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Ken Borland

Miller & De Kock show their enduring worths, but that must not pull the wool over the eyes of SA management 0

Posted on December 05, 2022 by Ken

Centurion David Miller and Quinton de Kock showed their enduring worths in T20 cricket with a magnificent partnership, but that must not pull the wool over the eyes of the Proteas management as to how many problems the side has following South Africa’s 16-run defeat to India in the second T20 in Guwahati on Sunday.

The Proteas problems began with their bowling, which was awful, allowing a hungry Indian top-order to plunder 237/3 after South Africa had sent them in to bat. It is the highest score the Proteas have ever conceded in a T20 International, beating the 236/6 the West Indies scored when they won batting second at the Wanderers in 2014/15.

Having played two spinners on a seamer’s pitch in the first T20, South Africa then brought in Lungi Ngidi for Tabraiz Shamsi in Guwahati, when the pitch probably suited a second spinner, judging by how well left-armer Keshav Maharaj bowled in taking 2/23 in his four overs.

All the pacemen were poor and were severely punished. They could not find their lines and lengths up front, and then, under pressure, their skills dissolved in a flood of full tosses and short, wide deliveries. A temperature in the 30s and 94% humidity meant there was lots of sweat around to make the ball slippery, but India’s bowlers were far more controlled having to deal with the same conditions.

Openers Lokesh Rahul (57 off 28) and Rohit Sharma (43 off 37) took full toll of the loose bowling to put on 96 in 9.5 overs for the first wicket.

Maharaj dismissed both of them, but there was no denying the thrilling Suryakumar Yadav as he ruthlessly smashed 61 off just 22 balls, while Virat Kohli showed his great class with 49 not out off 28 deliveries.

Kagiso Rabada (14.25), Anrich Nortje (13.66), Wayne Parnell (13.50) and Ngidi (12.25) all had economy rates that were extremely expensive.

It would be dumb to continue to ignore South Africa’s top-order woes, with Temba Bavuma making a seven-ball duck and Rilee Rossouw also making back-to-back ducks as he charged down the pitch second-ball to play a silly shot against Arshdeep Singh. The left-arm quick took two wickets in his first over, having snared three in the first T20.

Aiden Markram scored a free-flowing 33 off 19 balls before spinner Axar Patel knocked over his off-bail with a wonderful delivery.

With South Africa already needing 14.5 runs-per-over, Miller and the struggling De Kock then had some fun as they added an unbeaten 174 in 13.4 overs as the visitors reached 221/3.

Miller was sensational, scoring 106 not out off 47 balls, hitting seven balls out of the park. He fought incredibly hard for the team and showcased his amazing skill.

It will please the Proteas greatly that De Kock is back to something approaching his best as he finished with 69* off 48 balls, an innings which started in battling fashion but ended in a flurry of boundaries.

Jake grateful his team didn’t just resort to terrible kicks straight down the field 0

Posted on November 01, 2022 by Ken

The Lions are a really tough side to break down at home, so Bulls coach Jake White was understanding of his team’s problems in managing their attacking ball, and grateful that they didn’t just resort to terrible kicks straight down the field from their own half in their United Rugby Championship opener at Ellis Park at the weekend.

The Bulls eventually won comfortably enough, 31-15, but that scoreline does not reflect how competitive the Lions were. The scores were level at 15-15 with half-an-hour to go, and the Bulls needed a trio of Chris Smith penalties to keep the home side at bay, before a late maul try by replacement hooker Jan-Hendrik Wessels bumped up their score even further.

One could argue that the Bulls allowed the Lions back into the game through some ambitious game-management that saw them largely spurn kicking from the back. But White was pleased with the attacking intent shown by his new-look backline.

“I have no doubt the Lions targeted this game and we always knew it would be tough, it is always tough to win here,” White said after the match. “The Lions have their own style, they are a difficult side to break down and get rhythm on attack against.

“Our attack started well and the cohesion looked good enough, but as the game unfolded we left a few points out there. We conceded six penalties in the last eight minutes of the first half.

“In some cases we over-played, forced things, in our own half, but I don’t want them to just kick the ball down the field. I want us to feel comfortable keeping the ball.

“It was the first time this backline had played together and over time it will come right, the ability to transfer pressure into points, the understanding of the space at the back at times,” White said.

In any case, an away win when a team like Munster lost on the road and Leinster very nearly suffered an upset at lowly Zebre, will sooth any concerns White has.

“An away win is a massive bonus, you have to get a couple to do well in this competition. I enjoyed the way we showed composure.

“At 15-3 up you think you can let your hair down and play a bit, and then suddenly it’s 15-15 with 30 minutes to go. You don’t really want to bring your bench on when you’re up against it.

“But the bench came on, they were able to get cohesive, and they won that area this afternoon. You’re obviously not going to be that cohesive from Day One.

“But once we understand how to create pressure, wave-after-wave of it, then we can create that uncertainty in the opposition,” White said.

Lee retirement & Ismail injury leaves 2 big holes, but great opportunities too 0

Posted on August 22, 2022 by Ken

The shock retirement of Lizelle Lee and the continued injury problems of Shabnim Ismail have left two big holes in the South African Women’s cricket team ahead of the first ODI against England in Northampton on Monday, but such misfortunes provide great opportunities for other players, captain Sune Luus said.

Opening batter Lee retired with immediate effect on Friday, with the ODI series against England mere days away, which can only have been disruptive to the Proteas’ plans.

Fast bowler Ismail, meanwhile, has still not fully recovered from the calf injury which ruled her out of the historic Test against England two weeks ago.

“Lizelle’s retirement came as a bit of a shock, but we all respect her decision, she has given eight years of service to her country and she has obviously got her reasons,” Luus said on Sunday.

“Shabnim is still recovering from her calf injury, but she will be ready to go soon. These are big losses, but they provide big opportunities. There are a lot of spots in the team coming up now.

“We will have a young top four, but they are all excited about what they can bring to the table. It’s a big opportunity for them, it’s the start of their careers and what they make of it is up to them.

“They have been phenomenal for us lately, putting crucial runs on the board. The work they’re doing behind the scenes is great to see. It’s the energy the team needs to go forward,” Luus said.

England, runners-up in the World Cup in the summer, are a top-class ODI outfit and Luus knows the batters will face a particularly tough test against an attack spearheaded by Sophie Ecclestone, the No.1 ranked bowler in women’s ODIs.

“Sophie is No.1 in the world for a reason, she can control the game and strike,” Luus said. “So we will just try to rotate off her, get as many runs as we can, without boosting her ego or giving her a sniff.

“If it’s a bad ball then we must put it away, but we don’t want to give her anything. England will come hard at us and we need to be consistent for longer periods.

“Our semi-final loss to them at the World Cup puts in perspective how much we want to win this series. We had a lot of opportunities in that semi-final which we just did not take, otherwise the game could have gone a whole other way.

“We want to make sure we take every chance this time and not give them that satisfaction again,” Luus said.

·Play starts at 3pm SA time.

URC 1st phase positives & negatives for Bulls & Sharks 0

Posted on November 26, 2021 by Ken


Positives – Although they lost three of their four games in the UK, there was no doubting the effort the Bulls put in or their desire to learn. From not learning much back home as they dominated all-comers, the Bulls now have a better idea of what works in Europe. The victory over Cardiff and the unfortunate loss to Edinburgh showed they are on the right track. Their only major injury worry is flyhalf Johan Goosen, and Chris Smith or Morne Steyn will adequately fill the breach.

Failures – Their opponents shone a bright light on the Bulls’ breakdown work and they were found wanting at both defensive and attacking rucks. They were caught out by the pace and accuracy which the European teams bringing to the ruck; the Bulls were too often slow to react and also prone to going off their feet or not allowing the half-back clear access by getting caught on the wrong side. They will hope for a slight easing of the tempo under the hot Pretoria sun. Their scrum was also creaking in the last game against Edinburgh.

Stand-out players – Wings Madosh Tambwe and Kurt-Lee Arendse proved a handful for their opponents whenever they were given some space to work their magic. Tambwe has been based in Johannesburg and Durban before Pretoria, but the consistent excellence of his performances on tour suggest the 24-year-old could be settling down with the Bulls.

Arendse is accustomed to playing in cities all over the world through his time with the Springbok Sevens, and he handled European conditions with aplomb, producing slick attacking play whenever he got the chance.

What’s next? – Luck’s been against them so far, but the Bulls face a crunch must-win home game against mighty Munster on November 27 and will also be targeting a bonus point win the following weekend against Scarlets. The match against Munster will be particularly appetising because they are now steered by Johann van Graan, who left the Bulls in 2012 as a highly promising young coach.

“It’s not all doom and gloom, the European teams come to South Africa now and historically we have done really well at home. We look forward to playing in the sun at Loftus Versfeld again and we can now put the overseas sides under pressure now that they have to travel,” coach Jake White said.


Positives – The Celtic teams are known for their emphasis on forward play and the Sharks pack were hard-working and generally stood up well to the challenge in the tight. Ruan Pienaar is really growing into his role as the team’s new general, Boeta Chamberlain is steadily improving at flyhalf, and, when the Sharks execute their game-plan properly, they remain very difficult to play against.

Failures – The Sharks had their problems at the breakdown – join the club say the Bulls, Stormers and Lions – and it is a vital part of the game-plan the Sharks want to use. Putting aside the vagaries of law interpretations, the Sharks need a more cohesive, focused effort at the rucks. They also need more cohesion in defence, a couple of early blunders that led to soft tries costing them dearly against Cardiff.

Stand-out players – The doors have opened for young Dylan Richardson to represent Scotland, the country of his father’s birth, and little wonder because the flank cum hooker has been a potent force for the Sharks. Defensively stout, he has been their leading tackler, he is tough to keep out at the breakdown and he smashes through players with ball-in-hand.

What’s next? – The Sharks will see their next two games, against 13th-placed Scarlets and bottom side Zebre Parma, as a direct route into the top half of the URC table. Playing at Kings Park, nothing less than two bonus point wins will do. Coach Sean Everitt was almost licking his lips when he said last weekend “we are really looking forward to November 27 and playing in front of our home fans.”

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    “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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