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Ken Borland

WP call into service 2 bright talents to secure strong advantage 0

Posted on February 29, 2024 by Ken

Daniel Smith & Gavin Kaplan forged the key partnership for Western Province on the second day of the CSA 4-Day Series final against the Central Gauteng Lions at the Wanderers.

Western Province called into service the talents of two of their brighter prospects on Thursday as they claimed a strong advantage after the first innings of the CSA 4-Day Series final against the Central Gauteng Lions at the Wanderers.

With 26-year-old Gavin Kaplan and 21-year-old Daniel Smith both scoring 60, Western Province made 312 all out, to lead by 87 runs, and by stumps on the second day they had already reduced the Lions to 10 for two in their second innings.

Having sent the Lions crashing to 35 for five and eventually dismissing them for 225 on the first day, Western Province resumed on Thursday on 49 without loss. And even though they lost the wicket of Eddie Moore, the previous evening’s aggressor falling to Tshepo Moreki’s short-ball assault for 45, the first hour certainly belonged to the visitors as they reached 118 for one.

But the Lions fought back valiantly, with Moreki adding the wickets of Proteas batsmen Tony de Zorzi (51) and Kyle Verreynne (14) as WP slipped to 158 for four shortly after lunch.

That brought Kaplan, playing just his 10th Division I innings, and Smith, in his 14th game at this level, together with WP still 67 behind. Crucially, the home team dropped both of them early in their innings.

Kaplan was missed in the gully, a sharpish chance, by Josh Richards off Codi Yusuf on 10, and Smith was on three when he edged Moreki to wicketkeeper Ryan Rickelton, who had the ball in both gloves but it somehow squirmed out.

Kaplan and Smith proceeded to add 87 for the fifth wicket, putting WP in front. Kaplan was full of defiance, but plenty of fine strokes as well, as his 60 came off 122 balls and included 10 fours. The left-hander Smith showed his potential as he also batted with great determination, his 60 coming off 117 deliveries, with eight fours. When he was dismissed, trapped lbw after missing a peculiar little paddle-pull at left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin, Western Province already led by 61.

Crucially, the Lions used spinners Fortuin and part-time offie Dominic Hendricks to claim three important wickets just before they called on the second new ball – Smith and Mihlali Mpongwana (28) falling to Fortuin and Hendricks trapping Kyle Simmonds (7) lbw for just his second first-class wicket.

Moreki then made it a memorable day for himself as he claimed the last two wickets with just 11 runs added to register his first five-wicket haul in first-class cricket. For someone who already has a hat-trick in the book and is a Test cricketer, it was a surprising career-best. But five for 65 in 18.3 overs was a just reward for finding the right length on this excellent Wanderers pitch, getting the ball to skid through and sometimes bounce well, with a bit of movement, from just back of a length.

Having fought back well, the last half-an-hour of the second day was immensely frustrating for the Lions.

Within the space of four balls, Hendricks (6) edged a wild drive far outside off-stump, Smith taking a good catch at first slip off Mthiwekhaya Nabe, and Josh Richards (2) then no doubt bemused his coaching staff by batting on off-stump but then stepping outside off and trying to play an away-swinger from Dane Paterson, presenting an easy catch to wicketkeeper Verreynne.

With the WP bowlers now rampant, Zubayr Hamza and Moreki had to survive a torrid few overs before stumps, which they managed while adding just two singles to the total.

The Lions will have to rediscover their roar with the bat in a big way on the third day if they are to stop Western Province from continuing their triumphant march through this season.

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.

The facts behind the Paarl Royals’ win at the Wanderers … and a pitch that has gone the same way as the fax machine 0

Posted on January 25, 2024 by Ken

Wihan Lubbe of Paarl Royals during his beautifully-controlled half-century.
Photo: Arjun Singh (Sportzpics)

The facts of the SA20 game at the Wanderers on Wednesday night will show that the Paarl Royals beat the Joburg Super Kings by five wickets with six balls to spare, but one could just as easily use the number of extras conceded to indicate the difference between the two teams.

The Royals, in a bowling display full of discipline, backed by tidy fielding, conceded just four extras; the Super Kings donated 18 extras, including nine byes, five wides and a couple of no-balls. And there were a couple of dropped catches and several misfields and overthrows.

Joburg Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming was unsurprisingly a frustrated man after their fourth loss in six matches. Not just with his team’s sloppiness in the field but also with a Wanderers pitch whose character the home team is really battling to understand from match-to-match.

The days of a Wanderers pitch that was a batting belter week-after-week seem as far gone now as the fax machine.

“A couple of weeks ago the ball was really flying through and then tonight it was a low and turning pitch. So it’s difficult to understand, we don’t know what to expect and we’re struggling to adapt to it.

“But we were also a long way off where we need to be in the field, we were sloppy. We were a bit unlucky with the ball because a number of deliveries went just past the bat, but we could have saved 20-30 runs in the field and that was the difference.

“They needed 105 off the last 10 overs and we are disappointed we did not put them way. Instead we gave runs away and we did not get enough wickets,” Fleming said.

Having been sent in to bat, the Joburg Super Kings soon discovered that the pitch was really tough to handle against the hard new ball. There was seam movement for the pacemen and grip and turn for the slow bowlers. The top-order had to hunker down in their bunkers.

The Super Kings scored just 37 in the powerplay, only getting there thanks to Leus du Plooy hitting Lungi Ngidi for 6-4-4 off the last three balls of the sixth over. They also lost the wicket of Faf du Plessis, bowled by a superb cutter from Ngidi for 17 off 19 deliveries.

The in-form Du Plooy was able to fuel a slight breaking of the shackles with his 30 off just 16 balls and Joburg had reached 62 for two after 10 overs. Unfortunately they lost Du Plooy to some clever bowling from Andile Phehlukwayo, who outfoxed the left-hander and had him steering a lifter to short third man.

Reeza Hendricks, meanwhile, had dug in and played the sort of opener’s innings one usually sees in that format some people want to cancel, ODI cricket. He reached his first fifty of the campaign off 43 balls and was given a reprieve on 58 when Phehlukwayo dropped him, coming forward at square-leg, off Obed McCoy.

Hendricks took full advantage as he and Moeen Ali dished out some severe punishment in the last four overs, slamming 56 runs.

Hendricks showed the ability to stick around in tough conditions, his defiance allowing him to capitalise with some fine ball-striking towards the end of his innings, as he finished with 79 not out off 56 balls, with seven fours and three sixes.

Moeen’s 23 not out off just 12 balls included two sixes and helped Joburg to post 168 for three, a total that Fleming and many observers felt made them favourites.

“I thought we had plenty, definitely enough,” Fleming admitted. “It was very tricky at the start, a tough pitch for 20/20 cricket and I felt we did well to navigate ourselves to an above-par score. It was a well-constructed total on a pitch that wasn’t really suitable for hitting out.”

Lizaad Williams then removed Jason Roy (8) with his first delivery, in the third over, and Moeen dismissed Jos Buttler (22 off 18) in the seventh over, with Paarl’s total on 42.

Wihan Lubbe had come to the crease after Roy’s dismissal and endured some woolly moments, especially against the excellent Nandre Burger (4-0-21-0).  But looks can be deceiving and the left-handed Lubbe was merely playing himself in and biding his time, in the same way that Hendricks did for the home team.

Mitchell van Buuren (7) was bowled by off-spinner Moeen at the end of the ninth over, and needing a required run-rate of double figures, Lubbe and the determined Dane Vilas managed to avoid falling into the trap of just trying to hit boundaries.

They improvised shots, they ran hard and forced the fielders to crack under the pressure, really just upping the intensity of their partnership quite superbly.

Both were dismissed, however, with victory in sight, having added a brilliant 95 for the fourth wicket off just 54 balls, with eight fours and four sixes. It is the best SA20 fourth-wicket stand at the Wanderers.

Lubbe showed great composure and patience up top, steering the Paarl top-order through the tough times and finishing with 57 off 48 balls, with three fours and three sixes.

The 38-year-old Vilas showed how valuable he still is at this level, making 42 off 26 deliveries, with just one six. He still has plenty to offer.

“As the ball got older it became easier to bat,” Lubbe said. “That partnership between Dane and I got momentum on our side, and when that happens you will get the odd misfield and bad ball.

“A lot of credit must go to Dane for the intensity he showed and his calm presence helped me  a lot. Fortunately we lost the wicket on the strategy break and we were able to have a conversation with a few old heads around about how we would go about the chase. We spoke about keeping the intensity as high as we could for the next five overs and not letting the required run-rate get to 15s,” Lubbe said.

The mission accomplished means the Paarl Royals have now opened up a four-point gap for themselves at the top of the SA20 log.

It all came down to 2 record stands at SuperSport Park as Paarl pip the Capitals 0

Posted on January 14, 2024 by Ken

Mitchell van Buuren (left) and David Miller of Paarl Royals celebrate another milestone.
Photo by Sportzpics

In the final analysis it all came down to two record partnerships in the SA20 match between the Pretoria Capitals and the Paarl Royals at SuperSport Park on Sunday night: the one unbeaten and the other crucially ended with the loss of both set batsmen in the space of three deliveries.

After the seasoned David Miller (75 not out off 42 balls) and the highly-talented Mitchell van Buuren (72 not out off 40 balls) had added an unbeaten 141 for the fourth wicket to steer Paarl Royals to a strong 210 for three after they had been sent in to bat, Will Jacks (58 off 34) and Rilee Rossouw (82 off 45) put on 147 for the third wicket for Pretoria to put them well on target in the run-chase.

But Rossouw then top-edged a slog-sweep at Lungi Ngidi and Jason Roy took one of those brilliant boundary catches when the fielder tosses the ball back infield, steps over the boundary and then comes back to complete the catch. The left-handed Rossouw had moved beautifully through the gears, collecting 10 fours and four sixes with great skill and timing, as he came to the crease after the Capitals had made a terrible start, losing two wickets in the opening over.

The first ball of the next over saw Jacks bowled by left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin, the delivery being too full to be played off the back foot. Englishman Jacks had struck six fours and three sixes and had done a great job up front in ensuring Pretoria did not stagnate after Ngidi had removed Phil Salt (0) and Theunis de Bruyn (4) in the opening over.

With the two set batsmen out, the Capitals needed 58 off 35 balls to win and coach Graham Ford admitted afterwards that he was still hopeful they would have enough batting left to see them home.

Captain Jimmy Neesham scored a promising 20 off 9 balls but once Fabian Allen held on to a steepling catch running in from cow-corner to dismiss him off Andile Phehlukwayo, the other batsmen were all at sea on a pitch which did see the odd delivery ‘stick’ in the surface.

In the end, Paarl Royals won by 10 runs, Obed McCoy showing great guts and composure as he conceded just three runs in the final over, despite suffering from severe cramps that saw him hobbling about after every delivery.

In conditions that were still good for batting, coach Ford also admitted that the home side would have settled for a target of just below 200. But Miller and Van Buuren put them to the sword at the death, plundering 51 runs off the last three overs.

“The odd one did stick a bit, but if you’re going to mix up your pace then you still have to get your length right,” Ford said. “I think everybody in the changeroom would say that we could have limited them to 15 or so runs less.

“It was a fairly high-scoring game, another great T20 pitch here, but we probably could have controlled things a bit better at the end, when you trust the bowlers to back their best disciplines.

“Then again, if Rilee had batted for another three overs then we probably would have won. I can’t say enough of how well he and Will played and we saw how tough it was for the lower-order. But I was hopeful that we would have had some extra batting to see us over the line,” Ford said.

Miller and Van Buuren came together after Paarl Royals had lost two wickets in three overs to slip to 69 for three, and they were quick to settle at the crease, needing just 31 balls to raise their 50 partnership. Their next fifty runs together came in 30 deliveries, and in the end their partnership of 141 came off just 72 balls, with 13 fours and six sixes.

Jacks and Rossouw sent 16 balls to the boundary and seven over it as their stand of 147 came off 82 deliveries.

Both partnerships were the best ever for their respective wickets in SA20 history. The previous third-wicket record was held by Jacks and De Bruyn, who put on 111 against the Sunrisers Eastern Cape at Centurion last season; the previous fourth-wicket record was 75 shared by Matthew Breetzke and Heinrich Klaasen of Durban Super Giants, and Aiden Markram and Tristan Stubbs of the Sunrisers.

It was not a particularly good day to be a bowler, but leg-spinner Adil Rashid was the pick of the Capitals attack with one for 31 in his four overs, while new-ball bowlers Ngidi (4-0-39-4) and McCoy (4-0-30-1) led the way for Paarl Royals, who now go to second place on the log after their back-to-back wins over last season’s losing finalists.

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