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Ken Borland

Pacemen with reputation for being ruthless sharks were toothless; Bavuma wants ‘conversations’ 0

Posted on April 11, 2022 by Ken

South Africa’s pace trio of Kagiso Rabada, Marco Jansen and Lungi Ngidi have the reputation of being ruthless sharks in their own waters but they were rather toothless in the first ODI against Bangladesh at SuperSport Park on Friday night, leading captain Temba Bavuma to admit that “conversations will have to be had”.

Having won the toss and elected to bowl first, Bavuma had to wait until the 22nd over until the first wicket came, and even then it was delivered by medium-pacer Andile Phehlukwayo.

Given an opening-stand platform of 95, Shakib Al-Hasan and Yasir Ali were able to make merry and take Bangladesh to 314/7, their highest ever score in South Africa.

In stark contrast to the Proteas attack, Bangladesh pacemen Taskin Ahmed and Shoriful Islam were able to take early wickets and South Africa fell 38 runs short despite the heroics of David Miller (79) and Rassie van der Dussen (86).

“In the first 10-15 overs in the field I felt we were in control, but in the middle overs we were not on-point in terms of our plans or adjusting to conditions,” Bavuma said after the first ever home loss to Bangladesh.

“The wickets were what was lacking and that was always going to make it tough. It meant Bangladesh always had an in-batter who was able to take risks. We conceded nearly 180 runs in the last 20 overs.

“That meant Bangladesh then had momentum going into our innings. Conversations will have to be had because the seamers we had can all take wickets, that’s generally our game-plan,” Bavuma said.

Given how comprehensively his team beat the Proteas in the opening game of the three-match series, Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal was hardly being boastful when he said “We can win the series. We have to give ourselves every chance.”

Bavuma knows the Proteas have to show their pride in a do-or-die Pink Day encounter at the Wanderers on Sunday if they are to avoid an embarrassing series loss coming off their 3-0 win over India.

“Sunday is now simply a must-win match and we have to up our game in all departments. If we do that then things like Super League points will look after themselves.

“Just because we are playing against Bangladesh, it is no guarantee that the points will just come to us,” Bavuma said.

No-one should be left in any doubt about that after the goings-on in Centurion on Friday night.

‘Learning curve’ for Bulls youngsters as they wade into European waters having been battered by the Sharks breakers 0

Posted on April 01, 2021 by Ken

As they prepare to wade their way into turbulent European waters, Bulls coach Jake White said the heavy defeat his team suffered at the hands of the Sharks in Durban this weekend was a valuable “learning curve” for his youngsters.

The second-string Bulls emerged from their Kings Park clash like up-country visitors battered by the Ballito breakers as they were on the wrong end of a 45-12 scoreline.

“After 25 minutes we were 31-5 down but we did not let them score again until the 74th minute when we only had 13 men on the field. It’s never nice to be on the wrong end of that sort of result but there was fighting sprit and we can build on that. The Sharks played really well and they created some really good tries with their catch-and-pass style. But it was almost their exact team from the Currie Cup final.

“We were a bit inexperienced and it was difficult weather. But if we’re not winning then we’re learning and I’m very chuffed with the way we came back, you’ve got to be proud of the effort and commitment. It could have been a 70-pointer, but we’ll take it as being all part of the learning curve for these guys. Overall I’m very happy with the preparation series,” White said.

So impressive was the Sharks’ handling in the sodden conditions of a Kings Park swamp in those opening stages that it seemed some voodoo must have been involved.

“I thought it was an outstanding first half-hour and then unfortunately things went a little awry. But they were very difficult conditions – humid and wet – and the guys were very brave with ball in hand. We wanted to play quickly, we moved the ball around and the skill level was very high. Our plan was to up the pace as much as we could.

“There’s a certain style of rugby we want to play and we counter-attacked really well. We did not play much in our own half, but it’s not all about kicking, it’s about getting the balance right and from turnover ball you have about a 10-second window to move the ball and we managed to move it so quickly. Our set-piece also did really well at the start,” a pleased Sharks coach Sean Everitt said.

Future of SA cricket obviously gloomy – Dien 0

Posted on April 30, 2020 by Ken

South African cricket was obviously already in troubled financial waters before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, but outgoing Cape Cobras chief executive Nabeal Dien on Wednesday gave a gloomy forecast for the future of the game over the next couple of years in this country.

Dien is retiring after being at the helm of cricket in the Western Cape since February 2015 and he admitted to some relief that it won’t be his responsibility to negotiate one of the biggest franchises in the country through the coming turmoil as the game looks to recover from their governance scandals as well as simply just trying to get back on to the field again.

“It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that Cricket South Africa was already in dire straits and already talking about making cuts, and all that will obviously be exacerbated due to the virus. The game will have to reinvent itself with the money and resources we have left. It’s going to take a collective effort for us to survive and remain competitive.

“If not much has changed by June/July then we run the risk of not playing at all for the rest of this year, only starting cricket again in January next year. I’m sure that there will then be a flood of members and suite-holders wanting to withdraw. And it would be a huge challenge to play without spectators because it costs money just to host a game and that revenue has to be offset from ticket sales.

“At the moment, CSA just gives us hosting fees, which isn’t enough to cover costs, so we supplement that with our 40% share of ticket sales. To now also have to pay for thermometers, sanitisers, washing of the stadium, will require a rethink. I think this whole situation is going to take away a lot from what it means for us to go and watch cricket,” Dien said on a conference call from Cape Town on Wednesday.

Dien also said he supported a new playing structure in which the 12 provinces would be divided into two pools with promotion/relegation. That would mean teams like Border and Northern Cape, who come from historically economically depressed areas, trying to compete on the same playing field as franchises like the Cobras, Lions and Titans, who come from the major city centres. Dien said he nevertheless expected them to be competitive.

“I unashamedly support going to 12 teams but it’s important to have an A and B Section with promotion/relegation, for the four-day and one-day cricket. I think this has been accepted as the way forward, the Members Council have agreed in principle, but with Covid-19 we don’t know if there will be further changes. The Mzansi Super League will continue but will be different, with the six local franchises plus two new teams based in Free State and Border.

“There’s always this debate around transformation and playing opportunities and having 12 teams will resolve that. It’s up to the affiliates to be competitive and there should be better rewards for the top six. Players will also gravitate towards the top six and the people who run the bottom six teams must do their work, especially in terms of younger players, they will need a vibrant academy system,” Dien said.

CSA announced at the end of March that the six franchises would still compete in 2020/21, playing in two groups, with four home-and-away matches in their own pool and three cross-pool matches, before a final between the two group winners.

Injury curse muddying the selection waters for Blue Bulls 0

Posted on August 11, 2016 by Ken


The injury curse is muddying the selection waters for Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais, with Ulrich Beyers returning from action in France and Italy in a reshuffled backline announced on Wednesday for Saturday’s Currie Cup clash against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Wing Jade Stiglingh’s excellent debut against Western Province last weekend was spoilt by an ankle injury that has put him out of action for six weeks, with the experienced Bjorn Basson shifting from fullback to replace the 23-year-old on the wing, where the Springbok has played most of his rugby.

That has forced Marais to turn to Beyers, a former Bulls player who left in 2014 to play for Bordeaux in France and Zebre in Italy.

Outside centre Dries Swanepoel has also strained a quad muscle in his thigh and will be replaced by Dan Kriel.

“Ulrich was here on a two-week trial because we were worried about fullback and centre cover if we got another injury. We are now in negotiations with him to lengthen his stay. Those will hopefully be completed in the next week,” high performance manager Xander Janse van Rensburg said.

“Dan Kriel has not had many opportunities, we thought he would be able to play against the Waratahs but then we lost against the Brumbies and couldn’t afford to rest guys. He’s practising well at the moment and now he gets the chance to show why he’s at the Bulls and where he is going. Guys like Franco Naude also want to play, so Dan must show what he can do this weekend and it will be a good challenge for him against Francois Venter,” Marais said.

The return of lock RG Snyman, one of the stars of the SuperRugby campaign, is the main feature of the new-look bench that the Blue Bulls will take to Bloemfontein.

The starting second row of Jason Jenkins and Marvin Orie were outstanding against Western Province and the presence of Snyman will just increase the physicality and ball-carrying ability of the Bulls.

Edgar Marutlulle, the former Lions and Southern Kings hooker, is in line to make his first appearance in the light blue jersey, while Martin Dreyer, the well-travelled former Hoerskool Wonderboom prop, replaces Nxoba Mxoli, who has a chest injury.

Joshua Stander is the reserve flyhalf for this weekend, replacing Tony Jantjies, while the highly-rated Duncan Matthews is the other new face on the bench.

Team: Ulrich Beyers, Bjorn Basson, Dan Kriel, Burger Odendaal, Jamba Ulengo, Tian Schoeman, Piet van Zyl, Arno Botha (c), Jannes Kirsten, Ruan Steenkamp, Marvin Orie, Jason Jenkins, Entienne Swanepoel, Jaco Visagie, Pierre Schoeman. Bench – Edgar Marutlulle, Martin Dreyer, RG Snyman, Hanro Liebenberg, Andre Warner, Joshua Stander, Duncan Matthews.


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