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Ken Borland



One can only salute vintage Warner 0

Posted on August 17, 2023 by Ken

David Warner has been a nemesis of South African cricket for a long time, but one could only salute the stroppy left-hander for his vintage double-century in his 100th Test which gave Australia complete control of the second Test at the MCG.

With the build-up to his landmark Test being surrounded by talk of how much longer he would feature in the longest format – his previous century was nearly three years ago – and off-field drama as he sought to overturn the leadership ban imposed on him after his scurrilous ball-tampering actions in the previous Test series against South Africa, Warner was under real pressure at the MCG.

But with Kagiso Rabada having dismissed the 36-year-old in his last five innings, Warner made the bold statement that he had perhaps been treating bowlers with too much respect and he was going to return to his old, aggressive self in the second Test.

Warner was true to his word and his innings was a high-quality display full of all the attributes that have made him a great Test batsman: he brought an almost manic intensity to the crease, he was positive and committed to every shot he played and every run he scampered, driven by an immense hunger that saw him plough on through severe cramps brought about by searing temperatures that touched 40°.

Warner produced a typically flashy statement innings on his big day at the cathedral of Australian cricket. Not only did he become the eighth Australian to score 8000 Test runs, but only the second (and 10th overall) to score a century in his 100th Test. He was not satisfied and went on to become only the second batsman, England’s Joe Root being the other, to made a double-century in his 100th Test.

The lover of sports cars – he owns a McLaren and a Lamborghini Huracan – emptied the tank on Tuesday at the MCG and whether he still has the desire to fuel his continued presence on the Test stage, with daunting tours of India and England to come, remains to be seen.

Let’s hope he continues to grace the most important stage of the game because, whatever you may think of Warner the person and his antics, he is a box-office entertainer.

Salute understaffed Internationals for doing Presidents Cup credit 0

Posted on November 16, 2022 by Ken

One can only salute Trevor Immelman’s understaffed International team for their heroic comeback in the Presidents Cup at the weekend, and even though they were eventually beaten 17½-12½, they did themselves and, perhaps most importantly, the event a huge credit.

The United States had won the last eight successive editions of the biennial tournament, so they were overwhelming favourites even before the defections to LIV Golf decimated Immelman’s team. The South African captain was forced to choose eight rookies for the event. His highest-ranked player was Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, ranked 14th in the world; there were 10 Americans ranked higher.

And then the Internationals suffered a nightmare start as they crashed 8-2, and then 11-4, behind on the first two days.

But the Internationals stood tall on the weekend, winning 10½ of the last 20 points. At one stage on the final day singles, they had closed to within two points of the United States, with several other games in the balance.

For those who love the Presidents Cup and team golf, it was wonderful to see the Internationals fight so hard to prove their competitiveness. They may have lost the match, but they ensured this event will survive for at least a while longer.

Many seasoned observers have marvelled at the number of long-range putts the Americans sank during the event. It almost seemed like whenever they looked at the hole, even from miles away, they would sink the putt.

While one should credit the hosts for their attacking mindset, it’s probably fair to say they also enjoyed some good fortune.

South Africa’s only other member of the team, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, was unbeaten with 1½ points, although he somewhat surprisingly only played two matches.

“We showed a lot of guts to fight back,” Immelman said after the defeat. “At some point this afternoon, I thought there was still a chance.

“When you consider we were 8-2 down, this team is no joke, and I’m sick and tired of it being spoken of as a joke. We love this event, we love our team, and we cannot wait to have another shot.”

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    Persevere in your service as Christ did – through obstacles, disappointment and adversity, and never give up hope.

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