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Ken Borland



T20 auctions will be searching for Klaasen, as he showcases new game with pared down options 0

Posted on September 15, 2023 by Ken

Heinrich Klaasen heaves another boundary in his record-breaking innings against Australia.

Heinrich Klaasen ensured that he will remain one of the most sought-after players in whatever T20 league auctions he wishes to put his name forward for with a breathtaking, extraordinary innings at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday that blew Australia away and allowed South Africa to level the ODI series at 2-2.

Klaasen plundered 174 off just 83 deliveries to lead the Proteas, who had been sent in to bat, to an imposing 416 for five. Australia were then bowled out for 252, as South Africa registered their second biggest victory over their great rivals, triumphing by 164 runs.

The first half of the Proteas innings was a cautious affair as the top-order never seemed entirely sure what a two-paced pitch that also provided some nibble off the seam was going to do. After 25 overs, the score was 120 for two, Quinton de Kock (45), Reeza Hendricks (28) and Rassie van der Dussen (62 off 65 balls) having done a fine job in laying a solid platform.

The first ball of the 26th over saw Aiden Markram (8) caught at extra cover off Michael Neser, bringing Klaasen to the crease. Even though he breezed to a 38-ball half-century, he did not look as though he had hit top gear.

In fact, as Klaasen said later, it was actually Van der Dussen’s aggression that provided the spark. The pair of Pretoria-born batsmen had added 74 off 59 balls for the fourth wicket when Van der Dussen was caught behind attacking Josh Hazlewood, leaving South Africa on 194 for four in the 35th over.

What followed was utter mayhem as Klaasen and David Miller (82 not out off 45 balls) lashed another 222 runs off just 100 deliveries, including a scarcely-believable 173 runs in the last 10 overs. From eyeing 300 to hoping for 350 and then totally exceeding that too, it was an onslaught that brought back memories of the famous 438 game against the same rivals down the road at the Wanderers in 2006.

Remarkably, the Australian attack actually did not bowl as badly as the figures suggest. It was just that whatever plan they came up with for the rampant Klaasen, the 32-year-old had an answer and it almost always involved a boundary. He hit 13 fours and 13 sixes in less than two hours of batting. Middle-stump yorkers were blasted back over bowlers’ heads; full and wide deliveries were steered with an open blade over backward point.

And, counter-intuitively given how he seemed to have a shot for every delivery, Klaasen said his success these last couple of years is down to him actually decreasing the number of options he employs.

“In the last few years, the turning point for me has been taking a lot of options out of my bag. When I was young, you look up to a guy like AB de Villiers and you try and play all the shots.

“But the genius is in knowing when to play them. Like a golfer who’s trying to hit the green every time, you have to stick to the game-plan and use the right clubs. Now I have three different options for every game and I play every ball as it is, I don’t try and recap the previous ball.

“I didn’t know how many sixes I had hit, which shows I was only focused on the next moment, my mind was in the right space. I went through a bad phase in my career when I was taking a risk too early in my innings and I ended up being dropped from the Proteas.

“I came back to my domestic team [Titans] and my coaches [Mark Boucher, Richard das Neves and Matthew Reuben] said I’m using too many options. Richard and Matthew have done lots of work throwing thousands of balls at me, and Albie Morkel has also given me some great ideas,” Klaasen said on Friday night.

The willingness to avail himself of advice was also backed by an enormous amount of work in the nets.

“I never used to be one for hitting a lot of balls, but I had to because I had to invest in my batting. I developed a blueprint in training and it’s still working. Now I stand still and watch the ball and almost just let my body take over with what I’ve practised. It also involves a lot of homework on the opposition, it’s all about options and taking what’s on offer from the bowlers,” Klaasen said.

In the field, the Proteas were also much improved up front with the new ball. Lungi Ngidi removed both David Warner (12) and Mitchell Marsh (6) in the first five overs, and his final figures of four for 51 in eight overs were a welcome return to form for him.

The dangerous Travis Head was struck twice on the hand by the pacy but inconsistent Gerald Coetzee, and retired hurt for 17 off 11 balls, and it fell to wicketkeeper Alex Carey to try and keep things going with the bat for Australia.

Although never ahead of the steep required run-rate, the tourists were also not too far behind and when the towering frame of Tim David (35) began unveiling the big hits in a stand of 72 off 53 balls with Carey, it looked possible that the Proteas might still be involved in a close finish.

But Ngidi returned to remove David, Markram taking an excellent running catch at extra cover, and Kagiso Rabada then wrapped things up with three for 41 in 7.5 overs. Carey was the last wicket to fall, Rabada denying him a century when he had him caught behind gloving a hook for 99 off 77 deliveries.

The Proteas have discovered a new lease on life in the last two matches, setting up a series-decider at the Wanderers on Sunday. With Klaasen and Markram riding high after their extraordinary centuries in Potchefstroom and Centurion, and the rest of the batsmen in the runs too, the batting unit will go to the World Cup in good shape.

Spinner Keshav Maharaj, Ngidi and Rabada were impressive with the ball and the bowling attack will want to build on the progress shown.

In the meantime, Klaasen can bask in the glory of what he said was the sort of innings that only comes around once or twice in a career.

That’s how special it was.

‘Pretty weak performance’ – Elgar’s prim & proper criticism of Proteas 0

Posted on August 31, 2023 by Ken

Proteas captain Dean Elgar admitted to having to bite his tongue at times after the second Test capitulation against Australia, as well as believing in positive affirmation for his team, but when he described their innings-and-182-run thrashing at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday as a “pretty weak performance”, it was prim and proper criticism.

South Africa struggled to 204 all out in 68.5 overs on Friday, Australia having piled up 575 for eight declared in response to the tourists’ inadequate 189 in the first innings, to lose the series 2-0, and their lack of fight with the bat was not befitting a team with their legacy in Australia, where they have won their last three Test rubbers.

“It was a pretty weak performance in conditions that were in favour of really good Test cricket,” Elgar said. “It’s pretty disappointing how we ended up when I wanted to see us really give the Aussies a fight, really value our wickets.

“We showed a lot more character with ball in hand, even though they batted us into the ground. There was not as much character in our batting and it is tough to digest.

“But we need to keep going, I still believe in positive affirmation for my team and the guys that are here are talented cricketers and hardened first-class players, just not at international level.

“You’ve got to believe that you are just one knock away from finding form and I keep reminding them that they are not crap cricketers. We’ll be playing for the badge and the pride of the team in the third Test,” Elgar said.

Temba Bavuma, who provided most of the resistance on Friday with a 201-minute innings of 65, told SuperSport after the game that the hunger David Warner had shown in scoring 200 before retiring with severe cramps was the sort of example the Proteas batsmen needed to follow.

“The batting is a worry, it was not good enough on probably one of the better pitches we’ve played on recently. Australia showed it, with Warner really making it count, but unfortunately we could not put anything of substance together,” Bavuma said.

“Australia have done things right, while we have not done it for long periods. Warner started with good intensity, he put the bowlers under pressure, scored at every opportunity and, most importantly, made it count to the point of almost putting himself in hospital. He showed what is required,” Bavuma said.

SA batsmen yet again fail to do the business 0

Posted on August 31, 2023 by Ken

South Africa’s batsmen yet again failed to do the business as they were bowled out for just 204 to lose the second Test against Australia by a massive innings and 182 runs and with it the series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday.

The Proteas barely survived to the final session as a depleted Australian attack wrapped up their second innings in 68.5 overs, one ball longer than their dismal first innings, left-arm quick Mitchell Starc setting the tone as he bowled through the pain of a dislocated finger. It was only some lusty blows at the end of the innings by Lungi Ngidi (19) and a last-wicket stand of 27 with Anrich Nortje (8*) that ended the desperate run of seven successive totals of less than 200.

Temba Bavuma was the one South African batsman to build an innings, scoring 65 in 201 minutes off 144 balls, but he was also complicit in two disastrous run outs which epitomised the slapdash nature of their performances in Australia.

Having lost overnight batsmen Sarel Erwee, trapped lbw for 21 by a searing Starc yorker, and Theunis de Bruyn (28), who was well-taken by Steve Smith at first slip after Scott Boland found the shoulder of his bat with some steepling bounce, South Africa plunged to 65 for four before lunch with the run out of Khaya Zondo for just a single.

Bavuma pushed Pat Cummins straight to cover and ran, with Zondo ball-watching at the non-striker’s end and well-beaten by Travis Head’s direct hit.

The second run out was just as farcical as Bavuma left Keshav Maharaj (13) stranded halfway down the pitch on a third run, Starc collecting the boundary throw from Marnus Labuschagne and throwing down the stumps at the wicketkeeper’s end.

Bavuma and Kyle Verreynne were the brokers of some respite for the Proteas as they added 63 for the fifth wicket. But Boland broke the stand in the third over after lunch as Verreynne (33) erred in playing across the line of an in-ducker and was trapped lbw.

Bavuma eventually lost concentration and was caught off a wild slog-sweep against off-spinner Nathan Lyon, so his wait for a second Test century continues, but he had batted with great determination and played some fine strokes mixed with solid defence.

Odds against SA as they try to avoid ‘4-day franchise game’ in 2nd Test 0

Posted on August 21, 2023 by Ken

The odds are stacked high against South Africa as their batsmen face trying to avoid turning the second Test versus Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground into something akin to a four-day franchise game, ending the third day still needing 371 runs to avoid an innings defeat.

The Proteas batted for just seven overs in their second innings on Wednesday, but in that time they lost captain Dean Elgar, caught down the leg-side for a duck. Sarel Erwee (7*) and Theunis de Bruyn (6*) then took them to 15 for one when rain stopped play at 4.21pm local time.

Mitchell Starc, bleeding from the finger he dislocated in the field on the first day, swung the ball prodigiously, but it was captain Pat Cummins who grabbed the wicket as he bowled three successive maidens.

The bowlers have been through one of their toughest tests as Australia piled on 575 for eight declared, their biggest total against South Africa since they smashed 652 for seven declared at the Wanderers in 2002. It meant the Proteas conceded a monstrous 386-run first-innings lead.

Anrich Nortje produced a thrilling double-strike in his second over of the day as he bowled Travis Head for a dashing 51, shaping the ball back into the left-hander. That brought second-day hero David Warner back to the crease, the left-hander celebrating his 100th Test having retired hurt with severe cramps upon reaching his epic 200*.

But Nortje, whose tremendous fast bowling the previous day had thrilled the MCG crowd almost as much as Warner’s innings, bowled the veteran opener first ball back with an excellent yorker.

Cummins survived the hat-trick ball but was then caught behind off Kagiso Rabada for 4. With Cameron Green and Starc both nursing hand injuries, South Africa may have expected to wrap the innings up quickly as Nathan Lyon came to the crease with Australia on 400 for six, leading by 211.

But Lyon batted brightly to score 25 off 17 balls as he and Alex Carey put on a quickfire 40, and the wicketkeeper/batsman carried on in exhilarating fashion to an exciting maiden Test century, one that ensured Australia enjoyed an insurmountable lead.

With Green surprisingly returning to the crease with a fractured finger and defending stoutly, Carey feasted on the tired bowling on a flat pitch, scoring a superb 111 off 149 balls before offering a return catch to Marco Jansen as he tried to withdraw his bat from a steepling, tennis-ball bounce lifter from the left-arm quick.

Green became more fluent the longer he was at the crease, but his 51 not out was still a grind, albeit a brave one, coming off 177 deliveries in 224 minutes.

Having bowled themselves into the ground, South Africa’s bowlers eventually received some respite when Australia declared shortly before tea, having batted for 145 overs. Nortje earned immense respect for his effort as he finished with three for 92 in 25 overs.

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    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.

     



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