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Ken Borland



Lions hunting intensity like a dieter trying to increase metabolism 0

Posted on July 08, 2024 by Ken

Like a dieter trying to increase their metabolism, our DP World Lions men’s team have been hunting increased intensity in the field in the CSA T20 Challenge and the Pride certainly reached their goal in the Western Cape over the last week.

An impressive and commanding nine-wicket win over the Boland Rocks last weekend in Paarl was followed on Wednesday night by an even more tremendous, record-breaking triumph over Western Province at Newlands.

On a memorable evening for the #PrideOfJozi, they hammered WP by 132 runs, the biggest ever victory margin in the history of the competition. Having scored 213 for two, their highest ever T20 total against their traditional rivals, the DP World Lions then bundled the home side out for just 81. The record-breaking effort erases the Lions’ own previous mark for the heaviest defeat, having been beaten by 130 runs by the Eagles in Potchefstroom in 2004/5.

Having now secured second place with a five-point lead over Western Province, it all sets the DP World Lions up beautifully for their clash with the HollywoodBets Dolphins in Johannesburg on Friday night.

While there were superb individual performances from Ryan Rickelton (73 off 46), Reeza Hendricks (90 off 49), Lutho Sipamla (3-1-14-3) and Nqaba Peter (2.3-1-7-4 – the third-best figures ever for the Lions) in Cape Town, coach Russell Domingo was delighted by the lift in intensity by the team as a whole.

“We’ve been wanting to play to our standards and intensity. We have a lot of internationals in our team and with small crowds it can be challenging for them because they’re used to thousands of spectators. So we’ve tried to match our intensity to our own standards and we were crazy good with both bat and ball at Newlands and the fielding was really superb,” Domingo said.

“But the Dolphins have a formidable side with in-form batsmen, pace bowlers and spinners. They beat us in Durban and we’re going to have to be on top of our game, focusing on how we control the game.”

Rickelton and Hendricks, who put on an outstanding 151 for the first wicket – a record for Newlands, have now both climbed into the top six of the batting averages with over 250 runs to their names; only Rubin Hermann of the Dragons has scored more.

Rassie van der Dussen (29* off 18) and Delano Potgieter (14* off 7) then provided the finishing touches to the record total.

“It was good to see the batting fire after what has been a strange campaign with us not batting first a lot and having to chase several low scores. Reeza and Ryan batted superbly and they are both quality batsmen. They are finding a way to get substantial scores now that we’re in the crucial stages of the competition,” Domingo said.

Lutho Sipamla and Tshepo Moreki then backed up the batting effort by bowling superbly with the new ball, reducing WP to 38 for four in the powerplay, Sipamla being rewarded with career-best figures.

“Lutho and Tshepo were fantastic and they bowled really good Test lengths, they were aggressive and the pitch did a bit at night. I anticipate the DP World Wanderers wicket also doing a bit against the Dolphins, there’s a bit of rain around, it’s late in the season and there’s a chill in the air. We’ll have to assess and adapt to that as well,” Domingo said.

With the increased pressure, Peter ripped through the remaining batsmen, baffling them with his flat leg-spin and changes of pace. Following on from his three for 14 against the Rocks, the 22-year-old has now taken seven wickets for 38 runs in eight-and-a-half overs and is top of the bowling averages.

“Nqaba bowled brilliantly, his discipline and control was really good,” Domingo said. “He only took up leg-spin a couple of years ago, so it is still a new art for him and he has a long way to go, but he is a really promising talent. He has coaches around him who have learnt from the very best leg-spinners, they give Nqaba feedback in terms of how they were set up as batsmen and he is understanding the nuances of the skill,” Domingo said.

Having kept Western Province in third place on the log, the DP World Lions will now be out to ensure the Dolphins stay fourth, currently 11 points behind them. A third victory in a row for our Pride will also close the gap on the log-leading Warriors to just a handful of points.

Odds against SA as they try to avoid ‘4-day franchise game’ in 2nd Test 0

Posted on August 21, 2023 by Ken

The odds are stacked high against South Africa as their batsmen face trying to avoid turning the second Test versus Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground into something akin to a four-day franchise game, ending the third day still needing 371 runs to avoid an innings defeat.

The Proteas batted for just seven overs in their second innings on Wednesday, but in that time they lost captain Dean Elgar, caught down the leg-side for a duck. Sarel Erwee (7*) and Theunis de Bruyn (6*) then took them to 15 for one when rain stopped play at 4.21pm local time.

Mitchell Starc, bleeding from the finger he dislocated in the field on the first day, swung the ball prodigiously, but it was captain Pat Cummins who grabbed the wicket as he bowled three successive maidens.

The bowlers have been through one of their toughest tests as Australia piled on 575 for eight declared, their biggest total against South Africa since they smashed 652 for seven declared at the Wanderers in 2002. It meant the Proteas conceded a monstrous 386-run first-innings lead.

Anrich Nortje produced a thrilling double-strike in his second over of the day as he bowled Travis Head for a dashing 51, shaping the ball back into the left-hander. That brought second-day hero David Warner back to the crease, the left-hander celebrating his 100th Test having retired hurt with severe cramps upon reaching his epic 200*.

But Nortje, whose tremendous fast bowling the previous day had thrilled the MCG crowd almost as much as Warner’s innings, bowled the veteran opener first ball back with an excellent yorker.

Cummins survived the hat-trick ball but was then caught behind off Kagiso Rabada for 4. With Cameron Green and Starc both nursing hand injuries, South Africa may have expected to wrap the innings up quickly as Nathan Lyon came to the crease with Australia on 400 for six, leading by 211.

But Lyon batted brightly to score 25 off 17 balls as he and Alex Carey put on a quickfire 40, and the wicketkeeper/batsman carried on in exhilarating fashion to an exciting maiden Test century, one that ensured Australia enjoyed an insurmountable lead.

With Green surprisingly returning to the crease with a fractured finger and defending stoutly, Carey feasted on the tired bowling on a flat pitch, scoring a superb 111 off 149 balls before offering a return catch to Marco Jansen as he tried to withdraw his bat from a steepling, tennis-ball bounce lifter from the left-arm quick.

Green became more fluent the longer he was at the crease, but his 51 not out was still a grind, albeit a brave one, coming off 177 deliveries in 224 minutes.

Having bowled themselves into the ground, South Africa’s bowlers eventually received some respite when Australia declared shortly before tea, having batted for 145 overs. Nortje earned immense respect for his effort as he finished with three for 92 in 25 overs.

Bulls dominate the battle of sibling rivals … but change has to come at Loftus 0

Posted on May 15, 2023 by Ken

Eighthman Elrigh Louw was prominent as the Bulls rebounded with a convincing victory over the tough Griquas team in Kimberley.

Given that many of the Griquas players have come through the junior ranks at Loftus Versfeld, last weekend’s Currie Cup clash against the Bulls in Kimberley had all the hallmarks of a sibling rivalry – the big brother from Pretoria trying to quell the upstart youngsters.

Except that the Bulls have been a meek facsimile of their former fearsome selves this season and the quarterfinal exit, via another heavy defeat at the hands of the Stormers, caused much soul-searching at Loftus Versfeld.

The Currie Cup is now their last chance to pull together and try and get something meaningful out of their troubled season. Which makes them dangerous, desperate adversaries, and Griquas had their hands full against a near URC-strength team, going down 40-20. That Bulls side, when on-song, was good enough to finish sixth in the URC and make the last 16 of the Champions Cup.

The fact that the Bulls churn out so many talented youngsters year-after-year, and have dominated recent age-group rugby in South Africa, has caused speculation that director of rugby and head coach Jake White should ditch the players that have misfired this year and embark on a youth policy.

White himself almost bristled at the suggestion, saying the inevitable change that was needed at Loftus was a tricky balancing act between utilising exciting new talent but also ensuring that an experienced core is there to complement them.

“There needs to be change, that’s inevitable, and we also need some fresh energy,” White said. “Some guys have fallen behind and some players are finishing their contracts anyway. Some have said they might want to move elsewhere in South Africa or overseas.

“We are still negotiating with SAREO [South African Rugby Employers’ Organisation] and SA Rugby as to how many contracts we can have. This year we have used nearly sixty players, but we are limited to 55 contracts.

“So it’s a work in progress, it’s very fluid. And you can’t give guys one-year deals because they need stability. There are spaces available in our squad, but then you also need the right players to complement the guys you bring in.

“I would love to keep everyone coming through our system. In the last three years we have had the strongest junior age-groups in the country. But we need 55 players to leave to put all of them into the senior squad and that’s not possible. Not every guy in the junior ranks at Loftus is going to make it in professional rugby. There are only 23 places in the senior team.

“Which is why probably 60% of the Griquas and Pumas teams have come through the Bulls junior system. And those two teams were the Currie Cup finalists last year, which shows the talent we produce.

“We don’t need more juniors in the team and it’s impossible to win anything big when two-thirds of your team are under 24-years-old. We’ve already gone through that at the Bulls.

“Just using players from the junior system is not the solution to the problem, we need to complement them with players from outside. We need to be proactive, not reactive; we need to look for good players with speed and skill and the ability to change the game whatever their position, and more coaches to make the Bulls stronger. As Director of Rugby, I’m very lucky that the Board, the CEO and our owners say we need to compete with the top sides in Europe,” White said.

While there will clearly be changes in playing personnel for the Bulls, White was bullish in terms of his own management, although he did admit that they probably should have planned differently for the Currie Cup. The 59-year-old is confident that with a productive off-season in terms of structural work, the Bulls will return to their efficient selves and meet the ambitious goals of his bosses and the fans.

“Things have been working, I don’t know why some people think I would walk away. We have not done as well as we could, but it has not been a failure of a season and it has not been all bad. No-one from South Africa was able to get through the playoffs of the Champions Cup and we finished sixth in the URC. If that’s a bad year, then we are in a very good position at the Bulls because things will change drastically next season.

“We could have structured the Currie Cup campaign differently, but we take the Currie Cup very seriously and that’s not going to change,” White said.

Sporting success is never an exact science otherwise everyone would have the same winning formula. But something about the mix at Loftus Versfeld, which produced such potent rugby in the last couple of years, is now off. Plus good old-fashioned bad luck and things beyond their control have gone against them.

With all his experience and rugby wisdom, it would be foolish to bet against White ensuring the Bulls make full use of their resources next season to return to a position of dominance in South African rugby.

Shamsi gives prim & proper answer of ‘trying to do my best every game’ 0

Posted on November 16, 2022 by Ken

Proteas wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi gave the prim and proper answer of “trying to do my best every game” when asked on Monday what his approach to South Africa’s T20 series against India will be, but trying to get one over the powerful home batting line-up is clearly also in the back of his mind.

Not just because the Proteas will play India again in Group II at the T20 World Cup in Australia next month, but also to prove to the world’s biggest cricket market that he truly is one of the world’s best white-ball spinners.

Compared to his career stats – 69 wickets in 56 T20 Internationals, economy 7.11, strike-rate 17.70, average 21.02 – Shamsi’s record in India is clearly inferior: In 6 matches he has taken just three wickets at an average of 48, his economy is 8.47 and his strike-rate 34.

“I’m not sure what conditions will be like, but I will prepare exactly the same as my previous times there,” Shamsi said in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. “I was happy with my performance in England.

“But it’s always challenging against India. I won’t be changing much, previously it’s just been a few balls that I haven’t executed properly. Some days you’re just a bit off the mark and the batsmen do well, you get hit for just a couple of sixes here and there.

“The boundary sizes tend to be smaller here in India and the pitches will be different to Australia. But there are always things to work on, and bowling at these Indian batsmen with them being in our group at the World Cup, it’s an opportunity to observe and maybe pick up one or two things to use later on,” Shamsi said.

Wednesday’s match will only be the third T20 International to have been played at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram. The first one was a game shortened to eight overs against New Zealand in 2017, which India won with a total of 67/5. In 2019, India posted 170/7 against the West Indies and lost by eight wickets with nine balls to spare.

The stadium doubles as a football field, so there are bound to be some short boundaries.

But Shamsi said this current Proteas team are unfazed by challenges these days, having come through so much together.

“The mood is really good in the camp, we’re excited to be back together as a group and it’s always a nice challenge against India. This team is all about overcoming challenges.

“Our expectations are the same, but obviously with the World Cup coming up, we will keep one eye on the future as well. Preparing for that is our first priority.

“So the captain and coach might want to play around a bit with the team, and that’s okay,” Shamsi said.

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    Mark 7:8 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

    Surrender yourself unconditionally to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then you will be able to identify what is of man with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will be able to serve – in love! – according to God’s will.



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