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Ken Borland

Brevis all the rage; critics all up in arms about Bavuma 0

Posted on January 30, 2023 by Ken

Five days ago, Dewald Brevis was all the rage as the most exciting T20 talent anyone had ever seen, while Temba Bavuma’s continued presence at the top of the order for South Africa at the T20 World Cup had people all up in arms, many of them enraged, judging by social media comments.

This weekend, however, Brevis will open the batting for the Northerns Titans in the CSA T20 Challenge final with his mortality exposed, having looked all at sea against the sheer pace of Free State Knights fast bowler Gerald Coetzee in their semi-final.

Bavuma will open the batting for the Proteas in the early hours of Sunday morning against the Netherlands, some confidence renewed after it all finally clicked against the powerful Pakistan pace attack and he struck a commanding 36 off just 19 balls.

‘All’ the Proteas have to do is beat the Netherlands and they will be in the semi-finals, and all true South African fans will be hoping the skipper builds on the promise of his previous innings.

How quickly things can change in cricket is one of the prime attractions of the game; the vacillating fortunes are why players are always entreated to mine a good run of form for as long as they can.

If someone asks me for my list of the top-10 T20 innings I have seen, then Brevis’s outrageous, record-breaking 162 off 57 balls is on mine.

Coming from someone whose talent has already had people shouting from the rooftops, it was understandable that the innings was greeted with a wave of public opinion that the 19-year-old should be rushed straight into the Proteas team.

But we need to be careful not to extrapolate too much from one innings. When Dave Callaghan blasted 169 not out off just 143 balls, an incredible scoring rate back in 1994, for South Africa against New Zealand at Centurion, he looked a world beater and it was also one of the best innings I have seen.

But as good a cricketer as Callaghan was, the innings proved to be a once-off and his next highest score in 24 other ODI innings was just 45 not out.

On October 31, Brevis knocked two sixes and three fours off Coetzee as he scored 29 runs off 13 balls against the highly-rated 22-year-old. Coetzee eventually had his nemesis caught on the boundary in the final over.

On November 2, this time given the new ball against Brevis, Coetzee, pride hurt, was on fire. He came roaring in and bowled fast and aggressively at a batsman two-and-a-half years his junior. He ruffled him up with short-pitched bowling, struck him on the gloves and this time Brevis could only score five runs from the 10 balls he faced from the St Andrew’s Bloemfontein product on the same pitch.

Brevis surely has the talent to sort all this out, of course, but the cautionary lesson is that he is still just a 19-year-old with just one season of experience playing with men. He spoke with maturity about the journey he has to travel after his 162, and the precocious potential he undoubtedly possesses needs to be carefully managed by the national selectors.

The selectors have certainly taken a lot of flak for persisting with Bavuma at the top of the Proteas batting order, but there were many glimpses of the reasons why against Pakistan: the crisp strokeplay, the ability to hit boundaries in the powerplay with ‘proper’ cricket shots and his brilliant handling of the short ball.

The jury is still out, of course, on Bavuma’s long-term future as an international T20 batsman, but the graph has now taken a little up-turn back in the right direction.

Bulls house in order & campaign back on track – Jake 0

Posted on January 24, 2023 by Ken

Following their impressive victory over the Sharks in their United Rugby Championship derby at the weekend, the Bulls house is in order and the campaign is back on track, coach Jake White says.

The 40-27, bonus point win over the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld was the Bulls’ second in a row after a couple of defeats on tour, and it lifted them back into third place on the log.

“It’s a tough competition and we’ve toured and had a couple of injury problems, but we’ve done well the last couple of weeks,” White said. “The campaign is back on track.

“We’ve played seven games, we’ve got five wins, scored lots of tries, got a handful of bonus points and we’re third on the log. That’s fantastic for us, one-third of the way into the competition.

“And there’s no reason we can’t get better, with 14 games left until the final. Hopefully it’s a well-timed break for the players now, and we come back on November 9.

“Then we’ll switch on for two home games and wait and see who we get back from the national squads,” White said.

The coach did admit to some frustration at the Bulls’ performance against the Sharks, however, with the home side sometimes their own worst enemy.

“At times we shot ourselves in the foot. We couldn’t get out of our half and we had two kicks direct into touch. We were outstanding in the first 20 minutes but just didn’t finish,” White said.

“We knocked on in their 22 twice and chose the wrong lineout play once. We should have stayed with the maul, they had two warnings, but we moved away from the maul when the Sharks probably would’ve got a card.

“So there are a lot of things still to look at, we let them score three tries after all. We can’t give teams those soft moments like we did just before halftime.

“We practised defending against that Aphelele Fassi move the whole week, but he scored anyway because we get narrow.

“But when they led 17-16, no-one was thinking about a bonus point win, so there is a lot of excitement and energy in the changeroom. Now it’s time to recharge and it will be nice to have that same energy when we come back from the break,” White said.

Proteas Women will be after quicker batting 0

Posted on August 22, 2022 by Ken

The Proteas Women’s team will be after quicker batting in order to stay alive in the three-match series when they tackle England again in the second ODI in Bristol on Friday.

Having won the toss and elected to bat first in the opening match in Northampton earlier this week, South Africa struggled up front in the face of some outstanding quick bowling by the veteran Katherine Brunt (9-1-18-3). After 30 overs the Proteas had posted just 109/5 and it was only thanks to Chloe Tryon (88 off 73) and Nadine de Klerk (38 off 53) that they managed to eventually reach 218.

No-one in the top-five batted with a strike-rate higher than 67, compared to England’s blazing batting which saw them chase down the target inside 33 overs. Emma Lamb scored a 91-ball century and Nat Sciver blasted 55 off 36 balls to show South Africa a more appropriate approach.

“It was definitely not our best performance, far off it,” De Klerk admitted on Thursday. “We all know we can play much better than that and we need to play positive cricket.

“We lacked intensity and we need to back ourselves. I definitely think we’ll put up a better game in the second ODI, we’re going to show a lot more aggression with the bat, take the bowlers on a bit more.

“We’ve been training the way we want to play and it’s gone very well. We’ve been trying out different options. We also didn’t have the best day with the ball, but England came out at a blistering pace.

“We need to think out the box more, but all credit to England for batting really well,” the 22-year-old De Klerk said.

The all-rounder has been one of the fringe players in the Proteas squad since making her debut in May 2017, but with the absence of Dane van Niekerk and others, De Klerk has been a regular starter since the start of last year.

“It’s all about waiting for our opportunity and whenever you get the chance, you must make the best of it,” she said. “We get a lot of support from everyone and it’s just about working hard behind the scenes.

“I think everybody – including Shabnim Ismail – is good to go for the match and I think it’s going to be a really good pitch and a quick outfield.

“So we want to have a lot of fun, back ourselves and keep it simple. We’ll be going out to play nice, aggressive, positive cricket,” De Klerk said.

100th meeting between Boks & All Blacks to happen in unlikely venue of Townsville, deep in the tropics in northern Queensland 0

Posted on September 09, 2021 by Ken

The All Blacks have agreed to base themselves in Queensland in order for the Rugby Championship to be completed, which means the historic 100th meeting between them and their arch-rivals the Springboks will take place in the unlikely venue of Townsville, in the northern reaches of the state and deep in the tropics.

The Springboks will leave for Australia on Thursday and will have to quarantine for two weeks, but in return they will have the benefit of being able to return to normal life thereafter, not needing to stay in a bubble. They can still train while in quarantine, ahead of their next match, against Australia on September 12 on the Gold Coast.

But it is their clash with the All Blacks on September 25 in Townsville that will capture the imagination, even though it is effectively being played as a curtain-raiser to the Australia versus Argentina match that follows.

“The two-week quarantine period means we will be on tour for just under six weeks, but we are looking forward to experiencing normal life after a year-and-a-half of living under several forms of adjusted Covid-19 restrictions in South Africa. This will certainly assist in ensuring that the players are fresh mentally when they take the field, which is essential for them to peak in form.

“We are pleased that the Rugby Championship schedule has been finalised and we are looking forward to continuing our campaign in Australia. We can now continue our planning to ensure that the players are ready for the next four matches from a physical and mental point of view, and we are excited about facing our old foes Australia and New Zealand again after kicking off the tournament well against Argentina,” Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said in a statement on Tuesday.

For all the bluster about how boring Springbok rugby is and how they are unworthy world champions despite beating the British and Irish Lions recently, the Kiwis are now going to have to put up or shut up on September 25 and then again on October 2 on the Gold Coast, in what, on current form, should be the Rugby Championship decider.

Apart from the Springboks not needing to stay in a bubble after their quarantine, the other good news is that there will be spectators at all the matches. Given the level of aggression between Australian and New Zealand rugby at the moment, the local crowds could well be supporting the Springboks in their matches against the All Blacks.

Australia and New Zealand get the chance to sort out some of their issues on the field when they meet in Perth, as originally scheduled, probably next weekend.

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    “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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