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Ken Borland

Bavuma: Proteas bowlers stuck to hard lengths longer than they should have 0

Posted on January 30, 2023 by Ken

South Africa captain Temba Bavuma conceded on Thursday that the Proteas bowlers had stuck to their usual hard lengths for longer than they should have as a resurgent Pakistan team beat them by 33 runs in their T20 World Cup match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

South Africa bowled superbly in the first half of the Pakistan innings, reducing them to 55/4 after nine overs, but brilliant half-centuries by Iftikhar Ahmad (51 off 35) and Shadab Khan (52 off 22) saw the desperate Pakistan team lash 130 runs in the last 11 overs, including 80 in the last six.

There were too many deliveries in the slot for the batsmen, which was in stark contrast to how Pakistan bowled, especially after the rain delay when South Africa needed 73 off 30 balls. Pakistan consistently either found the blockhole or bowled slower balls into the pitch.

“From 50/4, the last thing you expect is for them to get 185. But the problem lay with us,” Bavuma admitted. “Our hard lengths have been very successful previously, using our pace and height.

“We were superb for the first 10 overs, but the conditions changed, the ball started sliding on and the short boundaries were in play, and we should have shown more awareness to adapt. Their batsmen started to exploit it and put us under pressure. The wheels fell off.

“We allowed three or four overs to go by, we allowed them to get momentum into their innings, and the damage had been done by the time we tried to change things.

“Hard lengths was probably not the right plan considering the conditions out there, and they were able to get a formidable score. We know Pakistan are really dangerous whenever they get a sniff,” Bavuma said.

Perhaps the biggest positive to come out of the defeat was how Bavuma, who was been through a really hard time with his batting, was able to score a sparkling 36 off just 19 balls. He was especially severe on anything short, and he and Aiden Markram had the Proteas well-placed on 65/2 after seven overs when leg-spinner Shadab dismissed both of them in his first over, just before the rain delay.

“It’s been a while since I hit the ball in the middle and I felt a lot better today,” Bavuma said. “I was seeing the ball well and making better decisions. I just tried to enjoy it and watch the ball more.”

South Africa now have to beat the Netherlands in their final group game on Sunday to reach the semi-finals.

“Maybe this was the performance we needed to bring us back to earth. There are certainly areas we can learn from, and if you’re going to learn, now is probably the time to do it.

“We have a bit of a lifeline because of the way we’ve played well up till now. We didn’t play our best cricket today and came unstuck. It was probably a bit of a wake-up call,” Bavuma said.

Jake proud of the way Bulls stuck together like a family to beat Benetton 0

Posted on January 11, 2023 by Ken

The scoreboard shows a 44-22 triumph for the Bulls over Benetton in Treviso, but they had to work extremely hard for the win, with coach Jake White saying how proud he was of the way they stuck together like a family to end their two-match losing streak overseas.

The Bulls were fortunate to only be 9-3 down at halftime, and even though they were much-improved after the break, Benetton were still leading 22-20 on the hour mark. It was a titanic tussle, but the Bulls finished superbly with three tries in the last 10 minutes to not only snatch a hard-fought win, but also claim an unlikely bonus point.

“It’s a massive relief and I’m really proud of the players for the way they stuck together and got the reward for the work they put in at training,” White said. “And it’s wonderful that it’s a bonus point win, I’m really happy.

“The second half was fantastic, after the first half when we did not finish our chances and gave them a couple of soft penalties through silly mistakes. I had a feeling that we would finish well because Benetton looked dead on their feet.

“The talk at halftime was that we’ve got them on the ropes, every time we got down their end, we could feel the ascendancy. We just had to keep going and bashing at the wall, and it did eventually break.

“From a game that could have gone either way, we won with forty points. Not many teams come here and win, so a bonus point win is really good,” White said.

The most outstanding area of the Bulls game was at the breakdown and, were it not for numerous steals in the first half, Benetton would surely have been much further ahead and the mountain to climb away from home would have been too much for the visitors.

“Having Bismarck du Plessis, Marco van Staden and Marcell Coetzee together really helps at the breakdown, they are masters of understanding when to go in and what to do,” White said.

“I was very pleased with the defensive breakdown and we were also able to get quick ball, unlike the last two weeks. When we get go-forward ball, we play so much better.

“It’s a credit to the captain [the man of the match Coetzee] and the belief in the team. Sometimes these sort of wins can be a catalyst to jumpstart the season, turn it around.

“Coming off two losses in a row, 9-3 down away from home, how much more character can the team show? And it gets rid of what happened here last year in the Rainbow Cup final,” a delighted White said.

Batting 1st with rain around has po-faced critics, but Proteas sticking to their strengths – Maharaj 0

Posted on September 05, 2022 by Ken

Proteas captain Keshav Maharaj’s decision to bat first even though rain was forecast in the third and decisive ODI against England last weekend had its po-faced critics, but as he later explained it was done to ensure South Africa stuck to their strengths and their game-plan, which leans heavily on their spinners.

While the rain ultimately washed out the match and made the toss a moot point, when the T20 series gets underway on Wednesday night in Bristol, we can expect the Proteas to stick to roughly the same game-plan as they use in ODI cricket.

South Africa’s rise to fourth in the T20 rankings has been built around the strength of their attack, and Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, number three in the world T20 rankings, have been key performers with their ability to both take wickets and stem the flow of runs. The game-plan has been the security blanket they cling to because it has carried them through some very tough times.

“We want to make sure we stick to our blueprint at all times and not go back into our slump,” Maharaj said.

“We really turned up to play in the last ODI, it could have been a spectacular end to the series, so it was frustrating to not get a result, but we can’t control the rain.

“The overhead conditions at Headingley told a different story, but the pitch was quite dry and we back our two spinners. We wanted to allow the wicket to deteriorate and use the spinners in the second innings,” Maharaj said.

Despite their awful collapse to 83 all out in the second ODI, the Proteas have built up some trust in their batting line-up. Aiden Markram (third) and Rassie van der Dussen (10th) are both high in the T20 world rankings, while Quinton de Kock is 15th and he showed in the final ODI that he still has that matchwinning x-factor.

“Obviously the batting collapse was not ideal and it was really disappointing after the spectacular batting in the first game,” Maharaj said. “The batting unit has generally been pretty good lately though.

“That first ODI was probably the most clinical we’ve been in the last 18 months and we want to replicate that in the T20s. Adapting to the pitch is the most crucial thing.

“It’s great to have Quinny back to his best too and his skill factor is one of the best in the world. He made it look much easier to bat than it was, and it’s always nice to see your senior players put their hands up,” Maharaj said.

David Miller is captain for the T20s and the series is likely to see the return of both Markram, who missed the India matches due to Covid, and Rilee Rossouw to the top-three of the Proteas batting line-up.

Cricket SA’s new CEO just loves the game … and feels responsible for it 0

Posted on August 08, 2022 by Ken

What strikes you most when chatting to Cricket South Africa’s CEO Pholetsi Moseki is that this man just loves the game so much and also feels he has a responsibility to it, which explains why he stuck it out through the organisation’s most problematic years.

Moseki first joined CSA in July 2019 as their chief financial officer. By the end of that year, the organisation was in an administrative shambles and Moseki found himself fulfilling various extra roles until he was ultimately appointed acting chief executive in December 2020, succeeding the likes of Jacques Faul and the shortlived Kugandrie Govender.

CSA then made that appointment permanent, on a five-year deal, in March this year, a decision which, by all accounts, is a popular one with the staff and the organisation’s stakeholders.

“I was introduced to cricket in the mid-90s by my cousin and it was huge fun watching the Proteas back then. The beauty of it was being able to watch five days of cricket on SABC and Test cricket is still my favourite format,” Moseki told The Citizen.

“So when I joined CSA as their CFO, I felt I was doing something I love and the first three months were lovely. Then all the chaos started and I thought ‘What have you done?!’

“I don’t know how many times I was deciding whether to stay or go, but by the time I thought I should go, in late 2020, I was the only executive left and I felt a responsibility.

“I was the last man standing, but I was fond of the organisation and the people working there, and I love cricket. So for 18 months it was the sense of responsibility that kept me going.

“It’s not just about head office, there are 1800 people employed in our affiliates around the country. I did not want all of that to collapse so I committed to contributing to the rescue operation.

“It meant sometimes I was having three hours of sleep a day to do it, Graeme Smith had to step up and the staff as well, and I was extremely proud of their efforts.

“There were bullets flying all over, but we kept out heads down. We understood what was at stake. Cricket is not just a hobby, it pays for peoples’ school and medical fees,” Moseki said.

Apart from cricket, the chartered accountant says family are his other great passion.

“I was born and bred in Soweto and I went to school there until Standard 7, when my parents decided, with all the 90s chaos in the townships, to send me to school in the city centre of Johannesburg – St Endas College in Hillbrow.

“The only subject I really liked was accounting, maybe because I had a lovely teacher, young and pretty,” Moseki chuckled. “And then I did my CA through Unisa.

“I am married with a son who is 16 but believes he is in his 20s. They keep me sane and I am very close-knit with my siblings and my Dad is still around too.”

Having begun his working career as a Natal Building Society teller, he says a stint at Deutsche Bank was “when my ambition formed, investment banking was the place to be and it was the most amazing time of my life”.

Since then he has run his own consultancy and advisory businesses, as well as being a CFO at one of Denel’s divisions and, before joining CSA, at Magalies Water, which meant driving to Rustenburg every day.

Our cricket is in the hands of someone who not only knows how to count those all-important beans, but also how to grow and sustain them.

“Our new T20 competition is going to be key to our sustainability going forward. But like any new product, you don’t expect it to make money in the first few years.

“But if, after five to 10 years, we get 5% of the revenue the IPL is making, that would already be more than our current revenue. Our two previous editions cost us hundreds of millions of rand, but now we have a long-term plan with great partners like SuperSport.

“The nature of the cricket calendar means you’re always competing against someone’s T20 league, but we’re backing ourselves. In January people are still in holiday mode, the varsities haven’t opened yet.

“We need to get our fans’ hearts and souls back. We will make it the best we can and back our local market,” Moseki said.

Which is where the new partnership with Roc Nation comes in. The entertainment and events brand are experts at reaching urban youth and there is going to be a real focus on improving spectator experience and using digital to drive CSA’s vision for the game.

“New technology is absolutely important and digital is so crucial – the IPL has just sold their digital rights for $4 million per match, more than the TV rights. We don’t want to get left behind.

“We’re going to go big on our app, there are a lot of amazing things planned for that, linked to the sort of amazing stadium experiences you have in the U.S.

“It’s all about connectivity and over there you can order food on your app inside the stadium, book specific seats; the digital experience of the game is key.

“Over the next few years, there are going to be a lot of changes in South African cricket, and technology will be front and centre of that, to improve the stadium experience,” Moseki said.

But as Moseki beavers away in his Melrose Estate office, he knows that CSA’s most important property is the game. The cricket must come first.

“For the last two years we have not been focused on cricket but on everything else. It’s actually amazing that our Proteas teams and our staff and members are doing so well.

“But our attention needs to go back to cricket, developing more players, improving our relationships with our stakeholders and improving the stadium experience.

“We want to make sure we are the partner of choice and the employer of choice, and that our fans and the media want to come to our events,” Moseki stated.

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  • Thought of the Day

    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.


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