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Ken Borland



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.

The car’s most definitely back on the road for the Sharks 0

Posted on July 17, 2023 by Ken

If we think of the Sharks team as being a motor vehicle then the car’s most definitely back on the road and starting to gain speed in the fast lane, following their 37-10 victory over the Lions in their United Rugby Championship derby at Kings Park.

That’s not to say the Sharks did not have spluttering moments. They raced into an early 12-0 lead but then did not score another point in nearly half-an-hour, as the Lions were only down 10-15 as the hour-mark loomed. But the home team then put their foot down in the final quarter and roared away to a five-try, bonus point victory.

Sevens legend Frankie Horne once said that Neil Powell took the Blitzboks car for performance enhancements after previous national coach Paul Treu built the car, and Powell seems to be having a similar effect as director of rugby at the Sharks. They have now won four matches in a row since he took over the head coaching duties, and they played some great rugby against the Lions, their ball-retention and direct attacking style being superb at times.

“We’re obviously always pushing for the perfect game and we had glimpses this evening, but unfortunately we couldn’t keep it up for 80 minutes,” Powell said after the win which lifted the Sharks to sixth on the URC log, but with at least one game in hand over all the teams above them.

“The first 15-20 minutes were exhilarating, but then a couple of soft moments let the Lions back in. Once you give away momentum, it’s difficult to get back.

“But it was another step in the right direction and we know where we can improve. But it’s been great to see the improvement over the last four games, especially the effort in defence.

“At times we were really good, we definitely respected the ball a lot more and asked questions of the opposition defence. Getting through phases was definitely one of our work-ons,” Powell said.

The things Powell said the Sharks could improve on were the stupid mistakes just as they had seized control of the match and being even more patient on attack.

“There were three individual errors after we went 12-0 up and at times the players went out of the structure,” Powell said.

“We can also be a lot more patient on attack inside the 22, it feels as if we’re almost rushing ourselves.

“But we managed the game well in general and only conceded one try. We’re starting to believe that we can be successful in the URC and the EPCR,” Powell said.

No-one dares think about what’s next in the SA batting aisle, but Jansen shows bowling depth 0

Posted on June 09, 2023 by Ken

While no-one dares to think about what’s next in South African cricket’s batting aisle, at least we know there is some bowling depth and left-arm paceman Marco Jansen has to be one of the most exciting prospects in world cricket.

The 22-year-old Jansen has taken 40 wickets in just eight Tests, at the great average of only 18.00. He has taken four wickets in an innings four times already. Add to that the promise he has shown with the bat – already averaging 18.36 – and he is clearly a superb package as a cricketer.

Which is why his Proteas team-mate Kagiso Rabada, already established as one of the great fast bowlers of the era, rates him so highly.

“Marco has that x-factor, he’s just a natural bowler, it looks like you could wake him up at 3am and he can do what he’s been doing,” Rabada said.

“He’s naturally gifted – he has pace and height, he can swing it, nip it and get bounce, and he’s a leftie. What more do you want?

“He’s also got the mindset for fast bowling. Not a lot of people really possess that, but he’s got it. Marco is a pretty rare, exciting prospect,” Rabada said.

Jansen possibly only played in the first Test against Australia in Brisbane because the Proteas were willing to sacrifice a batsman, and he certainly made the most of his guest starring appearance with three for 32.

On the opening day he claimed the wicket of the world’s number one ranked batsman, Marnus Labuschagne, caught in the slips off his first delivery; on the second morning he had both top-scorer Travis Head and the dangerous Cameron Green caught behind the wicket in the space of three deliveries just when the Proteas had handed control back to Australia with a messy start.

But Jansen could miss out on the second Test starting on Boxing Day in Melbourne simply because of the pressure that is on the tourists to strengthen their truant batting line-up. Rabada called for patience when it came to the Proteas batting.

“Our batting line-up is quite inexperienced, our whole team is if you look around at other teams in the world. Dean Elgar [80 caps] is the most experienced, followed by myself [56] and Temba Bavuma [52], everyone else does not have much experience,” Rabada pointed out.

“It can be frustrating as a team, but we need to understand that this is what happens in a rebuilding phase. When I debuted, I played with an outstanding line-up, greats of the game, which doesn’t happen that frequently.

“Our batsmen have the ability, they just need to get used to international cricket. There’s an element of patience that is needed, but I am not advocating bad performances. But we are still quite positive.

“It looked quite bad for the batsmen at the Gabba, the ball was doing absolute heaps. But we will never go down without a fight,” Rabada said.

Back-to-back ducks enough to appal any batsmen, but Rossouw brushes them off 0

Posted on December 07, 2022 by Ken

One would think making back-to-back ducks would be enough to appal any batter, but Rilee Rossouw said he brushed them off before his emphatic unbeaten century in response in the third T20 against India at the Holkar Cricket Stadium.

And while Proteas fans may be greatly dismayed by the poor form of Temba Bavuma, Rossouw says the team are fully behind their captain and they have no doubts about his value to the side.

Rossouw of course has had previous experience of making ducks for South Africa, getting zero in four of his first six ODI innings, and yet he still went on to average 38 at a strike-rate of 94 in the format.

“As a professional sportsman, you’re going to have bad times, so you need to back yourself and believe in your ability,” Rossouw said after his 100 not out off just 48 balls decimated India.

“It doesn’t matter what your form is, you still need confidence. Form and confidence are two different things. And I really believe in my ability, I’ve showcased it around the world.

“It’s never about form for me, I have confidence in my ability and in my game. And I thank the coaches and selectors for backing me.

“If someone has a good day, then they can carry the weight of someone who is struggling for form. It’s the same with Temba, as a team we really, really back him, we will be there for him and every professional goes through what he is at the moment. But with his ability, he could be in the form of his life at the World Cup,” Rossouw said.

Rossouw credited another man who has been struggling for form recently, before notching back-to-back half-centuries, for getting him going in Indore.

“There was one shot that Quinton de Kock played that really got me in the mood – when he stepped across outside off-stump in the third over and whipped Deepak Chahar for six. That got my momentum going and it’s great to see him playing like that before a big tournament.”

The ball was also regularly coming off the sweet spot just below the chevron of Rossouw’s bat-sticker from early on in his innings, as he hit his fourth and fifth deliveries for fours. The left-hander hit sixes in the next two overs, and his third six took him to 30 off 15 balls. Rossouw went to his fifty off 27 deliveries, 30 of those runs coming from shots over the boundary, and he needed just 21 more balls to raise his first T20 International century, which included seven fours and eight sixes.

By focusing on playing the swinging ball and getting all aspects of their game to click together, Rossouw said the Proteas now head to the T20 World Cup with the confidence of a fine victory under their belts.

“With bat and ball, we’ve had things to learn in this series. We were shocked by how India swung the ball and we learnt a lot about our bowling in the second game,” Rossouw said.

“But we put it together today, we were outstanding in our batting, bowling and fielding. We played very well and we’re very proud of how we’ve finished the series. We’ll be going to the World Cup with our heads held high.”

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    “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

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