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Ken Borland

Proteas obvious favourites with just 2% chance of rain 0

Posted on January 30, 2023 by Ken

The chance of rain scuppering the Proteas’ chances is apparently just 2% and South Africa will be obvious favourites when they take on the Netherlands in Adelaide in the early hours of Sunday morning with a semifinal place on the line.

It’s the simplest of equations for the Proteas – beat the qualifiers and they are in the semi-finals. A defeat or a washed-out match would mean the winners of the game between Pakistan and Bangladesh would go through. Zimbabwe will also still have a chance of progressing if they beat India, but for that to happen and the Dutch to triumph over the Proteas would be two of the biggest upsets in T20 World Cup history on the same day.

Although captain Temba Bavuma said he was not concerned by the performance of the team in their loss to Pakistan in their previous match, the sloppiness of their display is clearly something they cannot afford to repeat. Especially not when they are on the verge of reaching the knockout rounds.

What was frustrating about their showing was that they did everything right for the first 10 overs, knocking over the Pakistan top-order. But their failure to bowl the right lengths in the closing overs was once again the burr in their saddle, Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan lashing quickfire half-centuries as 106 runs were thrashed in the last eight overs.

It was a cold, wet night in Sydney but that did not excuse a messy fielding display, with catches being dropped and straightforward outfielding being duffed.

In terms of the batting, Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw both failed, but Bavuma and Aiden Markram did well enough to have the Proteas on track after the powerplay. But both of them losing their wickets in the same over, shortly before the rain delay, meant the revised DLS target was too stiff for Heinrich Klaasen and Tristan Stubbs.

The Proteas will be hoping the talismanic David Miller has recovered from his back spasm, and they know that winning their next three games will make this event their most memorable world cup campaign ever.

“You can’t afford to give teams momentum and I’m not going to look for excuses for our fielding display,” Bavuma said after the Pakistan loss. “We have been very good up to that game and we have fielded in the wet before.

“But mistakes were made and that was not the type of display you want at this level, especially in this part of the tournament. Maybe the intensity was down a bit, but it was definitely not the standard we pride ourselves on.

“Hopefully we play our best cricket in the next three games, the next one is a must-win and then we have the playoffs,” Bavuma said.

SA hockey’s quick demise on Gold Coast does insidious damage 2

Posted on May 16, 2018 by Ken


The South African men’s hockey team’s hopes at the Commonwealth Games were quickly extinguished, but apart from scuppering any possibility of them adding to the Proteas squad’s impressive haul of medals, more insidious damage was done to the image of the game as a whole in this country.

South Africa began their campaign with a disappointing 4-2 loss to Scotland, who are not even in the top-20 of the world rankings, and were then hammered 4-0 by Australia and 6-0 by New Zealand. They ended the pool stage with a good 2-0 win over 11th-ranked Canada, but they were still condemned to playing in the wooden-spoon playoff for ninth and 10th place.

A 3-2 defeat at the hands of Wales, ranked 24th in the world, completed a shocking tournament for South Africa.

No-one is questioning the commitment of the team, who are, after all, basically amateurs trying to compete with professionals, but questions have to be asked about the selection of the squad.

Surely for a tournament of the Commonwealth Games’ stature – which attracts plenty of media attention back home – the selectors should fill the team with their most experienced, best players? This was not the case with several seasoned campaigners being left at home as SA hockey tried to ‘build for the future’.

The South African Hockey Association (Saha) like to give plenty of lip about a lack of financial support from Sascoc and corporates, but in this instance they have shot themselves in the foot.

The Commonwealth Games, with its widespread coverage, is the ideal platform – second only to the Olympics in terms of our hockey – for SA hockey to make a statement. Winning a medal, which is not a realistic target in the World Cup later this year, would make the public and potential sponsors and supporters sit up and take notice.

Even our women’s side, which is a top-class outfit, disappointed, only managing to finish sixth thanks to defeats to India and Canada and a draw with Malaysia. Canada and Malaysia are not even ranked in the world top-20, while South Africa are 14th.

It all just showed a lack of strategic thinking by Saha. No doubt the powers that be will say something about the mechanics of preparation for the World Cup being behind the Commonwealth Games failure. But a Commonwealth Games medal – or even a strong run for one – would have been a real fillip for the game back home, engendering far more positive PR than a 10th-place finish in a World Cup that the average South African will be totally oblivious about.

A full-strength South African side would have had a chance to nick a medal on the Gold Coast, something which nobody expects them to do in the World Cup. Now, instead, the public opinion of hockey will once again be of a bunch of no-hopers.

Saha needs to make better decisions to ensure they at least give their under-resourced, struggling national teams some gloss.

Varsity Cup once again in troubled waters 0

Posted on April 21, 2016 by Ken


The Varsity Cup once again finds itself in troubled waters with claims that champions Pukke fielded an ineligible player, breaking the same complex rule that led to the University of KwaZulu-Natal being docked a massive 12 points, scuppering their chances of being promoted from the Varsity Shield into the big league.

Pukke won the tournament, which was disrupted by unrest at universities across the country, by beating Maties 7-6 a week ago in Stellenbosch, with front-ranker Bart le Roux excelling.

Unfortunately for the Potchefstroom university, Le Roux played previously for the UKZN Impi in 2014 and, due to the arcane regulations for the tournament, had to sit out a certain period of time before representing another university side.

UKZN were found guilty of fielding an ineligible player when a former University of Johannesburg and Lions U-19 player appeared for them in six matches this season, Varsity Cup organisers saying they were deducted two points per game. But tournament auditors KPMG cleared both Le Roux and the UKZN player as being eligible, leaving Varsity Cup organisers in a quandary.

Having set a harsh precedent in punishing UKZN, Varsity Cup is faced with the embarrassing decision to strip Pukke of their title, more than a week after the final.

The situation has led many of the competing teams to question the efficiency of KPMG, whose advice was taken in fielding the ineligible players, and whether it is fair for them to be punished for mistakes by the tournament’s auditors.

The lack of a centralised database comprising all participating players’ tournament histories and educational background so they can be checked before the tournament starts has also been criticised.

UKZN management have also queried the timing with opposition teams seemingly waiting until the final stages of the season, when there is no time for a team to recover from losing points, before making their accusations.

Varsity Cup organisers did not return messages asking for comment yesterday.


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