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Ken Borland

Lions hunting intensity like a dieter trying to increase metabolism 0

Posted on July 08, 2024 by Ken

Like a dieter trying to increase their metabolism, our DP World Lions men’s team have been hunting increased intensity in the field in the CSA T20 Challenge and the Pride certainly reached their goal in the Western Cape over the last week.

An impressive and commanding nine-wicket win over the Boland Rocks last weekend in Paarl was followed on Wednesday night by an even more tremendous, record-breaking triumph over Western Province at Newlands.

On a memorable evening for the #PrideOfJozi, they hammered WP by 132 runs, the biggest ever victory margin in the history of the competition. Having scored 213 for two, their highest ever T20 total against their traditional rivals, the DP World Lions then bundled the home side out for just 81. The record-breaking effort erases the Lions’ own previous mark for the heaviest defeat, having been beaten by 130 runs by the Eagles in Potchefstroom in 2004/5.

Having now secured second place with a five-point lead over Western Province, it all sets the DP World Lions up beautifully for their clash with the HollywoodBets Dolphins in Johannesburg on Friday night.

While there were superb individual performances from Ryan Rickelton (73 off 46), Reeza Hendricks (90 off 49), Lutho Sipamla (3-1-14-3) and Nqaba Peter (2.3-1-7-4 – the third-best figures ever for the Lions) in Cape Town, coach Russell Domingo was delighted by the lift in intensity by the team as a whole.

“We’ve been wanting to play to our standards and intensity. We have a lot of internationals in our team and with small crowds it can be challenging for them because they’re used to thousands of spectators. So we’ve tried to match our intensity to our own standards and we were crazy good with both bat and ball at Newlands and the fielding was really superb,” Domingo said.

“But the Dolphins have a formidable side with in-form batsmen, pace bowlers and spinners. They beat us in Durban and we’re going to have to be on top of our game, focusing on how we control the game.”

Rickelton and Hendricks, who put on an outstanding 151 for the first wicket – a record for Newlands, have now both climbed into the top six of the batting averages with over 250 runs to their names; only Rubin Hermann of the Dragons has scored more.

Rassie van der Dussen (29* off 18) and Delano Potgieter (14* off 7) then provided the finishing touches to the record total.

“It was good to see the batting fire after what has been a strange campaign with us not batting first a lot and having to chase several low scores. Reeza and Ryan batted superbly and they are both quality batsmen. They are finding a way to get substantial scores now that we’re in the crucial stages of the competition,” Domingo said.

Lutho Sipamla and Tshepo Moreki then backed up the batting effort by bowling superbly with the new ball, reducing WP to 38 for four in the powerplay, Sipamla being rewarded with career-best figures.

“Lutho and Tshepo were fantastic and they bowled really good Test lengths, they were aggressive and the pitch did a bit at night. I anticipate the DP World Wanderers wicket also doing a bit against the Dolphins, there’s a bit of rain around, it’s late in the season and there’s a chill in the air. We’ll have to assess and adapt to that as well,” Domingo said.

With the increased pressure, Peter ripped through the remaining batsmen, baffling them with his flat leg-spin and changes of pace. Following on from his three for 14 against the Rocks, the 22-year-old has now taken seven wickets for 38 runs in eight-and-a-half overs and is top of the bowling averages.

“Nqaba bowled brilliantly, his discipline and control was really good,” Domingo said. “He only took up leg-spin a couple of years ago, so it is still a new art for him and he has a long way to go, but he is a really promising talent. He has coaches around him who have learnt from the very best leg-spinners, they give Nqaba feedback in terms of how they were set up as batsmen and he is understanding the nuances of the skill,” Domingo said.

Having kept Western Province in third place on the log, the DP World Lions will now be out to ensure the Dolphins stay fourth, currently 11 points behind them. A third victory in a row for our Pride will also close the gap on the log-leading Warriors to just a handful of points.

CSA need a batting crisis plan that includes current players & coaches 0

Posted on September 04, 2023 by Ken

A dismal year of batting has come to an end for the Proteas, in which they reached previous lows achieved before only by the Bangladesh team as it first made its way in Test cricket, and Cricket South Africa urgently needs to implement some crisis planning that includes current players and coaches, and those who have recently retired.

South Africa were bowled out for less than 200 in seven successive Test innings, that dismal run only coming to an end in the second innings in Melbourne as a last-wicket stand of 27 between Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje saw them stagger to 204 all out.

Only one team has had worse runs: Bangladesh with 12 scores of less than 200 in a row in 2001/02, just a year after they played their first Test, and eight in a row in 2018.

There were other unwanted statistics: South Africa’s batting average of 24.1 runs-per-wicket in the calendar year is the fourth-worst ever and scoring just two centuries and 19 fifties in 2022 is also amongst the top-three of meagre returns.*

The declining quality of domestic cricket has been fingered by many as being to blame for the poor quality of the Proteas batting, but the only people who will really know if this is true or not are those intimately involved with the local game. Coaches like Robin Peterson and Vinnie Barnes, current players like Dean Elgar, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma and Aiden Markram, former greats like Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, even a youngster like Kyle Verreynne who has just come through the domestic system, should all be in the room and canvassed for their opinions.

It is with reluctance that I say the bean counters at CSA will also have to be involved because financial constraints have undoubtedly caused some of the problems.

We also need to have an urgent look at the standard of our pitches. Surfaces that favour pace bowlers have been pretty stock-standard in South African cricket for a long time and traditionally the country has produced some great fast bowlers.

But our depth is not as good as many believe – the pickings are fairly slim once you go past the fabulous foursome currently playing for the Proteas. One of the reasons for this is that our domestic pitches offer too much assistance – whether through excessive seam movement or inconsistent bounce – and our bowlers don’t learn the skills and game-plans required to do well on the better batting surfaces generally found at international level.

Australia have probably the deepest stocks of quality pace bowlers because they grow up learning their trade on good batting wickets, with pace and bounce that reward good bowling.

And that helps their batsmen, because they are always facing quality attacks at home as they come through the system.

The lack of depth in quality in our domestic attacks also affects the development of our batsmen – they are not tested for long enough periods and dodgy technique is not exposed and punished as it should be. Being able to build an innings and withstand pressure bowling from both ends for long periods are weaknesses we are currently seeing at Test level.

Unfortunately, when it comes to systemic issues, there are no quick fixes. The kneejerk reaction of getting an entirely new top six in is unlikely to work because that removes what little experience there is and the Proteas will start at zero again.

Unless CSA really look after, nurture and prioritise the level below the Proteas, then these unusually low batting returns, which are happening in all three international formats, will become the norm.

It is also going to require CSA undoing some of the policy decisions made in recent years that have weakened the domestic game.

*Stats courtesy of Sampath Bandarupalli of CricInfo

Warner motors to commanding century as SA bowlers keep chugging in 0

Posted on August 01, 2023 by Ken

David Warner was able to motor to a commanding century as Australia reached 231 for two at tea against a South African attack that kept chugging in without much luck on the second day of the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday.

Warner celebrated the considerable milestone of making a century in his 100th Test, becoming just the 11th player to achieve this landmark, but arguably more important to him was that it was his first hundred in nearly three years.

Together with Steven Smith, he ensured that Australia were already 42 runs ahead on first innings, with eight wickets in hand. Warner had reached 135 not out off 207 balls at tea, while Smith stuck to his task well against plenty of testing bowling as he reached the break on 60 not out off 129 deliveries.

Although the only wicket South Africa had claimed on Tuesday came through a run out, the Proteas bowlers generally stuck to their task well. Anrich Nortje was especially impressive, running in tirelessly and delivering 150km/h thunderbolts, and he troubled the left-handed Warner in particular, several inside-edges narrowly avoiding the stumps.

Left-armer Marco Jansen was also probing and he had Smith dropped on nine, gloving a hook down the leg-side, wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne spilling a tough, diving chance.

Australia had resumed on 45 for one in pursuit of South Africa’s poor first innings of just 189, and made a bright start as Warner and Marnus Labuschagne took their stand to 54.

Warner had been particularly busy and intense, always looking for the extra run. His enthusiasm proved to be Labuschagne’s downfall, however, as he called his partner through for a second run on an overthrow, but the South African had run through the crease scampering what was a quick single in the first place, and, after trying to send Warner back, Labuschagne was run out at the bowler’s end for 14.

Keshav Maharaj had thrown the ball to Nortje, who had done well to transfer the throw on to the stumps from a couple of metres away.

But Warner and Smith have since added 156. This Australian batting line-up spares nobody when they get the bit between their teeth, and on a lovely batting pitch on a sweltering day in Melbourne, South Africa’s bowlers are once again in for plenty of toil after another dismal failure by their batsmen.

Erwee and Elgar give SA a solid start 0

Posted on October 05, 2022 by Ken

Sarel Erwee and Dean Elgar gave South Africa a solid start to their first innings as the Proteas reached 158 for two at tea on the second day of the first Test against England at Lord’s on Thursday.

Having bowled England out for just 165 in the first hour of the second day, Erwee and Elgar survived a testing 12 overs before lunch and then compiled an excellent opening stand of 85.

England, who huffed and puffed for a breakthrough, only broke the defiant partnership between the two left-handers when Elgar fell to a freakish dismissal. A leg-side delivery from Jimmy Anderson struck him on the thigh-pad and then bounced up to hit the back of his arm, sending it back on to Elgar’s stumps. Ironically, he had survived a couple of unplayable deliveries from Anderson earlier in his innings.

The South African captain was out for 47, a typically pugnacious innings, blunting the bowling and leading from the front.

Keegan Petersen then contributed 24 in a second-wicket stand of 53 with Erwee, before being caught in the slips off Matthew Potts. The most inexperienced of England’s pacemen was wayward against the two left-handers but was more settled against the right-handers.

Aiden Markram, back in the Proteas Test family after his successful IPL sojourn, then accompanied Erwee to tea, playing one gorgeous cover-drive for four off Anderson to reach 16 not out.

Erwee had got stuck in to score 60 not out and can be extremely proud of his effort. Gutsy, solid in defence and able to punish the bad ball he looks wonderfully determined not to give anything away.

Earlier, Kagiso Rabada duly completed his five-wicket haul, bowling superbly in the first hour of the morning session to finish with five for 52 in 19 overs.

England had resumed on a struggling 116 for six after the Proteas pacemen had dominated the 32 overs able to be played on the first day before rain washed out play. Ollie Pope was the key man for them on 61 not out, but the determined No.3 was the first batsman to fall on Thursday, in the fifth over of the day.

Rabada kept plugging away with great control and skill just outside the off-stump, and Pope inside-edged a big drive into his stumps to be bowled for 73.

A beautiful slower ball then accounted for Stuart Broad (15) and Rabada wrapped up his 12th five-wicket haul in his 73rd Test by trapping Jimmy Anderson lbw for a first-ball duck.

Left-armer Marco Jansen finished with two for 30 in eight overs and Anrich Nortje was also wonderful on the first day, finishing with three for 63 in 13 overs.

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    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

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