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Ken Borland



Lions take luck involved with tombola machine pitch out of the equation with brilliant all-round display 0

Posted on April 17, 2024 by Ken

The DP World Lions men’s team took the luck involved on a pitch that produced deliveries like a tombola machine out of the equation with a brilliant all-round display to beat the Momentum Multiply Titans by five wickets at SuperSport Park on Saturday and so ensuring that they will host the final for the four-day cup against World Sports Betting Western Province next week.

The Lions managed to chase down a testing target of 161 with relative comfort, Ryan Rickelton steering them to victory with 64 not out, an innings that married fierce determination with some fine strokeplay as the left-hander collected seven fours and a six.

Rickelton received considerable assistance from Wiaan Mulder (40), the pair adding 85 for the fourth wicket to repel a final push for victory for the Titans, who had reduced them to 32 for three with the new ball. Delano Potgieter (12*) helped the Proteas batsman add the last 43 runs required for the win.

Partnerships had also been key in the first innings, allowing the #PrideOfJozi to take a crucial 66-run lead. A brilliantly tenacious century by opener Josh Richards provided the foundation of the innings, but he had fabulous support from the middle-order.

Coming in at 51 for three, Mulder played an innings of some class in scoring 55 and adding 95 for the fourth wicket with Richards. Mitchell van Buuren then scored a wonderfully-controlled 58 and added another 83 for the fifth wicket with Richards, before Van Buuren and Potgieter (29) added another 62 for the sixth wicket. Those partnerships built such a handy lead that it did not matter that the Lions lost their last five wickets for two runs.

The DP World Lions had lost an important toss on a pitch that already showed inconsistent bounce and some pronounced movement on the first day, but their bowling attack produced two excellent displays as a unit to dismiss the Titans for just 227 and then 226.

Lutho Sipamla, playing his first Lions match this season after a back injury, made a superb comeback with four for 48 in the first innings, and Codi Yusuf made life very hard for the batsmen with four for 81 in the second. Potgieter picked up five wickets across the two innings.

But Richards was the main hero of the tremendous display by our Pride. On a pitch on which the steepling bounce of the new ball made it as dangerous as facing beamers, the 25-year-old played an innings of great courage. He spent an hour in gloomy light on the first evening fending off the express pace of Junior Dala and Corbin Bosch, then had to get himself in again on the second morning (the ball always doing more in the first session at SuperSport Park) before gradually playing with more and more fluency as he scored 107 in five-and-a-quarter hours, off 201 balls.

A beaming Richards said after the triumph that it had been the best of his 11 first-class centuries.

“It’s probably number one on the list, taking into account the attack it was against, the fact it was in essentially a semi-final, how the pitch played and how my season had gone,” Richards said.

“Obviously the ball moved around quite a bit and there was inconsistent bounce. The new ball was very difficult, it really came through. I just told myself to leave well and move as late as possible, keep batting as simple as possible.

“To get through that period on the first evening was great, I was hit on the hand and it was challenging. But I just tried to watch the ball as closely as I could. I told myself that I can’t change the conditions so I just have to deal with it.

“Credit to the guys for the very crucial partnerships in the middle there, especially on a wicket like this, those were golden.”

Richards also praised the DP World Lions bowlers for keeping the Titans batsmen on the hop.

“The bowlers had it very tough last week on a docile, flat pitch, and they had to bowl 225 overs. As a unit they’ve been exceptional and they’re the ones who keep putting us in a great position, so hats off to them.”

The beers are still on ice, however, in the Pride’s changeroom as they look forward to a massive final against Western Province at the DP World Wanderers Stadium from Wednesday, head coach Russell Domingo ensuring they keep their feet on the ground despite the memorable win at Centurion.

“We’re all very excited to be in the final, particularly after how we started this season. We’ve gone from strength to strength and we’re playing a lot better now. It was not how we wanted to start, but it’s how you finish that matters,” Richards said.

“Russell reminded us now in the changeroom though that we have not won anything yet. We will have to front up again next week, hit the ground running again from Monday, because we start afresh on zero against Western Province.”

JSK in tatters, bowled out in 15.2 overs, SEC in qualifiers 0

Posted on January 31, 2024 by Ken

Daniel Worrall was the chief destroyer for the Sunrisers Eastern Cape at the Wanderers.
Photo: Arjun Singh

The Joburg Super Kings were bundled out in just 15.2 overs for 78 – the second-lowest total in SA20 history – as they were thrashed by the Sunrisers Eastern Cape at the Wanderers on Wednesday evening, coach Stephen Fleming once again expressing his disappointment over the pitch.

Sent in to bat, the Super Kings lost both Faf du Plessis and Reeza Hendricks to the outstanding Daniel Worrall (4-0-20-3) for ducks in the second over. Moeen Ali also made a duck and Leus du Plooy (18), Wayne Madsen (32 off 23) and new Kiwi recruit Doug Bracewell (12) were the only batsmen to reach double figures against an attack that was not necessarily inspired, but certainly very disciplined and controlled.

The Sunrisers then knocked off their target in just 11 overs to earn a bonus point win, Dawid Malan scoring 40 not out off 32 balls and Tom Abell an undefeated 26 off 20 deliveries, assuring the defending champions of a place in the qualifiers.

“I love this competition, it is outstanding. Short and intense, although that does make the travel tough, and the support is tremendous. But the pitches have dropped off a bit from last year. We are in the entertainment business, I don’t mind the ball dominating every now and then, but we have to make sure there is a balance,” Fleming said after the Super Kings’ third loss in four matches at home.

“Today in particular was not great for the product, which is a pity because this is a great place to play. We’re struggling to read the pitch and there is an advantage to bowling first. The ball sits up and creates problems.

“Each surface here we have struggled to understand. The pitch seems to be transforming, it was slowish last year but now it is somewhere in between that and the traditional Wanderers wicket that flies through.

“We bought tall fast bowlers in the auction and it’s been disappointing because the real character of this pitch is being lost. We need to pivot quickly, but today was one of those days we nicked everything, on both sides of the wicket. And then you see how many times we go past the bat and you just have to shake your head,” Fleming said.

The Joburg Super Kings are in the fourth and final qualification place on 13 points at the moment and have one match remaining – against the high-flying Durban Super Giants at the Wanderers on Saturday. With the Pretoria Capitals and MI Cape Town three and four points in arrears respectively, and playing each other twice before the end of the round-robin, JSK have to beat the top-of-the-log KwaZulu-Natalians on Saturday to have any chance of progressing.

“It’s thanks to the nature of this year’s tournament that we are still alive and the scenarios are right in front of us, but unfortunately our fate is out of our control. We will be doing lots of mental work over the next few days.

“Luck wasn’t with us today, but some people will say maybe we should have been more defensive, but then you can become too cautious. Sometimes you just have to bluff confidence and step forward. You can’t over-analyse days like this,” the highly-lauded former New Zealand captain said.

Madsen, Moeen and Donovan Ferreira (8) were all caught down the leg-side, the sort of thing that happens to a batting line-up low on confidence and perhaps wishing they didn’t have to play at home.

It could have been brilliant or terrible, but it ended in tears of joy for Burmester 0

Posted on December 03, 2023 by Ken

Dean Burmester with the famous SA Open trophy at Blair Atholl.

Dean Burmester’s final round in the South African Open at Blair Atholl on Sunday began with him deciding to play aggressively, accepting that he would either post a brilliant score that would bring joy or a terrible total that would see him bomb out of contention. His round ended with him fighting back the tears as he claimed the title with a marvellous four-under-par 68.

Burmester began the last day tied for fourth, two strokes off the lead which was shared by young fellow South Africans Jayden Schaper and Ryan van Velzen. He ended up winning by three strokes as neither Schaper nor Van Velzen could stay under-par in the final round, and none of the other contenders could match a 68 on another torrid day of fierce heat and fast greens on the longest course in DP World Tour history.

“I told my caddie Jason Reynolds at the start of the day that I wanted to free it up today, it was either going to be a 65 or an 85 today because we were going to go for everything,” an emotional Burmester said after his biggest victory and his fourth on the DP World Tour. The 34-year-old also won last week’s Joburg Open, pulling off a rare double.

“Fortunately I just flushed it from the start and I could see the greens were really starting to firm up. I said to Jason that two hours from now, they would be nearly impossible to play so we should just post a score, sit back and watch.

“On the 18th green I was just trying not to cry. I’m still trying. I am super-emotional, it’s been a long road to get here. I have both my national opens now and it feels surreal, it’s just super-special to do the SA double,” the Zimbabwe-born Burmester said after being presented with the most prestigious trophy in South African golf.

On a tightly-contested final day in which the toughness of the course made it extremely difficult for someone to really pull away, it was going to need nerves of steel and the mettle to seize the key moment when it presented itself for the winner to separate himself.

For Burmester, that moment happened on the 16th. He had been hanging on to a one-stroke lead for most of the round after he sank a 40ft birdie putt on the seventh hole, but on the second-toughest hole on the final day, he hit a great approach to 10 feet and curled in the birdie putt.

He then rammed home his advantage on the par-three 17th, a beautiful pin-high tee shot setting up a second consecutive birdie.

“Sixteen is when things swung for me. I had a perfect number from the fairway and, having missed a shortish chance on 14, it was fantastic to sink a 10-foot double-breaker on 16,” Burmester recalled.

“On 17 I hit a pitching wedge, again a lovely number, and I must credit my whole team for their great work in preparing me to perform under pressure because it is not my favourite club.”

Being the classy person he is, Burmester was also full of praise and sympathy for the pair of 22-year-old East Randers, Schaper and Van Velzen, who certainly did not hand victory on a plate to their more experienced compatriot.

Van Velzen finished in the tie for second on eight-under with Renato Paratore (70) and Jesper Svensson (71), his five birdies being undone by two double-bogeys and a bogey. He fought hard though, until the 14th when he found both a fairway and a greenside bunker and then three-putted to drop two shots.

Schaper finished on seven-under in a tie for fifth after a 74 that included just three birdies but five bogeys.

“Winning is hard for young golfers and I know how Jayden and Ryan feel because I was there too. I feel for those two young guys at the back, it takes time and it takes a lot before you learn how to win.

“It was cool that I was drawn with Louis de Jager, he and I have a lot of experience and we were able to pull each other along. He’s been a prolific winner on the Sunshine Tour and we were both able to relax,” Burmester said.

De Jager played well but his putter did not help him much as he posted a 73 to also finish in the tie for fifth with Alejandro del Rey (68), Fredric Lacroix (69), Matteo Manassero (72) and Schaper.

Law of averages suggests Proteas are due a draw … 0

Posted on October 31, 2023 by Ken

The law of averages suggests South Africa are due a draw in Test match cricket, and that likelihood became stronger on Friday as the entire third day’s play in the third Test against Australia in Sydney was washed out.

The last time the Proteas were involved in a Test that did not have a winner and loser was way back in March 2017, 47 matches ago, when rain washed out the final day’s play against New Zealand in Hamilton with South Africa five wickets down in their second innings and still trailing by 95 runs.

The weather is predicted to improve over the last two days in Sydney though, and the Proteas are going to have to bat the better part of 196 overs to save the game, with Australia having already posted 475 for four. That means, if the home side declare overnight, South Africa’s initial target will be 276 to avoid being forced to follow-on, which is surely Australia’s best chance of victory. The Proteas have failed to reach that mark in their last eight innings.

The fact that Australian opener Usman Khawaja is on 195 not out may buy the Proteas some more time if Australian skipper Pat Cummins is feeling sentimental and delays the declaration in order for the 36-year-old batsman to get his maiden Test double-century.

Cummins will also be mindful that he has unusually under-strength attack at his disposal, with just four frontline bowlers, only two of which are pacemen.

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    Every day offers the opportunity for doing a kind deed or speaking an encouraging word to someone who feels overwhelmed.

    Our exuberant joy about God’s goodness to us should cause us to throw ourselves enthusiastically into serving others.

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