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Ken Borland



Buccaneering SA20 trio return to 4-day action for Lions 0

Posted on February 21, 2024 by Ken

Ryan Rickelton, Wiaan Mulder and Mitchell van Buuren will all return to four-day action for the DP World Lions on Wednesday, fresh from their buccaneering batting exploits in the SA20, but the Pride will also welcome back two vital backroom members of the triumphant Sunrisers Eastern Cape to the team for their meeting with the Gbets Rocks in Johannesburg.

DP World Lions head coach Russell Domingo played a key role, as batting coach, in the Sunrisers claiming back-to-back SA20 titles at the weekend, and now he is eager for our Pride to seal a place in the four-day final.

Also returning to the DP World Wanderers Stadium is national Test captain Temba Bavuma, who is over his injury problems and, even though he played just the one game for the Sunrisers, scoring 33, he had an important effect on the happy mood and outstanding culture of the champions’ camp.

Bavuma’s addition nicely makes up for the absence of our Lions’ leading run-scorer in the four-day competition this season, Zubayr Hamza, who is with the Proteas in New Zealand.

The Lions’ two strike bowlers, Tshepo Moreki and Duanne Olivier, are also involved in that Test series.

With Rickelton, Mulder and Van Buuren all consistently amongst the runs in the SA20, it is an in-form and confident home batting line-up that will take the field at the DP World Wanderers.

Rickelton was the leading run-scorer in the SA20 with 530 in just 10 innings for MI Cape Town, who were eliminated before the playoffs. The left-hander was at his best as he scored at a phenomenal strike-rate of 173.77.

Mulder was one of the main reasons the Durban Super Giants reached the final, his 297 runs putting him in the top-10. His tally included three half-centuries, while he scored at a blazing strike-rate of 157.14.

Van Buuren had a solid campaign with the Paarl Royals, making 221 runs at 31.57.

The DP World Lions go into the penultimate CSA 4-Day Series match in third place on the log, but they are just 0.12 points behind the second-placed Warriors and 11.48 points adrift of the leaders, the Titans. So a place in the final and even hosting that five-day match is well on the cards for our Pride.

“It was a great time with the Sunrisers and obviously wonderful to win the trophy again, but now my full attention is on the four-day prize,” Domingo said. “There are two big games ahead for the Lions and we’re obviously missing a few players in New Zealand.

“But it’s very lucky for us to have Temba back, he’s fit and ready to play again and very keen to score lots of runs. Wiaan Mulder is also back after he missed our last game. Both he and Ryan Rickelton had fantastic SA20 tournaments, Mitchell van Buuren did really well and Codi Yusuf bowled nicely too.

“Any cricket played ahead of the four-day restart is good and we’re lucky that we have a few players who have been involved in very intense cricket. They will certainly come in match-ready and I’m really pleased that the Lions guys mostly played very well in the SA20,” Domingo said.

Although the Boland team will be without key players in Shaun von Berg, Clyde Fortuin and Keegan Petersen, who are in New Zealand with the Proteas, most of the rest of their squad would have been able to plan with much forethought ahead of their trip to Johannesburg for the return of red-ball cricket. Fast bowler Hardus Viljoen is the only member of their squad who saw much SA20 action.

“The Malan brothers [Janneman and Pieter], Stiaan van Zyl and Hardus Viljoen – those are all players with international experience and we know the Rocks are a tough unit. They would have worked hard on their skills these last few weeks and they have a lot to play for too, it’s a big game for them as well,” Domingo said, referring to their log-position of sixth, which could leave them flirting with the relegation zone.

Paceman Lutho Sipamla, who has not played a four-day game for the Lions this season due to injury, has been named in the squad and seems almost ready to play, pending the outcome of nets and a fitness test on Tuesday.

DP World Lions squad – Dominic Hendricks (capt), Josh Richards, Temba Bavuma, Ryan Rickelton, Wiaan Mulder, Mitchell van Buuren, Wandile Makwetu, Bjorn Fortuin, Delano Potgieter, Malusi Siboto, Codi Yusuf, Muhammad Manack, Connor Esterhuizen, Lutho Sipamla.

Poor batting saw the Proteas sell themselves short – Bavuma 0

Posted on September 04, 2023 by Ken

Vice-captain Temba Bavuma has said it was poor batting that saw the Proteas sell themselves short after plenty of hard work in preparation for the Test series against Australia.

After the horrors of the two-day Test in Brisbane, South Africa could only manage to score 189 and 204 on a good batting pitch in Melbourne to lose the second Test, and with it the series, by a massive innings and 182 runs.

“This is not what we prepared for, we haven’t done justice to all the work put in, which is quite disappointing, and it’s obviously disappointing the way we have got out in the two Tests,” Bavuma said after the conclusion of the second Test.

“To be brutally honest, the batting group has just not been good enough and our inexperience has really been shown up. We needed big partnerships and it’s not a matter of blaming the conditions.

“There have been a lot of conversations about all our disciplines, and the skill and execution we have shown has simply not been good enough. We now need action to get to where we need to be.

“The same questions will be asked in the third Test and we have to find answers to those questions that are continually being asked,” Bavuma said.

As impressive as the Australian attack were, South Africa did help them out in the second innings with two runouts. Bavuma was at the crease for both of them, but while he did not accept blame for the dismissals of Khaya Zondo and Keshav Maharaj, he was willing to point the finger at himself for not going on further than the 65 he did score.

“I was involved with both run outs, I was the common denominator, but I don’t want to assign fault to anyone,” Bavuma said. “But it does show a lack of clarity in the decision-making, when there had been a bit of pressure and it was a key period.

“I then probably had a brainfart when I got out today, if I had been with another proper batsman I probably wouldn’t have played that shot. Sixties are good for the moment, but they won’t change the outcome of the game.

“I’m obviously guilty of that in my career and I’m trying to change that. To carry on batting through tough periods and sessions is probably my biggest challenge, to just keep batting and see how far I can go,” Bavuma admitted.

Maketa not laying out red carpets for anyone, but says Bavuma is key 0

Posted on May 09, 2023 by Ken

Proteas interim coach Malibongwe Maketa has stressed that he will not be laying out red carpets for anyone when it comes to selecting the team for the first Test against Australia in Brisbane, starting in the early hours of Saturday morning SA time, but he sees Temba Bavuma as being one of the key batsmen.

Bavuma has endured a rather wretched 2022, injury keeping him out of the Tests in England and then his travails as Proteas T20 captain being well-documented. He did not play any domestic four-day cricket before arriving in Australia, and did not bat in the first innings of the warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI due to a reoccurrence of elbow problems. But the vice-captain did bat in the second innings and compiled 28 off 92 balls.

“I’m not here to protect anyone and we will make decisions that are best for the team,” Maketa said on Wednesday. “If we have to knuckle down and play with just six batsmen because the pitch will be tough to get 20 wickets on, then we will do that.

“If there’s a lot of grass and the pitch really assists the bowlers, then we will need the extra batsman to give us that magical 400/450. But we have to trust the top-order to get those runs.

“I’m very happy with how Temba is batting. It was nice for him to get in in the second innings, but he has also done a lot of batting volume in the nets since we got here and I am very happy with his progress.

“He hit the ball really nicely in the warm-up game and at practice today at the Gabba, he looked one of our best batsmen. Where he’s at mentally, smiling and confident, bodes well for him being one of our best batsmen going into the series,” Maketa said.

South Africa have the bowling attack to be ruthless, and one Australian batsman who seems to have an ever-tightening oesophagus at the moment is opener David Warner, given how he was the central figure in Australia’s capitulation in their previous Test series against the Proteas and his mediocre recent form, averaging just 23 in nine Tests this year. The events of 2018 seem to be haunting him the most at present.

“What happened in that previous series has not dragged on for us and neither are we focused on what’s happening in the other camp,” Maketa said.

“Our focus is on how to get Warner out, let the ball do the talking and we have got our basic plans. He always brings energy to our contests and I think this series will be no different.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge. There’s no talk about sledging, but we will bring a lot of aggression like we usually do,” Maketa said.

Bavuma adds another seminal moment to join his Newlands ton 0

Posted on March 10, 2023 by Ken

STICKING IT TO THEM: Temba Bavuma celebrates his masterful, inspirational century at the Wanderers.

Temba Bavuma on Friday added another seminal moment in South African cricket history, to join with his memorable maiden Test century at Newlands in 2016, as his masterful 171 not out first rescued the Proteas and then put them in firm control of the second Test against the West Indies at the Wanderers.

When the long-awaited moment of his second Test century came, one that will hopefully silence the critics who constantly bring up that statistical quirk and ignore the fact he has been South Africa’s best Test batsman for the last couple of years, it came with a flourish as he lashed fast bowler Alzarri Joseph over the covers for his 12th four. It’s a bit like refusing to rate Jacques Kallis as a great batsman before he scored a Test double-hundred.

Even though the third-day crowd at the Wanderers was small, the joy was obvious, especially in the commentary boxes where former Black African players like Makhaya Ntini, Mfuneko Ngam and Nono Pongolo celebrated with a passion that showed just how special and important Bavuma is for the majority of this country.

Those commentary boxes are in the Charles Fortune Media Centre, and one wonders how the doyen of South African radio commentary would have described the moment as Bavuma went to 100 in 254 minutes, off 192 balls. Perhaps the great John Arlott would have been better suited to capture the moment, given that he once wrote “human” on a South African customs form asking him what race he belonged to back in the dark days of Apartheid.

As usual, after he had led the Proteas from a parlous eight for two to 287 for seven at stumps, leading by 356, Bavuma had to field questions both about what happened on the field on Friday and the wider significance his exploits will have for society as a whole.

“It’s been a long journey with a lot more downs than ups,” he stated. “But I keep learning about myself, the type of person and cricketer that I am. I try and keep my chin up and always stay true to myself.

“That Temba who scored the hundred at Newlands was very young and naïve, I was ignorant to what was going on around me and the pressures and challenges of playing international cricket.

“Making it against the West Indies is sentimental and makes it even more special because I used to support them as a child. It’s also important because it’s about inspiring the next generation, allowing much more Black African batters to dream and come through and etch their name in the record books.

“There’s always that angle and perspective to everything I do. I’m sure young Temba would be very proud of this Temba today,” Bavuma said.

But the 32-year-old Bavuma made it clear that his motivation and satisfaction on Friday night had more to do with rescuing his team than reaching individual milestones, no matter how sought after they have been.

This was the sort of Wanderers pitch on which anyone who dares to chase runs is likely to come short and many of Bavuma’s team-mates were guilty of going too hard. Dean Elgar (5) and Tony de Zorzi (1) both fell looking to score off deliveries they would have been better off leaving.

Aiden Markram (18) hung around with Bavuma and tried to steady the ship, but Kemar Roach had Markram caught behind with a superb delivery.

Ryan Rickelton (10) and Heinrich Klaasen (14) were then both lured into loose strokes and South Africa were 103 for five, leading by just 172.

Even with the hot sun beating down on the pitch, there were still plenty of embers of life in the surface, but Bavuma, diminutive but standing tall as a giant, doused the West Indian attack. Staying compact and not chasing after deliveries outside the stumps, leaving well and putting away anything on his pads, Bavuma played one of the great pressure knocks in a Proteas second innings in recent times.

Wiaan Mulder dug deep and scored an invaluable 42 as he added 103 for the sixth wicket with Bavuma; Simon Harmer then contributed 19 runs, but more usefully, added another 71 with his captain.

Bavuma made it to stumps having batted for more than six hours and faced 275 deliveries, stroking 20 fours.

“It’s a key point that the team was in trouble. I always seem to find myself in these situations when I really have to try and soak up pressure, absorb and release,” Bavuma said. “I’ve done it well in the past, but without getting really big scores, and my game kinda leans towards that.

“It was a very important partnership with Wiaan, I tried to calm him down by saying he had nothing to prove because he’s done it before for the Lions and in county cricket.

“We had good synergy and the partnership with Simon was also important. It’s about the team and we are in a lot stronger position now.

“My mindset was just to stick to what I was doing. Getting a hundred was not the objective, it was getting to the end of the day’s play. It was more mentally tiring than physically, but the adrenaline kept me going,” Bavuma said.

The new South African Test captain is far too polite to publicly rub his many critics’ faces in his success, but he did say there was one monkey he now has off his back.

“I’ve never scored a first-class hundred at the Wanderers before and the guys always tease me about that, my name not being up on the honours board. I’m pleased I can stick it to them now,” a satisfied Bavuma said with a glint in his eye.

The skipper, a hero to so many in this country, produced a truly heroic performance of which he can be most proud. What a pity that with so many good things happening around this Proteas Test team, their next outing is only in December.

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    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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