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Ken Borland

Lions hunting intensity like a dieter trying to increase metabolism 0

Posted on July 08, 2024 by Ken

Like a dieter trying to increase their metabolism, our DP World Lions men’s team have been hunting increased intensity in the field in the CSA T20 Challenge and the Pride certainly reached their goal in the Western Cape over the last week.

An impressive and commanding nine-wicket win over the Boland Rocks last weekend in Paarl was followed on Wednesday night by an even more tremendous, record-breaking triumph over Western Province at Newlands.

On a memorable evening for the #PrideOfJozi, they hammered WP by 132 runs, the biggest ever victory margin in the history of the competition. Having scored 213 for two, their highest ever T20 total against their traditional rivals, the DP World Lions then bundled the home side out for just 81. The record-breaking effort erases the Lions’ own previous mark for the heaviest defeat, having been beaten by 130 runs by the Eagles in Potchefstroom in 2004/5.

Having now secured second place with a five-point lead over Western Province, it all sets the DP World Lions up beautifully for their clash with the HollywoodBets Dolphins in Johannesburg on Friday night.

While there were superb individual performances from Ryan Rickelton (73 off 46), Reeza Hendricks (90 off 49), Lutho Sipamla (3-1-14-3) and Nqaba Peter (2.3-1-7-4 – the third-best figures ever for the Lions) in Cape Town, coach Russell Domingo was delighted by the lift in intensity by the team as a whole.

“We’ve been wanting to play to our standards and intensity. We have a lot of internationals in our team and with small crowds it can be challenging for them because they’re used to thousands of spectators. So we’ve tried to match our intensity to our own standards and we were crazy good with both bat and ball at Newlands and the fielding was really superb,” Domingo said.

“But the Dolphins have a formidable side with in-form batsmen, pace bowlers and spinners. They beat us in Durban and we’re going to have to be on top of our game, focusing on how we control the game.”

Rickelton and Hendricks, who put on an outstanding 151 for the first wicket – a record for Newlands, have now both climbed into the top six of the batting averages with over 250 runs to their names; only Rubin Hermann of the Dragons has scored more.

Rassie van der Dussen (29* off 18) and Delano Potgieter (14* off 7) then provided the finishing touches to the record total.

“It was good to see the batting fire after what has been a strange campaign with us not batting first a lot and having to chase several low scores. Reeza and Ryan batted superbly and they are both quality batsmen. They are finding a way to get substantial scores now that we’re in the crucial stages of the competition,” Domingo said.

Lutho Sipamla and Tshepo Moreki then backed up the batting effort by bowling superbly with the new ball, reducing WP to 38 for four in the powerplay, Sipamla being rewarded with career-best figures.

“Lutho and Tshepo were fantastic and they bowled really good Test lengths, they were aggressive and the pitch did a bit at night. I anticipate the DP World Wanderers wicket also doing a bit against the Dolphins, there’s a bit of rain around, it’s late in the season and there’s a chill in the air. We’ll have to assess and adapt to that as well,” Domingo said.

With the increased pressure, Peter ripped through the remaining batsmen, baffling them with his flat leg-spin and changes of pace. Following on from his three for 14 against the Rocks, the 22-year-old has now taken seven wickets for 38 runs in eight-and-a-half overs and is top of the bowling averages.

“Nqaba bowled brilliantly, his discipline and control was really good,” Domingo said. “He only took up leg-spin a couple of years ago, so it is still a new art for him and he has a long way to go, but he is a really promising talent. He has coaches around him who have learnt from the very best leg-spinners, they give Nqaba feedback in terms of how they were set up as batsmen and he is understanding the nuances of the skill,” Domingo said.

Having kept Western Province in third place on the log, the DP World Lions will now be out to ensure the Dolphins stay fourth, currently 11 points behind them. A third victory in a row for our Pride will also close the gap on the log-leading Warriors to just a handful of points.

Frustrating draw will ensure Lions bring ferocious intensity into Titans derby 0

Posted on April 03, 2024 by Ken

A frustrating draw against the GBets Rocks last weekend will ensure that the DP World Lions men’s team will bring a ferocious intensity into their local derby against the Momentum Multiply Titans at Centurion from Wednesday as they chase a place in the CSA 4-Day Series final.

Our Lions were in rampant form against the Rocks at the DP World Wanderers Stadium, a fine all-round bowling effort seeing the Bolanders bowled out for just 226 on the first day. The Pride then gathered a formidable 252-run first-innings lead as captain Dominic Hendricks led from the front with an innings of great determination and quality bringing him 135 runs. Wiaan Mulder then blazed 141 off 128 balls and there were also classy half-centuries from Ryan Rickelton and Temba Bavuma.

The Lions then reduced the Rocks to 36 for three in their second innings, raising hopes of a victory that would have taken them to the top of the log. But tremendous rearguard centuries by Pieter Malan and Jean du Plessis, and an 84 not out on debut by Nathan Engelbrecht, denied the Lions as the pitch seemed to just get better and better for batting.

Nevertheless, our Pride are still very much in contention for a place in the final, third in the standings on 95.50 points. They are just 8.02 points behind the log-leading Dolphins, so if they beat the Titans (102pts) this week then they are bound to finish in the top two.

“It’s just one of those things,” Hendricks said. “The pitch didn’t really deteriorate, there was just a little bit of variable bounce. So it was a phenomenal effort to take 19 wickets on a batting-friendly surface. It showed good skills and a desire not to turn down a challenge, so I was very chuffed for the bowlers and their monumental effort.

“It’s knockout cricket against the Titans, like a semi-final with the winners having the opportunity to play in the final. It’s the Jukskei derby and we will be up for it, matches against them are always a challenge, a good test of skills and the big thing is to be highly competitive for as long as possible.

“But it’s not rocket science, we will need to play good, old-fashioned cricket against them, good simple cricket. We will try to force mistakes and then capitalise on them. Even if we win on the fourth day, we will be happy, and we won’t worry about what the other teams are doing,” Hendricks said.

The left-handed opener admitted to some personal frustration this season before notching his first century of the campaign against the Rocks, more than doubling his tally of runs.

“It’s been a while since I scored a first-class century, I’ve had quite a few opportunities over the last couple of seasons which I didn’t convert, so it’s been very frustrating.

“So there was certainly some inward determination and grit to make sure that ‘today was the day’. There was not a helluva lot of assistance for the bowlers, unlike some of the tricky wickets at the beginning of the season, so I just wanted to knuckle down, get stuck in and bat for as long as I can,” Hendricks said.

Pace bowler Lutho Sipamla seems to have proven his fitness by bowling several spells during breaks in play against the Rocks. The condition of the Centurion pitch will determine whether he is brought back into the XI, however.

“The SuperSport Park pitch has generally done a bit more than the Wanderers this season, and it’s quicker with more bounce. So it will be a nice challenge,” Hendricks said.

England’s aggressive approach an obvious factor; Proteas need lift of intensity 0

Posted on August 24, 2022 by Ken

The aggressive approach of the English is an obvious factor the Proteas are going to have to deal with when their ODI series gets underway at Chester-le-Street on Tuesday and paceman Lungi Ngidi says South Africa will need to bring a lift of intensity to counter the home side.

England’s approach to batting seems to be to go all-out attack from the outset and 350 seems to be the par score they have in mind whatever the conditions.

“England are definitely going to put us under pressure,” Ngidi said on Sunday. “They do put bowling line-ups under pressure and we have to play with a tempo and in the way we need. Our batsmen have had to tune in and shift their mindset and they will attempt to do the same.

“Everyone is pretty much mentally ready, we know what England will bring and we’ve got to lift our intensity. As bowlers, if we can get early wickets and put their batting line-up under pressure then anything can happen.

“We played here in the World Cup and we’ve seen the conditions this week – lots of cloud cover overhead and the ball moves around a bit. That gives confidence to the bowlers,” Ngidi said.

With the batsmen coming full tilt at you as the bowler, the 26-year-old Ngidi knows he is going to have to bring all his variations to the party.

“We’ll take any assistance we can get. You try to assess the conditions and after the first two overs you know what the pitch will give you and you’ve delivered pretty much all your balls.

“If you bowl at just one pace then the batsmen get used to it, they can free their arms and get that free-flowing momentum. You play a mental game with the batsmen, especially if you can disguise your cutters well.

“I’ve practised them well and I’m confident I can use them in the powerplay. I have a senior role with the ball, I would love to lead the attack and hopefully lots of wickets will come my way,” Ngidi said.

SA sides chasing playoff spots must go for high intensity – Hamilton 0

Posted on May 17, 2022 by Ken

As three South African sides chase playoff spots in the last three rounds of United Rugby Championship round-robin action, one of the northern hemisphere’s star enforcers of the previous decade has said the high intensity of their play rather than a push to play expansive rugby is what will bring success for the Stormers, Sharks and Bulls.

Jim Hamilton is currently a pundit for Premier Sports but he played 63 Tests for Scotland and was a second-row star for teams like Leicester, Gloucester and Saracens. And he is a big fan of South African rugby.

“I always say for any team, if you’re struggling to get go-forward, go and get some South Africans,” Hamilton said in a URC media briefing on Monday. “South Africans are taking over as the best players in the world.

“I’ve been surprised by how much rugby the South African teams have played: they go wide from their own half, or straight from a scrum. But the European teams are still leading the charge in terms of the stats for tries scored, carries and defenders beaten. So why don’t they just play ball-in-hand against the South Africans?

“Well it’s hard to play in those conditions, they definitely have an effect, altitude hits you like a brick wall. I saw guys who were absolutely bollocked with the hands on their knees.

“But the game now is so driven by percentages and when the South African teams come over to Europe and decide not to play how they do in the Currie Cup but more like their national team, focusing more on territory and playing in the right areas, then they will become incredibly dangerous,” Hamilton said.

The former Scotland stalwart admitted to being frustrated by the poor start the South African teams made to the URC, but now that they have been back on home turf, they have been rampant

“South African players are the whole package – robust, the humility they bring, and they are hard; everything around them is just rugby. If I was a coach, I would go look there for players. It’s unquestionable that every single one of them in Europe has been a roaring success.

“But the South African teams were a bit of a disappointment at the start. We all said how positive their inclusion was, but then it was not how we thought it would be. But a lot of it had to do with the changes brought by Covid.

“They definitely struggled around the referees over here and their interpretations, it felt like they were playing for the sake of playing. I don’t think they got a fair shot then and it was always going to take a while for them to bed in to the competition.

“But now their results are speaking for themselves, now that they are fully loaded and taking the tournament seriously. Don’t just judge them on this year, but now we’ve seen the URC works,” Hamilton said.

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