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Ken Borland



No-one dares think about what’s next in the SA batting aisle, but Jansen shows bowling depth 0

Posted on June 09, 2023 by Ken

While no-one dares to think about what’s next in South African cricket’s batting aisle, at least we know there is some bowling depth and left-arm paceman Marco Jansen has to be one of the most exciting prospects in world cricket.

The 22-year-old Jansen has taken 40 wickets in just eight Tests, at the great average of only 18.00. He has taken four wickets in an innings four times already. Add to that the promise he has shown with the bat – already averaging 18.36 – and he is clearly a superb package as a cricketer.

Which is why his Proteas team-mate Kagiso Rabada, already established as one of the great fast bowlers of the era, rates him so highly.

“Marco has that x-factor, he’s just a natural bowler, it looks like you could wake him up at 3am and he can do what he’s been doing,” Rabada said.

“He’s naturally gifted – he has pace and height, he can swing it, nip it and get bounce, and he’s a leftie. What more do you want?

“He’s also got the mindset for fast bowling. Not a lot of people really possess that, but he’s got it. Marco is a pretty rare, exciting prospect,” Rabada said.

Jansen possibly only played in the first Test against Australia in Brisbane because the Proteas were willing to sacrifice a batsman, and he certainly made the most of his guest starring appearance with three for 32.

On the opening day he claimed the wicket of the world’s number one ranked batsman, Marnus Labuschagne, caught in the slips off his first delivery; on the second morning he had both top-scorer Travis Head and the dangerous Cameron Green caught behind the wicket in the space of three deliveries just when the Proteas had handed control back to Australia with a messy start.

But Jansen could miss out on the second Test starting on Boxing Day in Melbourne simply because of the pressure that is on the tourists to strengthen their truant batting line-up. Rabada called for patience when it came to the Proteas batting.

“Our batting line-up is quite inexperienced, our whole team is if you look around at other teams in the world. Dean Elgar [80 caps] is the most experienced, followed by myself [56] and Temba Bavuma [52], everyone else does not have much experience,” Rabada pointed out.

“It can be frustrating as a team, but we need to understand that this is what happens in a rebuilding phase. When I debuted, I played with an outstanding line-up, greats of the game, which doesn’t happen that frequently.

“Our batsmen have the ability, they just need to get used to international cricket. There’s an element of patience that is needed, but I am not advocating bad performances. But we are still quite positive.

“It looked quite bad for the batsmen at the Gabba, the ball was doing absolute heaps. But we will never go down without a fight,” Rabada said.

SA make 311-7 as Wanderers pitch flat like Sharjah & then seaming & turning 0

Posted on March 08, 2023 by Ken

Tony de Zorzi was ruthless through square on the off-side.

The Wanderers pitch went through several character changes on Wednesday, the opening day of the second Test between South Africa and the West Indies: for much of the day it seemed as flat as one of those batting beauties in Sharjah, but it ended with medium-pacer Kyle Mayers toying with the batsmen with movement off the seam, while the pitch had also been spinning.

Through all that, having won an important toss and batted, the Proteas closed on 311 for seven. That solid total was built around an excellent display by the top-order, which took them to 247 for two at tea. The final session belonged to the West Indies as Mayers claimed two late wickets and the South African middle-order again faltered.

The opening hour, under overcast skies, saw the new ball move around, but the West Indies did not bowl particularly well and Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram’s positive approach saw them prosper.

As the skies cleared and the moisture burnt off, Elgar and Markram took control. They added 76 for the first wicket to go with their 141 on the first day of the first Test, and it was totally against the run of play when Elgar was dismissed for 42. It was a fluent rather than a fighting innings by the left-hander, coming off just 54 balls with seven fours.

Elgar’s propensity to get himself out in this series will worry him a little, and on Wednesday he swept a delivery down leg from left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie to short fine-leg diving forward.

The best batting of the day then followed as Markram, driving and pulling imperiously, and Tony de Zorzi, ruthless through square on the off-side, added 116 for the second wicket in a little more than an hour-and-a-half.

Markram was on the brink of a second successive century midway through the second session and was so dominant he probably felt he could get to three figures with some cute improvisation. Trying to scoop-sweep Motie, he did not connect properly and Jermaine Blackwood ran from slip to the leg-side to take the catch. Markram was out for 96 off only 139 deliveries, having struck 17 fours, another innings of undeniable class as the 28-year-old resurrects his Test career.

De Zorzi, the youngster of the batting line-up, batted for longer than anyone else on the first day: 219 minutes. He saw, and adapted to, all the challenges of the changing pitch. Having scored 85, he was in position to push for a maiden Test century in just his third innings, but Motie obtained some sharp turn to bowl the left-hander through the gate as he looked for an aggressive drive.

It was an innings that showcased defiant defence as well as some fine strokeplay, evidence that this former SA U19 captain has a game that is now maturing.

“Obviously it was a good opportunity to get a hundred, Dean and Aiden having given the innings a nice base,” De Zorzi said after the close of play. “So I was disappointed not to get over the line, I just tried to be too greedy against that particular ball.

“The pitch did change through the day, it was a bit soft in the morning because of the moisture, but after lunch it was harder because of the sun and a bit quicker, and the nicks started carrying. There was also a bit of turn.

“From my SA U19 days, a lot has changed. I may have been the captain but I was not the star of that side and I went back to club cricket afterwards. It’s been a long process and I’ve done a lot of dirty work to get there. Things are starting to happen and I’m just really happy to be here,” De Zorzi said.

From 247 for two, the rest of the day became a bit like hard admin for the Proteas. Temba Bavuma (28) notched the third successive fifty partnership as he put on 56 for the third wicket with De Zorzi.

But Bavuma then suffered a misjudgement, shouldering arms to a Jason Holder delivery that pitched on the large bare patch at the Golf Course End and was trapped lbw.

Ryan Rickelton scored 22 but then tried to cut an Alzarri Joseph delivery that he should have left with the second new ball imminent.

Then Mayers returned to produce two beautiful deliveries and two late wickets that left the West Indies feeling good about the last session in which they claimed five wickets for 64 runs in 27.2 overs.

Wiaan Mulder (12) was bowled through the gate by a ball that zipped back into him, while Simon Harmer (1) received a wobble-seam delivery that nipped away just enough to find his edge and have him caught behind for a single, off what became the last ball of the day.

Heinrich Klaasen will be batting with the tail on Thursday morning, having reached 17 not out.

Brevis all the rage; critics all up in arms about Bavuma 0

Posted on January 30, 2023 by Ken

Five days ago, Dewald Brevis was all the rage as the most exciting T20 talent anyone had ever seen, while Temba Bavuma’s continued presence at the top of the order for South Africa at the T20 World Cup had people all up in arms, many of them enraged, judging by social media comments.

This weekend, however, Brevis will open the batting for the Northerns Titans in the CSA T20 Challenge final with his mortality exposed, having looked all at sea against the sheer pace of Free State Knights fast bowler Gerald Coetzee in their semi-final.

Bavuma will open the batting for the Proteas in the early hours of Sunday morning against the Netherlands, some confidence renewed after it all finally clicked against the powerful Pakistan pace attack and he struck a commanding 36 off just 19 balls.

‘All’ the Proteas have to do is beat the Netherlands and they will be in the semi-finals, and all true South African fans will be hoping the skipper builds on the promise of his previous innings.

How quickly things can change in cricket is one of the prime attractions of the game; the vacillating fortunes are why players are always entreated to mine a good run of form for as long as they can.

If someone asks me for my list of the top-10 T20 innings I have seen, then Brevis’s outrageous, record-breaking 162 off 57 balls is on mine.

Coming from someone whose talent has already had people shouting from the rooftops, it was understandable that the innings was greeted with a wave of public opinion that the 19-year-old should be rushed straight into the Proteas team.

But we need to be careful not to extrapolate too much from one innings. When Dave Callaghan blasted 169 not out off just 143 balls, an incredible scoring rate back in 1994, for South Africa against New Zealand at Centurion, he looked a world beater and it was also one of the best innings I have seen.

But as good a cricketer as Callaghan was, the innings proved to be a once-off and his next highest score in 24 other ODI innings was just 45 not out.

On October 31, Brevis knocked two sixes and three fours off Coetzee as he scored 29 runs off 13 balls against the highly-rated 22-year-old. Coetzee eventually had his nemesis caught on the boundary in the final over.

On November 2, this time given the new ball against Brevis, Coetzee, pride hurt, was on fire. He came roaring in and bowled fast and aggressively at a batsman two-and-a-half years his junior. He ruffled him up with short-pitched bowling, struck him on the gloves and this time Brevis could only score five runs from the 10 balls he faced from the St Andrew’s Bloemfontein product on the same pitch.

Brevis surely has the talent to sort all this out, of course, but the cautionary lesson is that he is still just a 19-year-old with just one season of experience playing with men. He spoke with maturity about the journey he has to travel after his 162, and the precocious potential he undoubtedly possesses needs to be carefully managed by the national selectors.

The selectors have certainly taken a lot of flak for persisting with Bavuma at the top of the Proteas batting order, but there were many glimpses of the reasons why against Pakistan: the crisp strokeplay, the ability to hit boundaries in the powerplay with ‘proper’ cricket shots and his brilliant handling of the short ball.

The jury is still out, of course, on Bavuma’s long-term future as an international T20 batsman, but the graph has now taken a little up-turn back in the right direction.

While Korb puts finishing touches to brilliant winning 63, Strydom feels cruel side of golf 0

Posted on December 02, 2022 by Ken

CAPE ST FRANCIS, Eastern Cape – Golf can be a terribly cruel game at times and while leader Ockie Strydom was busy racking up a quadruple-bogey eight at the par-four 11th hole, Ruan Korb was putting the finishing touches to his brilliant round of 63 by sinking yet another birdie putt on the final hole of the Vodacom Origins of Golf St Francis Links tournament on Saturday.

Korb’s third successive birdie, to go with two-in-a-row on the 12th and 13th holes, saw him go an astonishing nine-under-par in the final round, leaving him on 13-under-par for the tournament.

Strydom had been on 15-under before the awful shock of his snowman on the 11th, and although he did well to not totally disintegrate, he could only par his way through to the close, settling for a level-par 72 after being four-under at the turn.

That left the 37-year-old in second place on 11-under, two behind Korb. Scottish veteran Doug McGuigan also challenged for the title, but bogeyed the last two holes when pushing for birdies to tie Korb, the 52-year-old closing with a 71 that left him on nine-under and in third place for the tournament.

The 28-year-old Korb admitted that it was just one of those idyllic days when every putt he looked at, he seemed to sink.

“I really enjoyed myself out there today, the weather was better and my putting was definitely the main reason for my win, every putt just seemed to find the bottom of the cup,” Korb said.

“My putting was certainly much better than when I finished second in the SunBet Challenge Time Square in August.”

The Silver Lakes golfer, who had begun the final round seven shots off the pace, had picked up decent momentum on the front nine with three birdies and a bogey in his first four holes, but he really began pushing for the title with a brilliant run that saw him eagle the par-five sixth and then pick up shots at the next two holes.

He was now 10-under for the tournament and in striking distance, but his charge was reversed as he had a 15-minute delay at the ninth tee while the group in front searched for balls. Korb lost concentration and bogeyed both nine and 10.

“I said before the round that if I could get to 14-under then I would have a chance, but waiting on the ninth was a bit of a momentum-breaker,” Korb said.

“But after those two bogeys I just tried to get calm and said to my caddie that we have to do something now otherwise the win is going to get away from us.”

Knowing he had to be positive, Korb birdied both the par-four 12th and the par-five 13th into the westerly wind, and then, with holes 16 and 17 heading in the opposite direction, he took advantage with two more birdies.

The three on the par-four 18th was the icing on the cake for his second Sunshine Tour victory, his first coming at the Time Square Casino Challenge at Wingate Park Country Club in 2020.

“It’s a big confidence-booster to win at this time of year, with the big summer events coming up,” Korb said.

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    Don’t be so busy – even working for God – that you don’t have regular quiet time. Don’t let your activities become more important than your time with the Father. You can be alive ‘for’ God without experiencing the presence and power of the living Christ.

    “Attempting to serve the Lord without the strength of the Holy Spirit results in frustration and ultimate disaster.

    “If your vision of him grows dim, your service will become powerless and ineffective. This will happen if your spiritual reserves are not regularly replenished through prayer and meditation.

    “You must put him first in all your activities. Your service for him must be the result of your intimate knowledge of him. Only when he enjoys priority in all things, can you understand life from his perspective. Putting Christ first in your life and work makes you a more capable servant of God.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech



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