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Ken Borland



SA20 is about adapting to different types of pitches; Pretoria Capitals show how 0

Posted on January 18, 2024 by Ken

POWERHOUSE: Will Jacks of Pretoria Capitals celebrates the fastest century in SA20 history.
Photo by Sportzpics

One of the joys of the SA20 is that there are different types of pitches that are used in the tournament and teams are often forced to think on their feet and adapt at short notice. The Pretoria Capitals were quicker and better in adapting to the SuperSport Park wicket on Thursday night and duly notched their first win of the season, beating the Durban Super Giants by 17 runs.

When returning captain Wayne Parnell won the toss and elected to bat first, eyebrows were raised because Centurion is traditionally a venue full of runs, where defending any sort of total can be tough at altitude on a pitch full of runs and a smallish, very quick outfield.

But this pitch behaved slightly differently. The best time to bat was up front and batting second was just that little bit harder as the ball gripped on a dry surface once the new-ball shine had gone.

Will Jacks was the man who seized the moment as he plundered the fastest century in SA20 history, needing just 41 balls to get there, and his onslaught up front gave the Pretoria Capitals such a good platform that their deceleration in the second half of their innings and a collapse of five wickets for seven runs at the death did not cost them the match.

A total of 204 for nine was certainly competitive and the Durban Super Giants were unable to replicate Jacks’ aggression up front and finished on 187 for seven.

Junior Dala, the Durban Super Giants strike bowler but usually based at SuperSport Park, said “It was a game that was probably won and lost in the powerplays. We showed fight with both bat and ball at the end, but we probably conceded 15 to 20 runs too many in our bowling powerplay as Will came hard at us.”

With Jacks hammering eight fours and nine sixes, including a straight hit into the media centre that I have never seen before at SuperSport Park, and fellow Englishman Phil Salt also scoring freely with 23 off 13 balls, the Capitals were off to a blazing start.

The opening pair lashed 75 runs off the first five-and-a-half overs, but then crucially, the Super Giants began taking wickets. As the ball became older, so the cutters came out and the visitors kept chipping away at the Pretoria batting line-up.

“With the newer ball, your cutters and slower balls just skidded on more, but by the eighth or ninth over they were beginning to grip more. But you still had to be smart and understand your match-ups,” Dala later explained.

Jacks reached his hundred two balls quicker than Durban’s Heinrich Klaasen had done in his landmark effort in this same fixture last season, the ball whizzing off his bat in a sparkling innings that should attract many, many views on SA20’s various digital platforms.

But when Jacks (101 off 42 balls) cut his next ball after reaching his second T20 century straight to point, Dwaine Pretorius making the breakthrough, the Pretoria Capitals innings rather lost its fizz. The wicket left them 151 for four after 13 overs, and although Colin Ingram scored a busy 43 off 23 deliveries, their momentum petered out.

Marcus Stoinis (4-0-37-1), playing his first SA20 match having just arrived from the Big Bash in Australia, lit the fuse for the bowling comeback as he dismissed Jimmy Neesham and conceded just two runs in the 18th over; Reece Topley (4-1-34-3) then bowled an astonishing double-wicket maiden and Dala (4-0-32-2) also took two wickets in the final over while conceding just seven runs.

Jacks then toyed with the Super Giants with the ball as well. He opened the bowling and conceded just seven runs in the first over, before returning and claiming two wickets – Kyle Mayers bowled for 1 and the massive scalp of Klaasen for just a single. The off-spinner finished with two for 18 in his three overs.

Opener Matthew Breetzke ought to have batted deeper after scoring 33 off 24 balls but he steered Parnell straight to deep cover and the Capitals just kept chipping away with regular wickets.

Quinton de Kock made 25 off 20 before he sent a mistimed pull off Hardus Viljoen straight to deep midwicket, Stoinis hit a couple of big sixes before holing out to Neesham, and Jacks then took a boundary catch to dismiss Keemo Paul (18) off Parnell.

Jon-Jon Smuts scored a defiant 27, but not even a late flurry from Pretorius (19* off 10) and Keshav Maharaj (25* off 12) was enough to take the Super Giants to a win.

Eathan Bosch was the other Pretoria bowler to excel, showing what a top-class talent he is as he adapted beautifully to the pitch, bowling effective cutters and conceding just 18 runs in his three overs.

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.

Du Toit will be tasked with ensuring Sharks get in the game way quicker 0

Posted on November 02, 2021 by Ken

Springbok prop Thomas du Toit will be tasked with ensuring the Sharks get in the game way quicker than they did last weekend as he has been handed the captaincy for their United Rugby Championship match against the Ospreys in Swansea on Friday night.

Coach Sean Everitt was quick to add that regular captain Phepsi Buthelezi is merely having a bit of a breather on the bench and will be back in the starting line-up next weekend.

The Sharks were horribly unfocused at the start of their match against Glasgow Warriors last weekend, trailing 19-0 in the first quarter, before dominating thereafter to only lose 35-24. Everitt believes Du Toit has the credentials to ensure that does not happen again.

“Thomas is full of confidence and playing his best rugby at the moment, he is a leader and he is certainly leading by performance at the moment. The more he plays, the better he gets and he was outstanding against Glasgow, his game has grown a lot lately.

“Phepsi is just resting, we want to take the pressure off him a bit, but he will be back next weekend. He needed a break, we just wanted to lighten his load a bit,” Everitt explained.

“Chasing the scoreboard away from home is always very difficult and if you look at the three tries we conceded early on, they were all quite soft. The guys were a bit shellshocked in the first 20 minutes, but then we managed to get some momentum for the rest of the game,” Everitt said on their poor start at Scotstoun.

The Sharks team announced on Wednesday shows plenty of rotational changes and, up front, tighthead Du Toit and blindside flank Gerbrandt Grobler were the only players to hold on to the same jersey, while in the backline, halfbacks Ruan Pienaar and Boeta Chamberlain and exciting wing Thaakir Abrahams are the only players still in the starting line-up from last weekend.

“There are a lot of rotational changes and some performance-based ones. But we wanted to freshen up the group, the changes don’t weaken the team, they are there to strengthen it. And Murray Koster, Fez Mbatha and Yaw Penxe are carrying injuries,” Everitt revealed.

Sharks: Anthony Volmink, Marnus Potgieter, Jeremy Ward, Marius Louw, Thaakir Abrahams, Boeta Chamberlain, Ruan Pienaar, Henco Venter, Gerbrandt Grobler, James Venter, Hyron Andrews, Ruben van Heerden, Thomas du Toit (Capt), Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu. Bench – Dan Jooste, Khwezi Mona, Lourens Adriaanse, Le Roux Roets, Phepsi Buthelezi, Dylan Richardson, Sanele Nohamba, Werner Kok.

Sharks will need to be quicker … but also be smarter – Am 0

Posted on June 17, 2021 by Ken

The Sharks have to beat the Bulls and get a bonus point at Kings Park on Saturday if they are to be in the Rainbow Cup final, which means they have to score four tries. That will probably mean they will try to play an even quicker game against the Currie Cup champions, but captain Lukhanyo Am said on Tuesday that they also have to be smart in how they play.

If the Bulls score four tries and get a bonus point then it probably won’t matter who wins the game because their points difference is so much better than the Sharks that the home team would need to beat them by 34 points just to draw level. So Am’s charges can’t just throw caution to the wind and go all-out trying to just score as many tries as possible.

“We’re not going to shy away from our DNA, but the Bulls present a different threat to the Lions and we need to try and find the balance between running, flashy rugby and smart, tactical rugby on the right side of the field. We’ll want to bring energy and continuity and we’ll be trying our best to get into the final,” Am said on Tuesday.

This will be the last time the likes of Am, Makazole Mapimpi and Siya Kolisi will be playing for the Sharks until the end of the chockablock Springbok schedule towards the end of the year. The Sharks do, however, have nine players in the extended Springbok squad and their clash with the dominant force in domestic rugby for the last year will be thrilling.

*Perhaps the biggest surprise after the Sharks officially confirmed on Tuesday that Stormers hooker Bongi Mbonambi will be joining them at the end of the Lions tour was that the Springbok star had held out for so long before signing his new contract.

Mbonambi was already poised to join the Sharks back in March, when his Roc Nation stablemate Kolisi had already been unveiled as a key signing for the Durban franchise.

The talented 21-year-old Fez Mbatha has been the Sharks’ first-choice hooker recently, but Kerron van Vuuren and part-time flank Dylan Richardson have also had plenty of time in the middle of the front row. Former Maties and SA U20 hooker Dan Jooste is also under contract at Kings Park.

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