 2018.

“It seems these days whenever we play there’s always something brought up that we haven’t done,” Bavuma lamented on Wednesday. “Our main aim is to win series, to try and accumulate as many points as we can to qualify for the 50-over World Cup, and we are here in foreign conditions and we don’t focus on the past, but we do learn from it. I’ve only been in this role for two series – against Pakistan and the Ireland series that was affected by the weather.

“We still have a lot to overcome as a team, there’s the stuff going on behind closed doors, but our responsibility is to make sure that what we do on the field meets a certain standard. Winning is where our minds are at and our conversations are largely centred around how we can play our best cricket. We don’t need to get involved in external matters,” Bavuma said.

The Proteas are also missing key players in Quinton de Kock, David Miller and Lungi Ngidi. The absence of De Kock means either Aiden Markram or Reeza Hendricks will open the batting with Janneman Malan, with Heinrich Klaasen or Kyle Verreynne taking the gloves; both could play as they did in South Africa’s last ODI, a thumping 70-run win over Ireland that levelled the series.

But there are also empty chairs to be filled in the management room with bowling coach Charl Langeveldt not able to travel due to Covid quarantine and assistant coach Enoch Nkwe having resigned.

“It’s our first tour without Enoch and it’s quite a big loss, especially on the tactical and strategic side. He was a good sounding board for me, someone I could test my ideas with, and we had experience of working together at domestic level. But life goes on and there’s not much we can do about it. As far as his reasons go, as a team we have not heard from Enoch himself.

“There has been a lot of speculation, but I’m sure he’s rooting for us. For it to be said there was something wrong with our team culture and environment, makes me feel … I haven’t had the opportunity for a formal discussion with him, so I would like to sit down and unpack it all with him, hear from him first. I will take what he says on board and discuss it amongst the team,” Bavuma said.

Sharks’ defence not perfectly aligned but heart certainly in place 0

Posted on May 16, 2016 by Ken

 

The Cell C Sharks’ defences were not as well aligned as usual, but their hearts were certainly in the right place as they showed tremendous determination and spirit to beat the Jaguares 25-22 in their Vodacom SuperRugby match at the Velez Sarfield Stadium in Buenos Aires overnight.

The win has allowed the Sharks to leapfrog the Bulls in the Africa Group and, although they have played an extra game, they are in touching distance of the log-leading Lions and Stormers.

The Sharks started brightly and centres Andre Esterhuizen and Paul Jordaan combined well to earn a penalty which flyhalf Pat Lambie, in his first start this season, pushed wide.

But the Jaguares began dominating possession and they found cracks in a Sharks defence that was not as well organised as it usually is. And the visitors were made to pay in the eighth minute as Joaquin Tuculet slipped through some poor tackles and then passed inside for lock Tomas Lavanini to gallop over for the opening try.

Flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez converted and the Jaguares led 7-0, before Lambie made no mistake with his second kick at goal, a penalty awarded at a scrum for illegal binding, and cut the lead to 7-3 in the 11th minute.

The Sharks were struggling to create try-scoring chances, but the ill-discipline of the passionate Argentinians meant that they were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over via penalties, with Lambie kicking his second in the 16th minute to cut the lead to just one point.

That advantage was stretched again by the Jaguares in the 18th minute, but it was through a controversial try that they were awarded. Scrumhalf Martin Landajo was swung towards the Sharks tryline by lock Lubabalo Mtyanda, but replays showed that he had dotted the ball down short of the line. Sharks fullback Willie le Roux then arrived and dragged the ball out of his grasp, touching it down in-goal in the process.

Referee Marius van der Westhuizen ruled, however, that the try was good, contradicting the views of his TMO.

Sanchez converted and the match was rapidly turning sour for the Sharks as they were 14-6 down, plus they lost flank Jean Deysel to what appeared to be a serious neck injury after he had landed poorly in a collision.

They had earlier lost scrumhalf Michael Claassens shortly before kick-off, meaning Stefan Ungerer was promoted to the starting line-up, but they were without a reserve scrumhalf, with Joe Pietersen forced to fill in in the closing minutes.

An intimidating crowd and the fiery, spoiling efforts of the Jaguares added to the challenges, with the weak officiating also corrupting the contest.

The Sharks did manage to eat away at the Jaguares’ lead though with a pair of Lambie penalties in the 27th and 30th minutes (12-14) and the spoiling efforts at the breakdown by flank Pablo Matera saw him yellow-carded four minutes later.

He had just gone off the field when eighthman Daniel du Preez shrugged off the desperate defensive efforts of the home side to power over the line, Lambie converting for a 19-14 lead.

The Jaguares managed to launch one more attack just before the teams went off for halftime, and the Sharks paid the fee for being trapped offsides as Sanchez kicked a penalty to cut the gap to 17-19.

The Sharks spent much of the second half being more like seals trying to avoid the killer blows of the home side, but they are an exceptionally resilient team and they came away with the spoils despite the numerous obstacles they had to overcome.

The Jaguares are going to be particularly disappointed that they failed to score any points leading up to the final quarter when they bashed away at the tryline and had several dominant scrums before the Sharks managed to come up with crucial shoves at the right time that turned over possession.

If they are going to convert winning positions into actual wins, then the Jaguares are going to have to improve their discipline and their goal-kicking, with both Sanchez and centre Juan Martin Hernandez missing crucial shots at goal in the second half.

Lambie kicked another penalty to stretch the Sharks’ lead to 22-17 after the Jaguares had failed to remove themselves from the 10-yard circle after a poor up-and-under by Landajo, but the visitors were under pressure again going into the last 10 minutes as replacement wing S’bura Sithole was sent from the field, to the sin bin, for offsides.

With eight minutes remaining, loosehead prop Santiago Garcia Botta burrowed over the line for the try that eliminated the Sharks’ lead, but Hernandez pulled his conversion attempt wide to leave the teams locked at 22-22.

The Sharks were under pressure in many scrums, but when it really mattered they managed to produce their best work in that set-piece. This was the case again in the penultimate minute as a big scrum earned a penalty and Lambie kicked the winning points from 40 metres out.

This was by no means a great display of rugby by the Sharks, but it was a tremendous display of heart and a team that has that sort of character will always do well.

Lambie has returned to rugby with aplomb and Lourens Adriaanse has once again shown that he is the kingpin when it comes to scrum time. Stephan Lewies was consistently good once again and has pushed himself into the conversation about potential Springbok locks.

http://www.citizen.co.za/1116355/sharks-defence-leaky-but-heart-still-in-place/

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    Our exuberant joy about God’s goodness to us should cause us to throw ourselves enthusiastically into serving others.

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