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Ken Borland



Lions overtake all rivals on last bend & will now host 4-Day final 0

Posted on April 17, 2024 by Ken

The DP World Lions men’s team overtook all their opposition on the last bend and we will now host the CSA 4-Day Series final against Western Province following our impressive victory over the Titans on a sporty Centurion pitch last week.

After the frustration of a couple of draws, our Pride delivered the goods when it really mattered, beating the Titans by five wickets to claim top spot on the log after the last round of league fixtures. The DP World Lions’ red-ball game is now running like a finely-tuned motor, having dominated and being unbeaten in all their four-day matches since losing to the Warriors in Gqeberha in early December.

While the SuperSport Park pitch certainly favoured the bowlers, Lions head coach Russell Domingo was happy with the surface and says he hopes for another result pitch, but one that is fair to the batsmen, at the DP World Wanderers Stadium from Wednesday.

“The guys were fantastic against the Titans on what I thought was a good pitch. I was really pleased with the way we played and now we can take that confidence into the final. We’ve played some really good cricket lately, although we’ve had some flat pitches where we’ve struggled to finish off teams,” Domingo said.

“All I want at home for the final now is a good cricket wicket – one that rewards good batting and if you bowl well then you’ll get wickets. I will always advocate that because I believe the guys need to learn how to play long innings and how to dismiss batsmen on good pitches. We don’t want anything extreme and over five days I have no doubt we’ll get a result.”

With the current bowling unit performing so well, Lutho Sipamla making an impressive return to action last week, and Duanne Olivier and Tshepo Moreki available again after Proteas Test duty in New Zealand, Domingo may well toy with the idea of once again fielding five seamers and spinner Bjorn Fortuin.

The batting unit ought to be confident of putting enough runs on the board, especially with Zubayr Hamza, top of the competition averages, set to return after Test duty and Temba Bavuma also possibly available, depending on his rehabilitation schedule.

“It’s going to be a very tricky selection and we also need to check on the fitness of a couple of guys. But it’s great to have all of those options. I know Temba is very keen to play and Zubayr has been great for us this season,” Domingo said.

“You want all your best players to play in a final, but you also need to stay loyal to the players who have put you there. A lot of guys have played really well to get us into the final.”

A case in point is the top-class century scored by Josh Richards, which gave the DP World Lions a vital lead against the Titans. It was the first time he has been past fifty since the second match of the campaign, in mid-November, but the return to form came at a vital time.

“Josh’s innings was a game-changer, he was the one guy to get a big score in the match. It was very tough against the new ball and he’s had a few things not go for him this season. But he’s a really good opener and he showed how desperate he is to score runs,” Domingo said.

It’s the tenacity and character that Richards and the #PrideOfJozi have shown that will stand them in good stead against the World Sports Betting Western Province team, who are coming off a big win against previous log-leaders the Dolphins.

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.

Too many amorphous deliveries lead to tough times for SA attack 0

Posted on August 21, 2023 by Ken

The second and third days of the second Test against Australia at the MCG have been tough times for the South African attack, a good batting pitch meaning too many of their balls were amorphous, non-shaping deliveries that did not threaten a powerful batting line-up that racked up a massive 575 for eight declared.

That gave Australia a huge first-innings lead of 386 and the Proteas struggled to 15 for one in their second innings at stumps.

Bowling coach Charl Langeveldt said on Wednesday that although the attack could be proud of their effort, they needed better control when the ball was not doing much.

“It’s been a tough three days in general for us, but we did not start well with the ball on Day One. On the second day we put in the effort, Anrich Nortje brought a lot of heat,” Langeveldt said.

“Control is something we need to speak about, that can improve. It’s a young bowling attack, but they need to control the run-rate for longer periods.

“Stringing together 18 consecutive good balls is one of our KPIs and we could not achieve that, which is a bit of a red flag going forward. But this is a good pitch and we have played a lot of Tests lately on more bowler-friendly wickets.

“I’m happy with the enthusiasm, that was brilliant and I cannot fault it. We need to stay patient and I think reward is going to be around the corner,” Langeveldt said.

While Kagiso Rabada is currently the year’s leading wicket-taker in global Test matches with 47 in just nine matches, Langeveldt admitted that their spearhead has been out of sorts in Melbourne and that the other bowlers have not bowled well enough in partnerships.

“KG has not been on song and the others have only been in periods. We haven’t bowled well as a unit, those bowling partnerships are important and they have just not been there,” Langeveldt said.

“So we need to address that, but we have not played much on good cricket wickets lately and this is a good one. Sometimes you just need to bowl a few dot balls and use the bumper as a surprise ball.

“KG always takes wickets, but the challenge for him at the moment is control. Someone like Pat Cummins also leaked runs when he was at the beginning of his career, now he takes wickets and has control.

“That’s the challenge for KG going forward, especially on flatter pitches. We always need to assess the conditions and we always talk about adapting,” Langeveldt said.

But blaming these shortcomings on inexperience does not seem right. Rabada has already been playing Test cricket for seven years and has 267 wickets. Cummins debuted 11 years ago but has played 11 Tests fewer than Rabada due to injuries.

Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi are both playing in their 17th Test match, while Marco Jansen has only just completed his first year of Test cricket.

Spinner Keshav Maharaj, playing his 47th Test, was also not at his best as he conceded 135 runs in 41.5 overs and went wicketless.

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