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Ken Borland

Lions bucket overflowing with success after men & women go 4/4 0

Posted on May 30, 2024 by Ken

Following on from the CSA 4-Day Series triumph, the DP World Lions’ bucket was overflowing with more success over the weekend as both the men’s and ladies teams won both of their matches for a perfect 4/4 record.

The DP World Lions men’s team began their CSA T20 Challenge campaign with convincing victories over the GBets Rocks at home and against the Auto Investments North-West Dragons in Potchefstroom.

The nine-wicket win over the Dragons earned them a bonus point, while they were one run away from also earning the fifth log point when they hammered the Rocks by 44 runs at the DP World Wanderers Stadium.

The DP World Lions ladies thrashed the Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers by eight wickets with 22 overs to spare in their one-day match, and then won a thrilling T20 match against the same South-Western Districts side by just two runs.

Proteas star Ayabonga Khaka was the Queen of the DP World Wanderers as she took three for 10 in seven overs in the 50-over encounter and then claimed four wickets in a matchwinning burst in the T20 clash.

Our #PrideOfJozi were only defending a total of 114 for five and SWD were cruising at 84 for two after 14 overs when Khaka, who has played 154 matches for the Proteas across formats, returned to the attack. She left the visitors feeling like they had been a victim of a robbery as the 31-year-old sent them crashing from 84 for two to 107 for six, all with great skill.

With fellow Protea Tumi Sekhukhune (4-0-25-1) also bowling superbly at the other end, the Badgers ended with 112 for seven. Left-arm seamer Relebohile Mkhize also struck two vital blows up front after SWD had made a blazing start, removing both openers, Tabitha la Grange and in-form Proteas star Tazmin Brits, ending with phenomenal figures of two for seven in her four overs.

The DP World Lions had been sent in to bat and their total of 114 for five was built around solid top-order contributions rather than anyone really filling their boots – Madison Landsman (30), Kirstie Thomson (23), Diara Ramlakan (26) and Sinalo Jafta (31 not out) all chipped in well.

In the 50-over match, the tale of the tape was totally one-sided as the Badgers could not measure up against a daunting DP World Lions attack. Key batter Brits was bowled first ball by a tremendous delivery from Khaka and the rest of the line-up tapped around a bit as they could only muster 121 before being bowled out.

Khaka (7-2-10-3) led the way, but captain and spinner Kgomotso Rapoo was a real threat in the middle overs with two for 24 in nine overs and seamers Lehlohonolo Meso (6-2-18-1) and Sekhukhune (7-1-20-1) kept the pressure tight.

A high-energy run-chase then saw the DP World Lions chase down the target in just 28 overs, Sunette Viljoen-Louw scoring an electrifying run-a-ball 46 not out, while Nonkululeko Thabethe (33) and Thomson (24 not out) provided industrious support.

The DP World Lions men’s team look well set to take on the big fish in Division One after they saw off the challenges of the Rocks and Dragons with impressive ease, taking a healthy haul of nine log points into Wednesday’s match against the HollywoodBets Dolphins at Kingsmead.

Having been sent in to bat by the Rocks, our Pride moved swiftly and efficiently to a record-breaking 223 for five in their 20 overs – the franchise’s highest ever total and the highest in domestic cricket at the DP World Wanderers Stadium.

Ryan Rickelton’s 75 off just 39 balls was a special innings and Rassie van der Dussen then provided the big finish as he raced to 42 not out off only 22 deliveries. It was a well-balanced batting effort though with Reeza Hendricks (28 off 18), Temba Bavuma (26 off 16) and Wiaan Mulder (22 off 11) all batting with good intent.

The Bolanders were caught on the hop by Evan Jones (4-0-34-2) coming on first change and he struck twice in his first over, while left-arm spinner and captain Bjorn Fortuin (4-0-21-2) inevitably lured a couple of batsmen to their destruction.

But the bowling effort of the night belonged to Kwena Maphaka, making his T20 debut for the Pride. The 17-year-old understandably left the field beaming after he finished with an outstanding three for 22 in his four overs, looking every bit a class bowler of premium talent with his quality left-arm seam.

The match against North-West in Potchefstroom was even more one-sided as the #PrideOfJozi’s attack scythed through the Dragons batting line-up, bowling them out for just 103. Spinner Junaid Dawood had his moment to shine as he took two wickets in his first over and ended with three for 23 in four, while Maphaka again showed he is comfortable at this level with two for 11 in three overs up front with the new ball, and Fortuin again excelled with two for 14 in three overs.

Hendricks then mowed 57 not out off 30 balls to rush the Lions to victory in 10.4 overs, putting on 76 for the first wicket for the second match in succession with Rickelton (34 off 26).

The facts behind the Paarl Royals’ win at the Wanderers … and a pitch that has gone the same way as the fax machine 0

Posted on January 25, 2024 by Ken

Wihan Lubbe of Paarl Royals during his beautifully-controlled half-century.
Photo: Arjun Singh (Sportzpics)

The facts of the SA20 game at the Wanderers on Wednesday night will show that the Paarl Royals beat the Joburg Super Kings by five wickets with six balls to spare, but one could just as easily use the number of extras conceded to indicate the difference between the two teams.

The Royals, in a bowling display full of discipline, backed by tidy fielding, conceded just four extras; the Super Kings donated 18 extras, including nine byes, five wides and a couple of no-balls. And there were a couple of dropped catches and several misfields and overthrows.

Joburg Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming was unsurprisingly a frustrated man after their fourth loss in six matches. Not just with his team’s sloppiness in the field but also with a Wanderers pitch whose character the home team is really battling to understand from match-to-match.

The days of a Wanderers pitch that was a batting belter week-after-week seem as far gone now as the fax machine.

“A couple of weeks ago the ball was really flying through and then tonight it was a low and turning pitch. So it’s difficult to understand, we don’t know what to expect and we’re struggling to adapt to it.

“But we were also a long way off where we need to be in the field, we were sloppy. We were a bit unlucky with the ball because a number of deliveries went just past the bat, but we could have saved 20-30 runs in the field and that was the difference.

“They needed 105 off the last 10 overs and we are disappointed we did not put them way. Instead we gave runs away and we did not get enough wickets,” Fleming said.

Having been sent in to bat, the Joburg Super Kings soon discovered that the pitch was really tough to handle against the hard new ball. There was seam movement for the pacemen and grip and turn for the slow bowlers. The top-order had to hunker down in their bunkers.

The Super Kings scored just 37 in the powerplay, only getting there thanks to Leus du Plooy hitting Lungi Ngidi for 6-4-4 off the last three balls of the sixth over. They also lost the wicket of Faf du Plessis, bowled by a superb cutter from Ngidi for 17 off 19 deliveries.

The in-form Du Plooy was able to fuel a slight breaking of the shackles with his 30 off just 16 balls and Joburg had reached 62 for two after 10 overs. Unfortunately they lost Du Plooy to some clever bowling from Andile Phehlukwayo, who outfoxed the left-hander and had him steering a lifter to short third man.

Reeza Hendricks, meanwhile, had dug in and played the sort of opener’s innings one usually sees in that format some people want to cancel, ODI cricket. He reached his first fifty of the campaign off 43 balls and was given a reprieve on 58 when Phehlukwayo dropped him, coming forward at square-leg, off Obed McCoy.

Hendricks took full advantage as he and Moeen Ali dished out some severe punishment in the last four overs, slamming 56 runs.

Hendricks showed the ability to stick around in tough conditions, his defiance allowing him to capitalise with some fine ball-striking towards the end of his innings, as he finished with 79 not out off 56 balls, with seven fours and three sixes.

Moeen’s 23 not out off just 12 balls included two sixes and helped Joburg to post 168 for three, a total that Fleming and many observers felt made them favourites.

“I thought we had plenty, definitely enough,” Fleming admitted. “It was very tricky at the start, a tough pitch for 20/20 cricket and I felt we did well to navigate ourselves to an above-par score. It was a well-constructed total on a pitch that wasn’t really suitable for hitting out.”

Lizaad Williams then removed Jason Roy (8) with his first delivery, in the third over, and Moeen dismissed Jos Buttler (22 off 18) in the seventh over, with Paarl’s total on 42.

Wihan Lubbe had come to the crease after Roy’s dismissal and endured some woolly moments, especially against the excellent Nandre Burger (4-0-21-0).  But looks can be deceiving and the left-handed Lubbe was merely playing himself in and biding his time, in the same way that Hendricks did for the home team.

Mitchell van Buuren (7) was bowled by off-spinner Moeen at the end of the ninth over, and needing a required run-rate of double figures, Lubbe and the determined Dane Vilas managed to avoid falling into the trap of just trying to hit boundaries.

They improvised shots, they ran hard and forced the fielders to crack under the pressure, really just upping the intensity of their partnership quite superbly.

Both were dismissed, however, with victory in sight, having added a brilliant 95 for the fourth wicket off just 54 balls, with eight fours and four sixes. It is the best SA20 fourth-wicket stand at the Wanderers.

Lubbe showed great composure and patience up top, steering the Paarl top-order through the tough times and finishing with 57 off 48 balls, with three fours and three sixes.

The 38-year-old Vilas showed how valuable he still is at this level, making 42 off 26 deliveries, with just one six. He still has plenty to offer.

“As the ball got older it became easier to bat,” Lubbe said. “That partnership between Dane and I got momentum on our side, and when that happens you will get the odd misfield and bad ball.

“A lot of credit must go to Dane for the intensity he showed and his calm presence helped me  a lot. Fortunately we lost the wicket on the strategy break and we were able to have a conversation with a few old heads around about how we would go about the chase. We spoke about keeping the intensity as high as we could for the next five overs and not letting the required run-rate get to 15s,” Lubbe said.

The mission accomplished means the Paarl Royals have now opened up a four-point gap for themselves at the top of the SA20 log.

SA20 is about adapting to different types of pitches; Pretoria Capitals show how 0

Posted on January 18, 2024 by Ken

POWERHOUSE: Will Jacks of Pretoria Capitals celebrates the fastest century in SA20 history.
Photo by Sportzpics

One of the joys of the SA20 is that there are different types of pitches that are used in the tournament and teams are often forced to think on their feet and adapt at short notice. The Pretoria Capitals were quicker and better in adapting to the SuperSport Park wicket on Thursday night and duly notched their first win of the season, beating the Durban Super Giants by 17 runs.

When returning captain Wayne Parnell won the toss and elected to bat first, eyebrows were raised because Centurion is traditionally a venue full of runs, where defending any sort of total can be tough at altitude on a pitch full of runs and a smallish, very quick outfield.

But this pitch behaved slightly differently. The best time to bat was up front and batting second was just that little bit harder as the ball gripped on a dry surface once the new-ball shine had gone.

Will Jacks was the man who seized the moment as he plundered the fastest century in SA20 history, needing just 41 balls to get there, and his onslaught up front gave the Pretoria Capitals such a good platform that their deceleration in the second half of their innings and a collapse of five wickets for seven runs at the death did not cost them the match.

A total of 204 for nine was certainly competitive and the Durban Super Giants were unable to replicate Jacks’ aggression up front and finished on 187 for seven.

Junior Dala, the Durban Super Giants strike bowler but usually based at SuperSport Park, said “It was a game that was probably won and lost in the powerplays. We showed fight with both bat and ball at the end, but we probably conceded 15 to 20 runs too many in our bowling powerplay as Will came hard at us.”

With Jacks hammering eight fours and nine sixes, including a straight hit into the media centre that I have never seen before at SuperSport Park, and fellow Englishman Phil Salt also scoring freely with 23 off 13 balls, the Capitals were off to a blazing start.

The opening pair lashed 75 runs off the first five-and-a-half overs, but then crucially, the Super Giants began taking wickets. As the ball became older, so the cutters came out and the visitors kept chipping away at the Pretoria batting line-up.

“With the newer ball, your cutters and slower balls just skidded on more, but by the eighth or ninth over they were beginning to grip more. But you still had to be smart and understand your match-ups,” Dala later explained.

Jacks reached his hundred two balls quicker than Durban’s Heinrich Klaasen had done in his landmark effort in this same fixture last season, the ball whizzing off his bat in a sparkling innings that should attract many, many views on SA20’s various digital platforms.

But when Jacks (101 off 42 balls) cut his next ball after reaching his second T20 century straight to point, Dwaine Pretorius making the breakthrough, the Pretoria Capitals innings rather lost its fizz. The wicket left them 151 for four after 13 overs, and although Colin Ingram scored a busy 43 off 23 deliveries, their momentum petered out.

Marcus Stoinis (4-0-37-1), playing his first SA20 match having just arrived from the Big Bash in Australia, lit the fuse for the bowling comeback as he dismissed Jimmy Neesham and conceded just two runs in the 18th over; Reece Topley (4-1-34-3) then bowled an astonishing double-wicket maiden and Dala (4-0-32-2) also took two wickets in the final over while conceding just seven runs.

Jacks then toyed with the Super Giants with the ball as well. He opened the bowling and conceded just seven runs in the first over, before returning and claiming two wickets – Kyle Mayers bowled for 1 and the massive scalp of Klaasen for just a single. The off-spinner finished with two for 18 in his three overs.

Opener Matthew Breetzke ought to have batted deeper after scoring 33 off 24 balls but he steered Parnell straight to deep cover and the Capitals just kept chipping away with regular wickets.

Quinton de Kock made 25 off 20 before he sent a mistimed pull off Hardus Viljoen straight to deep midwicket, Stoinis hit a couple of big sixes before holing out to Neesham, and Jacks then took a boundary catch to dismiss Keemo Paul (18) off Parnell.

Jon-Jon Smuts scored a defiant 27, but not even a late flurry from Pretorius (19* off 10) and Keshav Maharaj (25* off 12) was enough to take the Super Giants to a win.

Eathan Bosch was the other Pretoria bowler to excel, showing what a top-class talent he is as he adapted beautifully to the pitch, bowling effective cutters and conceding just 18 runs in his three overs.

Koekemoer determined but Lions strike telling blows late in the day 0

Posted on December 20, 2023 by Ken

Tian Koekemoer watchful in defence

A grimly determined Tian Koekemoer batted through most of the opening day of the CSA 4-Day Domestic Series match for the KZN Inland Tuskers against the Central Gauteng Lions at the Wanderers on Wednesday, before the home side landed some telling blows late in the day to be the happier of the two teams at stumps.

Having won the toss and elected to bat first, KZN Inland closed on 252 for six, but they were 208 for three going into the final hour.

But a fired up Duanne Olivier, operating with the second new ball, had Kagiso Rapulana (24) caught splicing a hook to square-leg, and in his next over, he had Koekemoer caught behind for 90.

You could tell the left-handed Koekemoer, who had produced more than six hours of defiance, was unsettled by the fast bowler switching from over the wicket to around and then back to over again in quick succession, and the 29-year-old just sparred at a delivery that was angled across him and was caught behind. It was a fine innings though by the former Eastern Province player, who faced 265 balls and hit 10 compact boundaries.

With Tshepo Moreki then having Thamsanqa Khumalo caught behind for a duck, the pressure was all on the Tuskers in the closing overs, but Cameron Shekleton (15*) and Malcolm Nofal (11*) collected a couple of boundaries each as they took the visitors to stumps without further loss.

Koekemoer honed his game as part of the highly successful Pretoria University side under Pierre de Bruyn, playing alongside Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, Lungi Ngidi and Theunis de Bruyn. He joined forces on Wednesday with a man from Kimberley who came through the Free State Schools system – Michael Erlank.

The St Andrew’s Bloemfontein product scored a century against North-West in nearby Potchefstroom previously this season, and Erlank looked bound for three figures again as he batted with great tenacity, but with lovely drives through the covers and shots off his legs too, to reach 79. So when he slapped a short-and-wide delivery from Malusi Siboto straight to backward point, he would have tore his hair out if he wasn’t wearing a helmet.

The Lions started well with the ball, reducing the Tuskers to 22 for two in the first hour of play.

Josh Richards should have had the acclamation of a large Wanderers crowd ringing in his ears when he dived full-length in the gully to snap up Yaseen Valli (1) off Olivier’s second over of the day.

Ben Compton (9) then misread the aerodynamics of Moreki’s second delivery of the match and was trapped lbw.

Moreki finished the day with two for 64 in 18 overs, but the pick of the Lions attack was Olivier, who ran in like the wind and claimed three for 39 in 19 tight overs that included seven maidens.

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