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Ken Borland

Proteas came right when they needed to, but had to settle for mediocre drawn series 0

Posted on August 10, 2021 by Ken

The Proteas came right when they needed to, centuries by openers Janneman Malan and Quinton de Kock leading them to a comfortable 70-run win over Ireland at Malahide in Dublin on Friday, but it meant they had to settle for the mediocre outcome of sharing the series with the 12th-ranked team.

Putting their shock midweek defeat behind them, South Africa won the toss and this time elected to bat first, wanting to land the first punch and dominate from the outset. They certainly did that as Malan and De Kock shared an outstanding opening partnership of 225 in 36 overs.

De Kock was in majestic form, unfazed by anything the Irish could throw at him, and his superb 120 off 91 balls was the sort of quality innings where the left-hander looked in complete control throughout, striking 11 fours and five sixes.

De Kock eventually fell to the off-spin of Simi Singh when he just failed to clear the midwicket boundary, Mark Adair taking the catch with his heels lifted to avoid touching the line.

But Malan powered on to a magnificent 177 not out off 169 deliveries, hammering 16 fours and six sixes. Who De Kock’s opening partner should be in ODIs would now appear to be settled as Malan has collected 483 runs in his six ODI innings at a phenomenal average of 120.75.  He has two centuries and his strike-rate is 94.33. That should be sufficient for the 25-year-old to have cemented his place in the team.

Malan’s unbeaten 177 was the fourth highest individual score for the Proteas in ODI cricket and, with Rassie van der Dussen adding 30 off 28 balls, they were able to post a pleasing 346 for four.

In the field, South Africa snuck in left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj at the start of the innings and he had both openers, Paul Stirling (11) and Andy Balbirnie (7), well-taken at slip by Malan.

Lizaad Williams then had the delight of having Andy McBrine caught behind for 9 with his first ball in ODI cricket as Ireland slumped to 27 for three inside the first eight overs.

The run-rate only really arose from its slumber when former SA U19 all-rounder Curtis Campher, with a run-a-ball 54, and Singh slapped the ball around in a seventh-wicket stand of 104.

South Africa once again finished the innings poorly with both ball and in the field, and Singh took the opportunity to notch a maiden century, finishing with a dazzling 100 not out off 91 balls.

Tabraiz Shamsi continued to have spin aficionados purring with delight as he took three for 46 in his 10 overs, while there was some pleasing success for all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo, whose surprise packet of deliveries brought him three for 56 in 10 as Ireland were eventually all out for 276.

Kitshoff no longer sharing No.1 jersey with Beast, but is not going to change his approach 0

Posted on June 24, 2021 by Ken

Steven Kitshoff has spent a long time sharing the Springbok loosehead duties with the great Tendai Mtawarira, but now that the ‘Beast’ has retired, the Stormers powerhouse will be the undisputed wearer of South Africa’s No.1 jersey in the series against the British and Irish Lions, but says being in the hot seat is not going to change his approach to Test rugby.

Mtawarira is the most-capped Springbok prop ever with 117 appearances stretching from 2008 to the triumphant 2019 World Cup final. Kitshoff made his Test debut in 2016 and has amassed 47 caps, but only 12 of those have been starts.

“Playing with and behind Beast was a massive honour and it was a privilege to learn from him. He is one of the great legends of the game. But now that he has retired, I’ll bring a similar approach as before to the game, I’ll focus on just doing my job the best I can for the team, and be willing to sacrifice for the team. My preparation will be the same.

“I’ll be putting in the same hard work every week leading up to the game. I’ll just be trying my best to represent my country and uphold the jersey as best I can, because I remember back in 2009, I was still in Grade XI and it was awesome to watch Beast scrum Phil Vickery on the last Lions tour here,” Kitshoff said.

The absence of Mtawarira robs the Springboks of one of their main leaders and has been exacerbated by the probable loss of Duane Vermeulen to an ankle injury. And while inspirational skipper Siya Kolisi will still very much have his hands on the tiller, Kitshoff says it will be all hands on deck in terms of the other leaders in the team stepping up.

“Duane plays a massive role in the side. I have no idea how long his rehab is going to take and I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery. He will definitely be missed, but we have a great group of players and leaders who are ready to step up and sacrifice anything for the jersey. There are still unbelievable leaders in the group and there are key guys running certain positions.

“That makes the game so much easier because it helps you control certain situations. As senior players now we must just step up and make sure we bring our side of the deal. Playing against the Lions is always one of the hardest series, up there with the World Cup, the toughest few weeks of your life. We’re working day-by-day to get our stuff in order and to have clarity in playing to our strengths,” Kitshoff said.

Six golfers lead heading into Tshwane Open final round 0

Posted on January 01, 2016 by Ken

Six golfers put themselves at the top of the leaderboard on Saturday, sharing a one-shot lead as the Tshwane Open enters what will be a thrilling final round at Pretoria Country Club on Sunday.

South Africans Wallie Coetsee, George Coetzee and Trevor Fisher Junior, as well as Scotland’s Craig Lee, Englishman David Horsey and Spaniard Adrian Otaegui, are all on nine-under-par, one stroke ahead of locals Ockie Strydom and Erik van Rooyen.

Lee, looking to claim his first European Tour title after some close misses in the past, fired a four-under-par 66 on Saturday to vault up the leaderboard, having started the day tied for 13th place.

Coetsee and Coetzee, both proud boereseuns, shot two-under-par 68s to claim a share of the lead, while Fisher Junior, looking for back-to-back European Tour titles after last weekend’s breakthrough win at the Africa Open, and Horsey both posted 69s.

Otaegui, who blazed to a 62 in the second round to claim a two-shot lead, had the least impressive round of the half-dozen leaders, battling to a two-over-par 72.

The 22-year-old was one-under for the round as he reached the ninth hole, but three bogeys in five holes followed.

“I played pretty well until the ninth. I missed the tee-shot on the left and had the wrong strategy and tried to go for the green. Then I made another couple of bogeys after that, but I’m happy and made a few good putts. I’m trying to keep the rhythm for better tee shots tomorrow.

“The fairways were a bit harder and the ball flew a bit longer. I played okay and I’m pretty confident for tomorrow,” Otaegui said.

The Pretoria Country Club faithful will certainly be behind Coetzee, a long-time member, and the one-time European Tour winner said the changes to his game that he has struggled to bed down over the last year are starting to produce the goods.

“Every day it gets a bit closer to what I want and today was the first time in a year I can say it was pure ball-striking. It’s nice to get the game gelling properly and local knowledge does help in terms of knowing exactly what to expect when I’m in trouble, but it’s not going to get me over the line,” Coetzee said.

The fairytale winner, however, would be Coetsee, the journeyman who is in his 23rd year as a Sunshine Tour pro and has just two titles to show for it. But since earning his Asian Tour card in a gruelling qualifying school in Thailand in January, the 42-year-old has gone on an astonishing run of form that has seen him finish tied second in the Joburg Open and tied-45th in the Africa Open, the R1.1 million he has earned in the last two weeks making up 26% of his career winnings!

“I’ve got my Sunshine Tour card, my Asian Tour card and now it’s time for the European Tour card. I’m hitting the ball so well and I love the pressure, it’s lekker. I took a lot out of leading the Joburg Open in the final round and finishing second. When something bad like that happens, you think it’s terrible at the time, but in the end it’s the best thing because you learn from your mistakes. But hopefully I don’t learn anything tomorrow!” the genial Coetsee joked.

The marketing gurus have come up with the slogan “It’s more than just golf!” for the Tshwane Open, and Fisher Junior can attest to that as his more relaxed attitude on the course, after his father succumbed to cancer two years ago, has seen the father of two gain perspective and take pains not to define himself through his golf.

The result has been a life-changing win at East London Golf Club and the possibility of another lucrative pay-day in Pretoria.

The likeable Modderfontein golfer is adept at rebounding from tough times and, after four bogeys in five holes from the third, he claimed back-to-back birdies on the eighth and ninth holes, and three more on the back nine to join the leaders.

“It was tough today. You can see from the scores that no one moved today. If it’s gusty like this then you have to grind. The wind was all over the show. I think it was the windiest day here so far. It swirls so much that you don’t know what you’re doing with the yardages and the greens are quite firm, so it was tough to up-and-down.

“But I’m very happy with how I finished. If you said to me after six holes that I would finish with a one-under 69, I would have taken it. I started badly, but my swing felt good. I was a bit unlucky on a few holes and the putter was saving me,” Fisher Junior said.

Horsey, who shared the first-round lead with Morten Orum Madsen, who is one of a trio of European golfers on seven-under with Raphael Jacquelin and Edoardo Molinari, also managed to avoid the big numbers on a day when he struggled to get close to the flags, thanks in part to the tricky, shifting breeze at Pretoria Country Club.

“I didn’t give myself really good chances for birdie and struggled a bit with distance-control. It was difficult to get it close and that makes it hard to make birdie. All things considered it was a decent score and I’m reasonably pleased with how I am playing. The wind has been tricky for the last three days. It seems to pick up and drop, which made choosing the right club very difficult,” Horsey said.

The chase for the R2.9 million first prize is not limited to the top 11 golfers on seven-under or better though; South Africans Tjaart van der Walt, Justin Walters and Dean Burmester, and Sweden’s Mikael Lundberg, are all on six-under, just three shots off the pace.

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