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Ken Borland



Verreynne clobbers new record score, but says it’s nothing new for him 0

Posted on February 02, 2024 by Ken

POWER APLENTY: Kyle Verreynne hits one of his nine sixes for Pretoria Capitals.
Photo: Arjun Singh

Kyle Verreynne made the highest ever SA20 score in the most unlikely of circumstances at SuperSport Park on Thursday night: His magnificent 116 not out off 52 balls was in a losing cause and it came after the Pretoria Capitals had crashed to 42 for six. The wicketkeeper has also not always been rated the most effective T20 player, but he clobbered seven fours and nine sixes and bristled afterwards at suggestions that this was something new in his game for the shortest format.

Verreynne’s astonishing innings miraculously prevented MI Cape Town from pulling off a bonus point win that seemed inevitable after they took six wickets in the powerplay while defending a mammoth total of 248 for four.

And it is a crucial bonus point because it keeps Pretoria Capitals alive in the competition, despite their woeful display in Centurion in their penultimate game. They play MI Cape Town again at Newlands on Saturday and, trailing them by just three points on the log, they know victory will put them in the qualifiers as long as high-flying Durban Super Giants beat Joburg Super Kings on the same day.

Verreynne had a T20 career strike-rate of 127.53 before this match, with three fifties in 48 innings, and the Pretoria Capitals only included him in their XI from their fourth game this season. But however he does it, he gets the runs on the board and is one of those cricketers blessed with tremendous temperament; he seems to lift his game to a new level when the pressure is on.

“It’s pretty sick that I’ve got the highest score and to score my maiden hundred is really special. I feel like my red-ball game is sorted, but T20 has been a bit of a monkey on my back,” Verreynne said after the Pretoria Capitals lost by 34 runs.

“But scoring 72 not out in my first game of the season against JSK and now a century has given me lots of confidence. But all the coaches I have ever had have never questioned my technique or boundary-hitting ability. Those who question it don’t know cricket.

“I went to Wynberg Boys High and that school instils in you that you must keep fighting even when the chips are down. Nothing comes easy at that school. Pressure is a mother going to work at 5am and coming home at 9pm to provide for her kids, playing cricket is not really pressure and that’s why I stay calm,” Verreynne said.

If you had offered Verreynne and the Pretoria Capitals an eventual total of 214 for eight, especially after he had watched Nuwan Thushara bowl Rilee Rossouw, Colin Ackermann and Shane Dadswell for ducks in the space of nine deliveries, it would have been one of those deals that was too good to refuse.

Even though Wayne Parnell (23) helped him add 78 off 49 deliveries for the seventh wicket, an SA20 record, the home side were still languishing on 129 for eight after 15 overs, needing 70 more runs off 30 balls just to prevent conceding the bonus point.

With Adil Rashid providing great support with 21 not out off 14 deliveries, Verreynne got them there with four balls to spare! Fifteen runs were taken off debutant Nealan van Heerden’s last over, Verreynne then hit the previously-terrifying Thushara for 23 in the 18th over, Rabada went for 18 in the penultimate over and Verreynne finished in style with 22 off the final over bowled by Sam Curran.

“Obviously we wanted to win, but we realised pretty quickly that realistically we weren’t going to do that, but giving them a bonus point would mean we were basically out of the competition,” Verreynne said.

“So we just kept 199 in mind and getting more than 200 will give us a lot of confidence as a batting unit. And it’s crazy to think that we lost but we still go to Cape Town with a genuine chance of making the playoffs.

“So it felt like a win afterwards, we knew getting 200 keeps us in the competition even if it was a really daunting target. So the mood in the changeroom was that it was a small victory we will take and the positivity is definitely there. We are still in with a chance of winning the competition, so we can’t be too down,” Verreynne said with typical tenacity.

Koekemoer determined but Lions strike telling blows late in the day 0

Posted on December 20, 2023 by Ken

Tian Koekemoer watchful in defence

A grimly determined Tian Koekemoer batted through most of the opening day of the CSA 4-Day Domestic Series match for the KZN Inland Tuskers against the Central Gauteng Lions at the Wanderers on Wednesday, before the home side landed some telling blows late in the day to be the happier of the two teams at stumps.

Having won the toss and elected to bat first, KZN Inland closed on 252 for six, but they were 208 for three going into the final hour.

But a fired up Duanne Olivier, operating with the second new ball, had Kagiso Rapulana (24) caught splicing a hook to square-leg, and in his next over, he had Koekemoer caught behind for 90.

You could tell the left-handed Koekemoer, who had produced more than six hours of defiance, was unsettled by the fast bowler switching from over the wicket to around and then back to over again in quick succession, and the 29-year-old just sparred at a delivery that was angled across him and was caught behind. It was a fine innings though by the former Eastern Province player, who faced 265 balls and hit 10 compact boundaries.

With Tshepo Moreki then having Thamsanqa Khumalo caught behind for a duck, the pressure was all on the Tuskers in the closing overs, but Cameron Shekleton (15*) and Malcolm Nofal (11*) collected a couple of boundaries each as they took the visitors to stumps without further loss.

Koekemoer honed his game as part of the highly successful Pretoria University side under Pierre de Bruyn, playing alongside Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, Lungi Ngidi and Theunis de Bruyn. He joined forces on Wednesday with a man from Kimberley who came through the Free State Schools system – Michael Erlank.

The St Andrew’s Bloemfontein product scored a century against North-West in nearby Potchefstroom previously this season, and Erlank looked bound for three figures again as he batted with great tenacity, but with lovely drives through the covers and shots off his legs too, to reach 79. So when he slapped a short-and-wide delivery from Malusi Siboto straight to backward point, he would have tore his hair out if he wasn’t wearing a helmet.

The Lions started well with the ball, reducing the Tuskers to 22 for two in the first hour of play.

Josh Richards should have had the acclamation of a large Wanderers crowd ringing in his ears when he dived full-length in the gully to snap up Yaseen Valli (1) off Olivier’s second over of the day.

Ben Compton (9) then misread the aerodynamics of Moreki’s second delivery of the match and was trapped lbw.

Moreki finished the day with two for 64 in 18 overs, but the pick of the Lions attack was Olivier, who ran in like the wind and claimed three for 39 in 19 tight overs that included seven maidens.

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.

Apart from Warner’s historic double-century, Nortje’s effort with the ball should not be forgotten either 0

Posted on August 14, 2023 by Ken

David Warner’s historic unbeaten double-century in his 100th Test will be what is most remembered from the second day of the second Test between Australia and South Africa at the MCG on Tuesday, but Anrich Nortje’s phenomenal effort with the ball should not be forgotten either.

Although Nortje finished with figures of just one for 50 in 16 overs as Australia piled up 386 for three and Warner retired hurt with severe cramp after scoring 200 off just 254 balls, his fiery, indefatigable fast bowling certainly caught the imagination of the 42 000 people at the MCG.

Nortje strung together some of the fastest overs recorded in Test cricket, consistently exceeding 150km/h for lengthy periods, and his endurance on a sweltering day when the temperature touched 40° was incredible. Even the notorious Bay 13 spectators were charmed by Nortje, who signed many autographs on various items, downed a bottle of water for their entertainment and had his warm-up routine mimicked by the crowd, as they used to do most famously for Australian fast bowler Merv Hughes.

Not even being struck to the ground by spidercam could get Nortje down.

“I was just trying to get a breakthrough, be more aggressive and bring out the pace. I wasn’t bowling as quickly as I can, but I did try to speed it up,” Nortje said after a torrid day’s play for the Proteas.

“Bowling the one over on the first day, I felt I needed to adjust to the wicket, which is a good one. There’s a bit of a slope upwards and my focus was on getting my momentum through the crease rather than jumping up.

“It started clicking and then you can push a bit more when you feel you have the momentum, you just ride it and not try to force anything else. I felt I had good rhythm and just tried to come as hard as I can.

“It’s a good wicket for batting, but if you can hit good areas over time then you can get reward, good bumpers can make the batsmen a bit uncomfortable. Unfortunately it just didn’t work out for us today,” Nortje said.

Warner became just the second batsman after England’s Joe Root to score a double century in his 100th Test, and the veteran left-hander became the eighth Australian to score 8000 Test runs. It was his first Test century in nearly three years.

“He batted really well, hats off to him for the energy and fight he showed,” Nortje said.

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    John 15:16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

    Our Christian experience begins when the Holy Spirit starts working in our imperfect lives. An inexplicable restlessness and a feeling that nothing can give you the satisfaction you yearn for, could be the Spirit working in you.

    Even when God calls you and chooses you to serve him, there may be inner conflict and confusion because you are not always willing to do what God is asking of you.

    But this inner struggle is part of spiritual life … Commit yourself to God and open yourself to the inflowing of the Holy Spirit.

    It is by great grace that you were chosen by God to serve him and to live to the honour and glory of his name. Surrender unconditionally to the Lord and you will discover that your life gains new meaning and purpose.



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