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Ken Borland



Like an actor ascending to the lead role, Maphaka claims the Wanderers as his own stage 0

Posted on June 10, 2024 by Ken

Like an actor ascending to the lead role, Kwena Maphaka made the famous DP World Wanderers Stadium his own stage on Sunday as he bowled the Pride to a Super Over victory over old rivals World Sports Betting Western Province in their CSA T20 Challenge match.

After a rain-interrupted game was tied during the regular 20 overs each, Maphaka defended 10 runs in the Super Over, against two experienced internationals in Kyle Verreynne and George Linde, conceding just nine runs. The 17-year-old, still in school doing his matric year at St Stithians, bowled beautifully full and straight, and was in no way overawed by a task that has turned more experienced bowlers into jelly.

It meant back-to-back one-run wins for the DP World Lions men’s team as they also edged the Momentum Multiply Titans by one run on Friday night in a thrilling Jukskei Derby. The two sensational wins mean the Lions remain second on the log, well in-touch with the leaders, the Dafabet Warriors.

Western Province decided to bat first, but the DP World Lions bowlers were wonderfully disciplined and accurate, restricting the visitors to 127 for nine.

Pacemen Lutho Sipamla (4-0-20-2) and Codi Yusuf (4-0-28-2) were the bowlers who did the most damage, but fellow seamers Maphaka (4-1-27-1) and Evan Jones (3-0-20-1), and spinner Bjorn Fortuin (4-0-22-1) were all excellent too.

But the afternoon thunderstorm that covered a large tract of Johannesburg then arrived at the DP World Wanderers Stadium between innings and definitely did not help the Lions.

After an hour-long delay, the Lions were set a revised target of 81 in 11 overs and were going well on 27 without loss in 3.5 overs, needing just 54 more to win off 43 balls, when the threat of lightning forced the umpires to suspend play again.

After 25 minutes, play resumed with the DP World Lions set another revised target of 52 in seven overs, meaning they needed 25 off 19 balls. That was then whittled down to eight runs required from the final over, and then one run from one ball. But veteran WP seamer Wayne Parnell bowled the last ball exactly where he needed to with his tight off-side field, and Reeza Hendricks (12) was caught at extra cover. That left the scores tied, which was why there was a Super Over to decide where the four log points were going.

Ryan Rickelton and Jones managed to get 10 runs off Parnell, and then Maphaka stepped up and delivered an over that was worthy of the cacophonous acclaim from the DP World Wanderers Stadium, worthy of the brass band in attendance and not vuvuzelas.

The #PrideOfJozi were sent in to bat by the Titans in Friday night’s game and were in early trouble on 54 for four in the ninth over. But a partnership of 81 off 57 balls between Wiaan Mulder (48) and Mitchell van Buuren (37*), and then the big finish provided by Delano Potgieter’s 32 not out off just 15 deliveries would have had Lions fans celebrating from Sandton City to the Oriental Plaza to Walter Sisulu Square.

Having posted 183 for five, the DP World Lions then had the mettle and the execution to keep the Titans to 182 for six.

The Titans chase revolved around Rivaldo Moonsamy’s 88 off 62 balls, but Codi Yusuf had him caught at midwicket in the 17th over for the crucial breakthrough.

Maphaka then only conceded four runs in the 18th over, while claiming the wicket of the dangerous Dayyaan Galiem, and the pace and skill of Yusuf and Kagiso Rabada (4-0-24-1) then finished the deal.

Fortuin was once again outstanding with two for 23 in his four overs.

The Pride will be back in action again on Saturday as they take on the AET Tuskers from KwaZulu-Natal Inland on Saturday at the DP World Wanderers Stadium.

Reto starts like a fish out of water, but then all goes swimmingly 0

Posted on April 09, 2024 by Ken

SUN CITY, North-West – United States-based South African Paula Reto may have looked a bit like a fish out of water when she bogeyed the second and third holes on the second day of the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International on Thursday, but the rest of her round at the Lost City Golf Club then went swimmingly as she claimed a share of the lead.

Reto went on a run of five birdies in six holes from the fifth hole, and then added back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes, before returning from a lightning break with another gain on the 17th. Her superb six-under-par 66 lifted her to eight-under overall and she will go into the final round tied for the lead with India’s Tvesa Malik, who fired a stunning 65.

The 33-year-old Reto won this tournament in 2022, but it was then played at the Gary Player Country Club. But after a tough 2023 campaign on the LPGA Tour, Reto is in a good frame of mind back in her home country, and it showed in her ability to bounce back from two early setbacks on Thursday.

“I don’t know what happened really, I hit a bad tee-shot on the second and suddenly I’d gone bogey-bogey. I just said to myself that I must give myself opportunities and fortunately I then managed to get the ball close to the hole a few times, and chipped in on the eighth, which is always nice for your momentum,” Reto said.

“Lost City is completely different to the GPCC, you have to strategise more off the tees, it’s a course that requires more thinking. To be able to bounce back after those two bogeys felt really good and I was very happy that I kept to the plan. I was able to stay on plan and not let the bogeys get to me.

“Last year was tough because I struggled with my swing a bit and I couldn’t string four good rounds together. It starts to take a toll on your confidence and you start to try and change so much all at once.

“So at the start of this year I just tried to hone in on a few things, make sure I do those basics well. I’m happy with where my game is heading and I just love coming back here to South Africa, being with my family and feeling a bit like I’m on vacation,” Reto said.

Getting married on December 29 to fellow Indian professional golfer Ajeetesh Sandhu certainly seems to have bear fruit for Malik as she produced an outstanding, bogey-free round with four birdies on the back nine and then three on the front.

First-round leader Lauren Taylor shot a 70 on Thursday to move to six-under-par, two off the lead, while exciting South African youngster Gabrielle Venter shot 68 on Thursday to move to five-under.

Green Gabba pitch has bowlers lining up like delivery vans 0

Posted on May 31, 2023 by Ken

A greener Gabba pitch than anyone could remember seeing before at Test level had the bowlers lining up like delivery vans outside an online store on Saturday, but Proteas top-scorer Kyle Verreynne said it was actually a good batting wicket in Brisbane on the first day of the first Test against Australia.

Sadly his colleagues did not enjoy the conditions as much as Verreynne, who scored a counter-attacking 64 off 96 balls, as only Temba Bavuma (38) made more than 10 as South Africa were bundled out for just 152.

Australia’s batsmen had problems too as they slipped to 27 for three, but Travis Head, with a tremendous run-a-ball 78 not out, and Steven Smith (36) took them to 145 for five at stumps.

While the pitch has provided seam movement, it has not been excessive and not even particularly consistent. But batsmen were also troubled by some inconsistent bounce and the sharp turn and bounce obtained by Australian spinner Nathan Lyon, who took three for 14 in eight overs.

“I think it’s a really good batting pitch to be honest,” Verreynne said, “and your normal game-plans are good on it. When you see it being so green, you expect the pitch to do so much.

“But it did a lot less than we thought it would. It’s not so soft even with such a thick grass layer, it’s quite firm and there is good pace and bounce.

“The aggressive approach worked for Travis Head and myself, but Steven Smith took his time and batted very nicely too,” Verreynne said.

It was the sort of pitch where being able to land the ball on the proverbial handkerchief on a good length would bring reward. The Proteas pacemen were initially able to do that, inspired by David Warner being dismissed on the first ball of the innings as Kagiso Rabada fired in a pinpoint short ball and Khaya Zondo took a phenomenal catch at short-leg. But as soon as the left-handed Head began shifting the momentum and putting the bowlers under pressure, the visitors’ attack turned ragged for a vital hour late in the day.

“After you’re bowled out for just 152, it’s difficult to get the energies up. So getting a wicket first ball was a massive moment, especially a big player like Warner,” wicketkeeper Verreynne said.

“That got the adrenaline going and our energy was really up for the next 10 overs or so. But unfortunately we fell away a bit after that.

“We’re probably still a bit behind in the game, but two late wickets did bring us back in a bit, they’ve given us a bit of a window. But it would have been nice to get a couple more wickets when we had them 27/3.

“After lunch, the pitch picked up a bit more pace and Anrich Nortje was getting it through nicely. Our fast bowlers definitely have a bit left in the tank and hopefully they can make an impact in the morning,” Verreynne said.

Sharks have put SuperRugby epoch behind them, fully ready to embrace European competition 0

Posted on May 02, 2023 by Ken

South African rugby teams have put the SuperRugby epoch behind them and, now that they have tasted the Champions Cup tournament, are ready to fully embrace European competition, even when it takes a team like the Sharks from the subtropical summer heat of Durban one week into the icy winter of the hilly Bordeaux region the next.

The Sharks, having marked their Champions Cup debut with an impressive 39-31 win over Harlequins at Kings Park, now take on Bordeaux Begles at the Chaban Delmas Stadium on Friday night.

“It definitely met expectations and all the hype playing against Harlequins and we made a good start, even though there was a lot for us to improve on,” hooker Bongi Mbonambi said on Tuesday from France.

“And now we take on top French players at home in front of their own crowd. The big difference is we just came from 31° in Durban to 2° at the moment and it might be zero on Friday night.

“It’s a totally different kind of cold, but we are here to make memories and make sure we are totally prepared. We’re looking forward to the challenge.

“The massive learning from the Quins game was that we can never relax, these are very good teams in this competition. They’ve been playing European Cup for longer than us, and we still have a lot to learn.

“We have to embrace it, you can’t always have home advantage. But even in tough conditions and with a hostile crowd, some of us enjoy it, it’s like what we face in international rugby. Hopefully we can teach the other players to embrace it too,” Mbonambi said.

Bordeaux lost their opening Champions Cup match away to Gloucester 22-17 in a photo finish, but the fact they were 17-5 up in the final quarter will have them extra motivated to inflict some real damage on the Sharks this weekend at home.

Bordeaux have a powerful pack and a punchy backline, and the fact that their halfbacks, scrummie Maxime Lucu and pivot Matthieu Jalibert, both played off the bench against the Springboks last month, steering France to victory, is a graphic illustration of the sort of quality the Sharks are up against.

“The French teams always hurt after losing in the Champions Cup and Bordeaux have a really good squad,” Mbonambi acknowledged. “They slipped up last weekend, so this Friday will be really tough.

“They have great loose forwards and their halfbacks played in the Test, they are really good at running the whole place, they control things.

“Their pack will definitely put our attacking breakdown under pressure and we can’t let their big forwards run at us,” Mbonambi said.

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