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Ken Borland

Experience of those past their 32nd birthdays key for Proteas’ record chase 0

Posted on July 20, 2022 by Ken

Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller and Dwaine Pretorius are all past their 32nd birthdays and it was that experience that gave them the clarity of knowing exactly what they had to do as South Africa chased down a record score in the first T20 against India in Delhi on Thursday night.

South Africa’s previous highest chase was 208 for two against the West Indies at the Wanderers in 2007/8, in the first World T20 tournament. So when India piled on 211 for four, their highest ever score against the Proteas, the pressure was on.

But Pretorius, born March 29 1989, was promoted to No.3 and dominated the powerplay by lashing 29 off 13 balls, before India fought back with a couple of wickets and South Africa needed 120 to win off the last nine overs. Miller, born June 10 1989, then took over, taking the pressure off a struggling Van der Dussen, with the in-form IPL winner blasting 64 not out off 31 deliveries.

Van der Dussen, who was born on February 7 1989, exploded in the latter stages to finish with a fabulous 75 not out off just 46 balls as the Proteas won with five balls to spare.

“Dwaine was brilliant, he had clear instructions to put India under pressure and he did that superbly. He’s an intimidating figure and we know how far he can hit the ball,” Van der Dussen said.

“But it took a while for me to get the pace of the pitch, I was a bit slow with 30 off 31 balls. But David batted really well to get me through that tough patch in the middle.

“I knew if I could just get one or two shots away then the momentum would shift. We had clear plans and communicated well, the lesson is to trust the game-plan and have a clear mind regardless of your score and how many balls faced.

“We trusted each other too and we knew that if David and I were there at the end then we would be close and would probably get over the line. I’m glad we managed to do it in the end,” Van der Dussen said.

The Central Gauteng Lions star, who now averages 42 in T20 internationals with a strike-rate of 132, recognised however that what happened in the first match of the series probably won’t work every time. It was just as well Van der Dussen was dropped on 29 in the 16th over because that would have brought Tristan Stubbs, exciting but a real baby at this level, in to try and get 63 runs from 28 balls.

“I would like to adapt a little quicker to conditions, you can’t always put yourself under pressure and catch up. It also puts the team under pressure,” Van der Dussen acknowledged.

“I will be looking at my first 15-20 balls to try and get away quicker.”

The second T20 is in Cuttack on Sunday from 3.30pm.

1-0 down in a 3-Test series: Springboks know what they have to do 0

Posted on August 23, 2021 by Ken

Being 1-0 down in a three-Test series, the Springboks know what they have to do in the coming week: they simply have to find a way to win the second Test against the British and Irish Lions next Saturday and coach Jacques Nienaber believes they are still capable of doing this.

“The series is definitely salvageable next weekend, we have to, there’s no other choice. The things that have been highlighted are definitely things we can sort out – our mauls, our kicking game and the aerial contest. We also need to step up at the breakdown and we had a big discussion about our discipline, it was sad that that was highlighted at halftime and then it wasn’t great in the second half,” Nienaber said.

Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk echoed his coach’s determination that the Springboks have the capacity to win the second Test, also in Cape Town, and level the series.

“It’s not ideal losing the first Test but there are still two to go and I’m sure we can pull it back. There are a lot of things to get right, but a few of the guys had not played rugby for a bit. In the first half we played really well, we got a lot of balls back from our kicking game, we were getting good outcomes. But in the second half the Lions got the loose balls in the aerial contest.

“The Lions are a quality side and the other challenge was that the guys that came off the bench for them are as good if not better that the players they replaced. Our discipline just slipped in the second half and if we could replay the first five minutes after halftime then the match would probably have had a different outcome. But we are a proud team and we will definitely make sure we rectify our mistakes,” De Klerk said.

Another area South Africa need to look at is their bench, which had surprisingly little impact, even though Nienaber denied they had adulterated the Springbok effort, saying he was “not disappointed in them”.

The starting front row of Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane and Bongi Mbonambi had had an excellent first half, but they were replaced en masse at the start of the second half, which turned out to be a big mistake. Nche did express some surprise that he had been taken off, particularly since he had been standing up very well to highly-rated tighthead Tadhg Furlong in the scrums.

“I didn’t think the Bomb Squad would come on that early. We practise for a full game, that’s our fitness levels. But whatever the coaches feel is right is what we go with. I did my homework on Furlong because I knew how highly-rated he is. So I knew how he scrummed, I was prepared,” Nche said.

Sharks team still has plenty of work to do in the tight-loose – Everitt 0

Posted on November 04, 2020 by Ken

Sharks coach Sean Everitt admitted that his team still has plenty of work to do on their efforts in the tight-loose, despite their comfortable winning margin of 42-19 over the Pumas in Nelspruit at the weekend.

The Pumas were typically robust and confrontational up front, but where the Sharks had a decided edge was in terms of their clinical finishing, and the sharpness of both their backline and the rolling maul. But were it not for the Pumas being extremely wasteful on several occasions when they were inside the Sharks’ 22, the match would have been a lot closer.

“We’re very happy with the result, especially since last year we lost here, and we showed a lot of energy for the full 80 minutes, but the breakdowns let us down and that still needs a lot of attention. Francois Klelinhans and Jeandre Rudolph are both very good on the ball, but we need to tidy that area up,” Everitt said.

Not that the Sharks coach was upset with his forwards though, because there were areas where they played much better than last weekend against the Bulls in Pretoria, and the Sharks were expert at mining that front-foot ball and turning it into gold.

“There were obviously things we worked on after the Bulls game and it was great to see the set-piece come through – we were rewarded for some good scrums and we didn’t lose a lineout. Plus our maul was really good and led to two tries for us,” Everitt said.

Cricket Australia hardly a spokesman for successful player relationships 0

Posted on January 31, 2018 by Ken


As a spokesman for maintaining successful relationships with their players, Cricket Australia would hardly seem to be the first people one would ask for advice, but that is what the Cricket South Africa leadership have elected to do as they approach negotiations with their own players on their new memorandum of understanding.

The revenue-sharing model that has underpinned the memorandum of understanding the players have had with CSA for the last 12 years will come to the end of its four-year cycle in April and fresh negotiations with the players’ union, the South African Cricketers’ Association, are set to start within the next month.

Astonishingly, considering that Cricket Australia spent most of the year trying to ward off a strike by their own players that threatened the Ashes, acting CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe has confirmed that they will be seeking Cricket Australia’s advice in how to contract players.

Cricket Australia received a bloody nose when all their players stood together to stop the administrators from hogging all the new money coming in from the Big Bash, instead ensuring that every state cricketer, both male and female, enjoyed a share of the riches.

It seems only fair that the players should share in the revenue that is accrued mostly due to their talents, but that’s not how Moroe sees things judging by his ill-considered comments just after Christmas about CSA making the money and not the players, who are basically employees who must do what they are told.

For CSA to say they make the money is simply outrageous, considering the amount of money that has been wasted due to their own negligence in the T20 Global League false-start, for which cricket in this country will be paying for a long time.

An antagonistic approach to the players is also extremely shortsighted because there are so many opportunities abroad now for the players, options that will pay up to four times more than they can earn here in South Africa. Many of our top stars are only staying because they feel a responsibility towards the game and for the younger players coming through the system, an attitude that is engendered by the revenue-sharing model that makes them stakeholders in the overall welfare of the sport.

Cricket South Africa are heading for a collision course with their most valuable – and sought-after – assets if the approach so brazenly bellowed out by their leadership is carried into negotiations.

There is a certain old-fashioned naivety about their strident apporoach because they really cannot compete with overseas offers on an economic basis so they really need to keep their players happy.

Similarly, the implication that they will convince the Board of Control for Cricket in India to release their players for the T20 Global League because they will threaten to prevent South African players from participating in the IPL is outlandish. Preventing our best stars from maximising their earnings in the best-paid league in the world will simply chase them away permanently to foreign shores.

A mass exodus of top players would be a disastrous setback for the game, leading to a huge loss in earning from sponsors and broadcasters – the Proteas are currently still an attraction because of the world-class stars they possess – and would ultimately stymie any plans CSA have for the further development of the game.

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