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Ken Borland



Former Protea’s outstanding catch, off Joburg-born bowler, breaks millions of South African hearts 0

Posted on February 06, 2023 by Ken

When former Protea Roelof van der Merwe let out a fervent roar of celebration after his outstanding catch, off the bowling of Johannesburg-born Brandon Glover, to take the key wicket of David Miller, it was unlikely he felt much regret for the millions of hearts that were breaking back in South Africa as the Proteas made a shock exit from the T20 World Cup, losing to qualifiers the Netherlands by 13 runs.

Chasing 159 for victory, South Africa had slipped to 111/4 after 15 overs and their hopes rested on Miller, their finisher supreme. The experienced left-hander had gone to 17 when he top-edged a pull at Glover and Van der Merwe scrambled backwards from short fine leg, and dived to take a superb catch.

Glover, who took 3/9 in his two overs, then had Wayne Parnell caught behind three balls later for a duck and, when Heinrich Klaasen (21) was caught at cow-corner off medium-pacer Bas de Leede in the 18th over, South Africa were all but buried. They limped to 145/8 in the end.

The Netherlands deserve full credit for their amazing victory, bowling and fielding with tremendous tenacity.

South Africa began their chase tentatively as Quinton de Kock (13) and Temba Bavuma (20) both just scored at a run-a-ball and the Proteas could only score 39/2 in the powerplay.

Rilee Rossouw (25 off 19) looked threatening before he pulled Glover straight to deep square-leg and Aiden Markram (17) sent a leading edge, well taken by a diving Stephan Myburgh, to cover off the excellent Fred Klaassen (4-0-20-2).

The dismissal encapsulated what the Netherlands did so well – taking pace off the ball and using variations, which caused the Proteas to really struggle to score freely.

It was something the Proteas attack failed to do and there can be no sympathy for their lack of awareness and adaptability to the conditions, which allowed the Netherlands to post a competitive 158/4 after they had been sent in to bat.

The outstanding Anrich Nortje (4-0-10-1) and Keshav Maharaj (4-0-27-2) apart, the Proteas attack simply lacked intensity and it was the Netherlands who seized the initiative from the start.

Pretoria-born Stephan Myburgh belted 37 off 30 balls, with fellow opener Max O’Dowd providing valuable support with 29 in an opening stand of 58 in eight-and-a-half overs.

Tom Cooper blasted 35 off 19 deliveries and another South African expat, Colin Ackermann, provided the finishing touches to the winning total with his brilliant 41 not out off 26 balls. The former Eastern Cape star also bowled three overs of probing off-spin for just 16 runs, keeping the left-handers quiet.

This time the Proteas could not blame anything outside of their own control – there was no rain, no freakish misfortune – for failing to make the semi-finals.

They defied history by choosing to bat first on a pitch that was only going to slow down and their whole mindset seemed incredibly soft when so much was on the line.

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.

Sharks looking to take away Leinster quick ball & phases 0

Posted on December 14, 2022 by Ken

Irish powerhouses Leinster, especially at home, thrive on quick ball and phase-after-phase of ball-in-hand attack, but the Sharks will be looking to take that away from them in their United Rugby Championship clash in Dublin on Saturday night.

James Venter and Dylan Richardson, both traditionally openside flanks, will continue to play in tandem in a mobile loose trio that sees Springbok Sikhumbuzo Notshe return as starting eighthman and the hardworking Phepsi Buthelezi on the bench.

And the more Leinster recycle the ball through rucks, the more they will bring Venter and Richardson, both expert ball-stealers, into play.

“We know that Leinster rely on lightning-quick ball at the breakdown and we need to slow that down,” Sharks coach Sean Everitt said on Friday. “But they do concede turnovers, and if we defend well then that could be a source of attacking possession for us.

“Leinster have an all-round game, a good kicking game forces you to play in the wrong areas and then their attack is really dangerous, they enjoy keeping ball-in-hand.

“But hopefully we can wear them down, get on top at the breakdowns and then get behind them. The amount of work that Dylan and James gets through stands us in good stead.

“Dylan is an all-round loose forward, he can play on the blindside too because he is physical, his carries are very good and he gets a lot of them. He’s good on the ground too,” Everitt said.

The Sharks have won both of their matches on tour thus far, but it’s not as if they have peacefully gone about securing that unbeaten record. They had to withstand a fierce second-half comeback from Zebre in Parma, eventually holding on 42-37, and last weekend they mounted the last-ditch effort, snatching a 20-19 win over the Dragons in Newport.

Everitt knows how steep the challenge is away to Leinster and he knows they need their all-round game to click.

“It’s a massive game for us to see where we’re at because we’re going to have a number of games without our Springboks. We’re under no false illusions, but teams have beaten Leinster and we beat them in Durban last season.

“We have to improve the areas that have let us down the last two weeks. Our attack was brilliant in the first game, but our defence let us down in the second half. Last weekend our defence was good but the attack was poor.

“So we need to get consistency in both of those areas. It’s going to be a great challenge because Leinster weren’t the top side in Europe for five years for nothing,” Everitt said.

Sharks team – Aphelele Fassi, Werner Kok, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Ben Tapuai, Thaakir Abrahams, Boeta Chamberlain, Grant Williams, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Dylan Richardson, James Venter, Hyron Andrews, Justin Basson, Thomas du Toit (c), Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu. Bench: Dan Jooste, Dian Bleuler, Carlu Sadie, Reniel Hugo, Phepsi Buthelezi, Cameron Wright, Nevaldo Fleurs, Marnus Potgieter.

Kickoff – 6.05pm.

Tip from friend & challenger Bradley helps Van Niekerk into the lead 0

Posted on November 01, 2022 by Ken

SOUTHBROOM, KwaZulu-Natal – A tip from his friend and close challenger Sean Bradley has seen Danie van Niekerk take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series San Lameer event on Friday, the Lichtenburg golfer taking an 11-under-par total into the weekend.

Van Niekerk shot a six-under-par 66 on Friday, the joint best round of the day, to go with his five-under 67 on the opening day, in a remarkable turnaround in form. The 34-year-old has missed his last three cuts, making it eight missed paydays in total this season.

“I felt last week that I played very poorly but my friend Sean Bradley helped me a lot on Monday and Tuesday this week,” Van Niekerk said. “So now I’m just hitting my small fade again and I’ve stopped trying to hit the ball both ways.

“San Lameer Country Club does suit me because I don’t really hit it long but I just focus on keeping the ball in play, but the big thing is I found my swing again.

“I started quite slowly today with four pars, but then I picked it up with four birdies in a row from the fifth. I’m very happy with the way I played, although I got a bit nervous on the last couple of holes and bogeyed the last.

“It’s the first time I’m leading a Sunshine Tour event and it feels good. I’m pretty excited about the final round and I will have the exact same game-plan: Just try and keep it in play and make some putts,” Van Niekerk said.

Wynand Dingle shared the overnight lead on six-under-par and he roared to nine-under early in the second round by birdieing three of his first four holes, having teed off on the 10th. He suffered the frustration of dropping a shot at the par-five 17th, but three more birdies on the front nine saw climb to 11-under. But then there was more frustration with a bogey on the par-three ninth hole, his last.

The 38-year-old Dingle goes into the final round just a shot off Van Niekerk’s lead and has been rampant in terms of consistency this season – he has made eight successive cuts now and has seven top-20 finishes in 11 events. His hopes of a maiden Sunshine Tour win have so far been thwarted, but he will be focused on stopping that on Saturday.

Bradley is in a tie for third, two shots back on nine-under, with Jaco Prinsloo, who raced up the leaderboard with a 67 on Friday.

Bradley’s 69 was a continuation of the good form he showed in finishing third in the Gary and Vivienne Player Challenge last weekend at Selborne Park Golf Club, and the 66 he shot in the first round at San Lameer.

Of the other golfers who shared the first-round lead, Ockie Strydom endured a disappointing day with just two birdies and three bogeys seeing him slip down into a tie for 12th on five-under; a double-bogey on the par-three 16th saw Herman Loubser also shoot a 73 to lie five-under, and Doug McGuigan also posted a 73 to be in that tie.

But the biggest exasperation of all was Matthew Spacey’s as he crashed to a five-over 77 and finished on one-under to miss the cut by a stroke. Double-bogeys on the fourth and seventh holes were his downfall.

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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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