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Ken Borland



Grand batting of Miller & Klaasen puts SA in control, but India provide big scare with mother of late charges 0

Posted on December 14, 2022 by Ken

The grand batting of David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen, and excellent bowling up front, gave South Africa control of the first ODI against India, before the home team produced the mother of all late charges to give the Proteas a big scare in Lucknow on Thursday.

Miller and Klaasen came together with South Africa struggling on 110 for four in the 23rd over. But the skill and composure of the duo was exceptional as they stopped the rot and then cut loose, scoring 85 runs in the last 10 overs.

The in-form Miller struck a fiery 75 not out off 63 balls, with five fours and three sixes, while Klaasen was unbeaten on 74 off 65 deliveries, a fine supporting act that saw him hit six fours and a couple of sixes.

Their outstanding unbeaten partnership of 139 in 17.4 overs lifted South Africa to 249 for four in 40 overs, the match being reduced after the start of play had been delayed for an hour-and-45-minutes. They lost the toss and were sent in to bat on a tricky pitch offering seam and turn, and Quinton de Kock kept the top-order together with 48 off 54.

Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell then produced superb tight lines with the new ball, forcing both openers to play on.

Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj then turned the screw, conceding just 23 runs in his eight overs and getting the wicket of Ishan Kishan, caught at leg-slip for 20.

That left India 51 for four in the 18th over and their required run-rate soon grew to more than 9.5 runs per over.

But Shreyas Iyer showed what a dangerous hitter he is, lashing 50 off 37 balls, and Sanju Samson and Shardul Thakur (33 off 31) added 93 in 11 overs.

The brilliant Rabada (8-2-36-2) and Lungi Ngidi (8-0-52-3) took key wickets at the death and Tabraiz Shamsi, who was badly out of sorts, had 29 runs to defend in the last over.

Samson set up an incredible finish as he scored 15 off the first three balls (including a wide), but Shamsi finally managed to get the ball on a fuller length and a slog-sweep failed to find the boundary, no run being taken, and India’s thrilling chase came to an end, the Proteas winning by nine runs.

Samson finished with a superb 86 not out off 63 balls, tempering his usually aggressive game at the start, but then scoring with astonishing freedom at the death.

Joburg Super Kings secure services of Fleming & Faf 0

Posted on October 17, 2022 by Ken

The Joburg Super Kings have secured the services of Stephen Fleming as their head coach for the inaugural SA20 tournament and the New Zealander will obviously have good memories of returning to the Wanderers, where he steered the mother franchise – the Chennai Super Kings – to the Champions League title in 2010.

As the owners of the Johannesburg franchise, it is understandable that CSK would appoint their much-admired head coach to take the reins. Fleming has won the IPL four times and been runner-up another four times during his two stints as Chennai coach.

“My last memory of being at the Wanderers was with Chennai, winning the Champions League. I remember it very fondly, it’s a wonderful ground,” Fleming said.

“First thing I remember was the support that we got through South Africa, which was a surprise for all of us. It just shows the passion of the South African cricket fans to follow good cricket.

“We like to produce that and we’re really hoping we can get good support from Johannesburg and around the country. That’s a big part of what Chennai is about,” Fleming said.

Faf du Plessis, who made his IPL bow with the Chennai Super Kings in 2011, spent a decade with the franchise and it must have been hell for him when they did not retain him ahead of this year’s IPL auction, where they then lost out on his services in a bidding war with Bangalore Royal Challengers.

But he is now back in the Chennai fold and will captain the Joburg Super Kings. Du Plessis has an impressive record at the Wanderers, averaging 40.61 in his 15 T20s there, and he made South Africa’s highest T20I score – 119 off 56 balls – there against the West Indies in 2015.

“I have an extremely lucky and long relationship with Chennai,” Du Plessis said. “When the opportunity presented itself to play for them again, I was extremely happy.

“I think the SA20 league is going to be incredibly crucial for the sustainability of South African cricket. Being involved with the IPL for the last 11 years, I’ve seen first-hand the difference that T20 leagues can have on a country’s cricket.

“You see the difference that it makes to the younger players. That knowledge, wisdom and experience that you can share with your young talent in your own country, that’s extremely important for the growth of the national team.

“I’ve been lucky as a player and as a captain to have some really good leaders in my time. Starting under Graeme Smith, then moving to AB de Villiers, then my time at Chennai Super Kings, where Stephen Fleming was really influential at the beginning of my leadership journey,” Du Plessis said.

Mother of all storms washes out deciding T20 0

Posted on August 01, 2022 by Ken

The mother of all monsoon storms hit Bengaluru on Sunday night, washing out the fifth and final T20 between India and South Africa, and forcing the two teams to share the series at 2-2.

South Africa had once again won the toss and elected to bowl, with stand-in skipper Keshav Maharaj (Temba Bavuma having not recovered from his elbow injury) being belted for two sixes in the first over by Ishan Kishan.

But Lungi Ngidi then produced two excellent slower balls to remove the two Indian openers, Kishan (15) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (10), to leave the home side struggling on 28 for two midway through the fourth over.

With the Proteas having taken an early hold on the game, but with India enjoying the momentum of winning the previous two matches, it was difficult to know who felt more relieved by the intervention of the rain.

South Africa had made three changes to their team, modifying the balance of their side to bolster the batting, but leaving themselves with just five frontline bowlers. Reeza Hendricks was going to replace Bavuma at the top of the order, while Tristan Stubbs came in for Marco Jansen and Kagiso Rabada returned from a groin niggle to replace Tabraiz Shamsi, leaving Maharaj as the sole spinner.

Spare a thought for Stubbs, who has now earned two T20 International caps but did not get to bat in either of the matches.

Ngidi first fooled Kishan with a wonderful, dipping slower yorker, bowling him with the last delivery of the second over.

Gaikwad fell to the penultimate delivery of the match, trying to hit Ngidi down the ground but the lack of pace meant he only made contact with the bottom of the bat, spooning a catch to Dwaine Pretorius at deep mid-on.

Ngidi finished with fine figures of two for six in 1.3 overs.

With the T20 World Cup set to start in Australia in October, at the moment the Proteas only have five more T20s scheduled before then – a trio of matches in England in July and then two games versus Ireland in August.

Prince Lukhanyo of the Backline: It all comes back to family values in lieu of the bright lights of fame 0

Posted on February 28, 2022 by Ken

Rugby made the front pages of the celebrity magazines this week with the news that Prince Louis, the three-year-old son of Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, loves playing the sport although his mother is a little concerned with how he always seems to be “in the middle of everything”.

It reminds one of South Africa’s very own modern-day prince of the backline, Lukhanyo Am. But while Prince Louis’ involvement is described as “kamikaze” by his mother, Am’s impact on the rugby field is anything but.

The much-loved Springbok and Sharks centre is a hugely influential player and leader for both teams. But he fulfils both roles with such calm, unflustered assurance that he seems to be gliding around the field, and he is definitely someone who leads by quiet, stellar example rather than by stirring words.

And his own mother, Zukiswa, still features large in his life. As do his siblings.

Now an international star and a certainty for most sensible peoples’ World XV (some even tipped him to be World Player of the Year for 2021), Am is a celebrity in his own right and in his own modest, self-effacing way.

With Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee confirming that their salary to Am is based on their belief that he is the best outside centre in the world, the 28-year-old could spend his time away from rugby doing any manner of glamourous, exotic pursuits. But in lieu of the bright lights of fame, he returns to family and the values that were inculcated in him from a young age.

“Off the field, I’m very much a family man. My Mom and my siblings, and my extended family, that’s where my heart is,” Am told The Citizen. “Whenever I get a break from rugby, with all the travel we do anyway, I don’t take vacations.

“If I want to feel refreshed, I go where I came from – King Williams Town – and just relax with my family.”

While he is in Durban, on duty for the Sharks as he has been since joining the franchise in 2015, Am has similarly calming ways of getting away from rugby.

“The coaches are usually drilling us in training,” Am smiles, “so days off are all about recovery, relaxing and just spending time off the legs. We are very fortunate with the weather here in Durban and having the ocean right here. A good beach walk really helps me to switch off.”

And it’s little wonder that Am needs time to switch off because that astute rugby brain is constantly organising, analysing and adapting to what comes up on the field. Am reads the game so brilliantly that one is reminded of how Naas Botha used to pull the strings for the Bulls and the Springboks back in the day. Am does not use his boot as often, but his vision in terms of defence and attack is second to none.

The fierce focus the De Vos Malan High School product brings to the game applies to both matchday and the training field.

“Now that I’ve managed to establish myself I’m in a really happy space,” Am says. “My focus is on my goals, which are controlling my performance and improving my game each time I am on the field.

“As soon as the season is starting with the Sharks, my focus is on being the best I can be and then transferring that to the national side. But I don’t look too far ahead because of the different challenges we face nowadays and there is always the risk of injuries.

“I just work on being the best I can be. I’ve always been that way, my focus is on my performance and doing the right things right. Making sure everything is in place to do that. That is what has worked really well for me in the past.

“I take it a game at a time, and then focus on the next one. I analyse myself, where I am at in my game and where I want to be. I just try to tick those small boxes,” Am said.

Despite being raised in the troubled, poverty-stricken surrounds of Zwelitsha in the 1990s, Am was a lover of sport from a young age.

“At school, I was a sports fanatic, those are the memories I have of growing up. Playing cricket, watching athletics, the most fun was always on Saturdays.

“I played cricket until the end of high school. It was a 90s thing: cricket, soccer and rugby were everywhere in the township and when I went to high school I was already comfortable in all three sports.

“I was actually very passionate about my cricket, but as I got older, so rugby took over me. I guess because I was strong at a young age,” Am said.

He also has a most mature head on young shoulders, a characteristic which comes through in aspects of his life outside of rugby.

“Relaxing at home, I listen to tunes. But I guess I’m an old soul because I like things like deep house. But I have no specific favourite genre, I’ll pick whatever goes with my emotion at the time.

“Whatever will calm or relax me, whatever is relevant to how I’m feeling at the time, is what I’ll listen to.”

It’s a thoroughly sensible way of looking at the world. But then again, Lukhanyo Am is a thoroughly sensible person; a top-class rugby player and a wonderful human being.

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  • Thought of the Day

    Don’t be so busy – even working for God – that you don’t have regular quiet time. Don’t let your activities become more important than your time with the Father. You can be alive ‘for’ God without experiencing the presence and power of the living Christ.

    “Attempting to serve the Lord without the strength of the Holy Spirit results in frustration and ultimate disaster.

    “If your vision of him grows dim, your service will become powerless and ineffective. This will happen if your spiritual reserves are not regularly replenished through prayer and meditation.

    “You must put him first in all your activities. Your service for him must be the result of your intimate knowledge of him. Only when he enjoys priority in all things, can you understand life from his perspective. Putting Christ first in your life and work makes you a more capable servant of God.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech



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