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Ken Borland

Maharaj: Proteas need to ensure such a terrible batting display does not happen again 0

Posted on November 28, 2022 by Ken

South Africa’s top-order produced a terrible batting display in the first T20 against India in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, crashing to nine for five after being sent in to bat, and top-scorer Keshav Maharaj admitted that they had been caught unawares in the powerplay and needed to look at ways of ensuring such a parlous start does not happen again.

The Proteas eventually made it to 106-8 thanks largely to Maharaj’s greatly determined 41 off 35 balls, while there were also rearguard knocks by Aiden Markram (25) and Wayne Parnell (24). But despite a shaky start they saw them reduced to 17-2 in the seventh over, India cruised to victory by eight wickets with 20 balls to spare, thanks to unbeaten half-centuries by Lokesh Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav.

“We don’t want to dwell too much on the match, but there are things we can address and hopefully rectify,” Maharaj said after the awful start to the tour. “We do need to chat about how we started.

“When you are put under pressure like that then it’s very difficult to come back. But we showed some fight and we can build on that. It showed great character to go from nine for five to 106, we made a game of it and there are a lot of positives from that.

“But we need to adjust better against the new ball, they were getting a lot of swing, so we needed a change of plan and mindset. We didn’t expect the ball to swing so much, and the pitch was also two-paced, there was a lot of tennis ball bounce, so it was not easy.

“We need to find a way to combat the swing up front and our application at the top also needs to be looked at. But the ball was swinging prodigiously and we were just trying to get to the 16th over and not get bowled out,” Maharaj said.

Losing five wickets in the powerplay was the difference between the two sides though, as Rahul dug in and Suryakumar scored an inspired 50 not out in 33 balls.

“With five wickets down in the powerplay, you’ve still got to be focused. We wanted to try and get to 16 overs and not get bowed out, and then unfortunately Wayne got out.

“Our seam bowlers also did really well in the powerplay, KG Rabada and Wayne were exceptional. Small moments went India’s way, but they batted exceptionally well.

“It was always going to be very difficult to come back from five wickets down in the powerplay, maybe it was a bit of rustiness on our part. Hopefully we can execute much better and make the second T20 more exciting.

“Conditions were in the bowlers’ favour, but full credit to Deepak Chahar and Arshdeep Singh for landing the ball in the right areas. They had us under pressure in the powerplay,” Maharaj said.

Proteas batting now certifiably in crisis 0

Posted on November 28, 2022 by Ken

South Africa’s batting is now certifiably in crisis as they could only manage a miserable 106/8 and were beaten by eight wickets with 20 balls to spare in their first T20 against India in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.

That dismal score actually represented a recovery as, having been sent in to bat, the top-order were decimated by brilliant Indian swing bowling, crashing to a catastrophic 9/5.

Captain Temba Bavuma fell for a duck, bowled by a surprise inswinger from Deepak Chahar, at the end of the first over.

Arshdeep Singh then produced an incredible second over of the innings, forcing Quinton de Kock (1) to chop on, having Rilee Rossouw caught behind for a first-ball duck and then bowling David Miller first ball with another wonderful delivery that zeroed in on middle-stump.

Tristan Stubbs became the third batsmen to be dismissed first ball when he edged a cut at Chahar, Arshdeep taking a fine catch at third man.

Aiden Markram (25) and Wayne Parnell (24) averted the immediate crisis of being bowled out for a record low, adding 33, but South Africa only just limped into three figures thanks to Keshav Maharaj, who showed great determination in scoring 41 off 35 balls. The way the Proteas top-order bats, he should be regarded as a bowling all-rounder these days.

South Africa’s bowlers gave perhaps some pause for thought as Kagiso Rabada had Rohit Sharma caught behind for a two-ball duck and Anrich Nortje dismissed the other big fish, Virat Kohli (3), in the same fashion.

But Suryakumar Yadav showed what a marvellous talent he is with his 50 not off 33 balls and opener Lokesh Rahul batted through to score 51 not out off 56 balls.

Rabada (4-1-16-1) and Parnell (4-0-14-0) were both impressive with the new ball.

To make matters worse, wicketkeeper De Kock may well have injured a finger as he required prolonged treatment midway through the innings after trying to stop a leg-side wide from fast bowler Nortje.

Suryakumar became the record run-scorer in T20 Internationals in a calendar year for India, having now scored 732 runs at a brilliant average of 40.66 and a magnificent strike-rate of 180.29. He has cruised past the previous record of 689 runs by Shikhar Dhawan with ease, and still has the World Cup to come.

The 32-year-old hit the second and third deliveries he faced, from Nortje, for six, to immediately settle any nerves in the chase.

“As a batting unit, we failed to apply ourselves,” Bavuma said afterwards. “We weren’t able to adjust our plans. We saw what Rahul was able to do. We didn’t expect that pitch, we practised here  and we saw the wicket was spicy, but we didn’t expect it like that. You expected to hit through the line coming to India.”

Focus on Bavuma & his pedigree; all his focus on fulfilling his role 0

Posted on November 16, 2022 by Ken

While almost all the focus in the build-up to South Africa’s first T20 against India in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday has been on Proteas captain Temba Bavuma and his pedigree in the shortest format of the game, the skipper himself said on Tuesday that all his focus is on fulfilling his role for the team.

Bavuma returns to international action for the first time since June when he retired hurt for eight off 11 balls in the fourth T20 against India in Rajkot; South Africa going on to be skittled for just 87 and losing by 82 runs as the hosts levelled the series. The fifth and decisive match was then washed out.

Bavuma tore a tendon in his elbow when diving to make his ground on a quick single. But questions had already been raised in India over his place in the side as he ended the series with 61 runs in four innings, at a strike-rate of only 103.38, the lowest of any frontline batsman in the series.

When he last week failed to attract a single bid for the SA20 league from any of the IPL-associated franchises, it created a fresh storm over his head.

“My focus is on the team and my role as captain is to lead and serve as best I can,” Bavuma said on Tuesday when asked whether he will be going all-out with the bat to prove the naysayers wrong.

“My job is to make sure the team is in the best space possible going into the World Cup. Anything else I try not to give energy to, they’re all distractions and sideshows.

“I’m trying to put what happened at the auction behind me and my biggest focus is on my role as captain,” Bavuma said.

The Indian team are resting the swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who gave the Proteas, and especially Bavuma, a torrid time in the previous series. Jasprit Bumrah is back to lead the attack. The home side’s most experienced batsmen, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, are also back in the fray, having rested in the earlier rubber.

“We were tested and challenged in all departments last time here and I think we responded quite well,” Bavuma said. “They have some big names back with pedigree behind them, and they will lead from the front.

“They will boost the confidence of the Indian team and add some x-factor. But it’s good for us to be coming up against their best players.

“It’s quite challenging against their opening bowlers in the powerplay, they get the ball to swing and move quite a bit, more than we are accustomed to at home.

“The key is to limit the damage, manoeuvre around them and try and get some momentum later on,” Bavuma said.

Play starts at 3.30pm SA time.

Bavuma gets chance to prove SA20 snub was wrong next week 0

Posted on November 04, 2022 by Ken

In a week’s time, Temba Bavuma will lead the Proteas into battle in the first T20 of a three-match series against India at Thiruvananthapuram, giving him an early opportunity to strike back at all the doubters and prove that his omission from the SA20 squads was a mistake.

National white-ball captain Bavuma failed to muster a bid in three attempts at the auction in Cape Town, despite, or perhaps because of, going in with a reserve price of R850 000.

The shock snub led to practically all the franchise coaches being quizzed about just how the player who will lead South Africa into the T20 World Cup next month had managed to lose out on a spot in the six franchises to play in the SA20 next January.

They seemed as nonplussed as the media.

“Just because you’re a good player in South Africa, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be recognised around the world,” was the telling comment from Durban Super Giants coach Lance Klusener when he was asked about the omission of Bavuma and Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.

“I’m sure Temba and Andile feel the same as the other players who weren’t sold. But it was brutal out there and there was a lot of competition.”

MI Cape Town coach, Simon Katich, the former Australian batsman, also put Bavuma’s absence down to competition for places.

“It’s a tough one, but there are plenty of good players who missed out because there was a lot of competition. And there was a lot of overseas competition for certain spots,” Katich said.

While Bavuma has proven his star quality in Test and ODI cricket, his strike-rate of 120.60 in T20 Internationals and 124.67 domestically is considered weak for the format.

But the often bizarre nature of T20 auctions was shown in how the franchises were willing to pay a dear price for Donovan Ferreira, the Northerns batsman who is an almost complete unknown overseas, but managed to fetch R5.5 million from Joburg Super Kings in the first express set of bids towards the end of the auction.

Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming seems a fan though.

“Donovan is relatively young, explosive and dynamic and he can keep wicket as well. I thought it would be a nice, easy buy, but the bidding got my heart beating.

“He was the last key position we needed, our last throw of the dice and we only just got him. Hopefully that effort will pay off for us.

“You usually can get some very good buys at the end and in the end it was a good day for us. The challenge is you set up your budget, but then you get blown out of the water on one of your prizes,” Fleming said.

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