for quality writing

Ken Borland



WP bemused by Mkhize as Lions attack superbly disciplined 0

Posted on June 19, 2024 by Ken

The powerful Western Province batting line-up was bemused by the left-arm seam of Relebohile Mkhize as she led the DP World Lions to a vital victory in their one-day match at Newlands last weekend, while the attack as a whole was superbly disciplined as our Pride did the double in Cape Town by also winning the T20 game.

Mkhize took three for 32 in eight overs as she ripped through the World Sports Betting Western Province middle-order, the DP World Lions bowling the home side out for 188 as they successfully defended their total of 228. Mkhize claimed the key wickets of Proteas Faye Tunnicliffe, bowled first ball by a beauty that swung in late from over the wicket, and Delmi Tucker (10), trapped lbw by a similar delivery, while she also bowled Tatum le Roux, who provided the last bit of resistance with 37 off 45 balls.

The victory for the #PrideOfJozi sets up a title decider on April 13 with the Dolphins at the DP World Wanderers Stadium. If the Lions beat the KwaZulu-Natalians with a bonus point then they will finish tied with them at the top of the log with 29 points; but the Central Gauteng team could then take the title based on number of wins or nett run-rate.

The DP World Lions total was built around the solid platform laid by opener Nonkululeko Thabethe, whose 56 off 89 balls ensured there would be freedom to score quickly for those who followed. Jenna Evans went wild in the closing overs with some daring shots taking her to 44 off 52 deliveries, while Madison Landsman struck a brisk 52 off 65 balls.

The DP World Lions bowling was exceptional as a unit in the T20 match, bowling just one wide in the Western Province innings as the hosts were restricted to 127 for six to lose by 17 runs. Like a liposuction machine that sucks up off the fat lying around, there was just nothing loose for the WP batters to make use of, no easy runs given away.

Seamers Lehlohonolo Meso (4-0-24-1) and Mkhize (4-0-25-1) were both extremely difficult to get away, while spinner Sarah Nettleton (4-0-21-2) bowled both Proteas openers Lara Goodall (5), with a superb delivery that was angled in and then spun away sharply from the left-hander to hit off-stump, and Tunnicliffe (11). The other spinners, Jenna Evans (3-0-17-1) and captain Kgomotso Rapoo (4-0-25-0) supported well.

Electing to bat first, after a solid run-a-ball start by Palesa Mapoo (20) and Landsman (19), the DP World Lions lost four wickets in successive overs to slip to 49 for four at the halfway mark. But doctor Kirstie Thomson had the right medicine, using her considerable experience to stabilise the innings and form a partnership with Thabethe.

By the end of their unbeaten 95-run stand, they were really dishing out the treatment to the WP bowlers, lifting our Pride to 144 for four.

Thomson finished with a fine 55 not out off 42 balls, while Thabethe struck a punishing 41 not out off only 27 deliveries.

Donald says weekend games are massive to make Wanderers a fortress 0

Posted on June 06, 2024 by Ken

A triumph on the road is always a boost, but what you gain from winning at home and making the DP World Wanderers Stadium a fortress for the #PrideOfJozi is probably even more important, given the length of the CSA T20 Challenge.

So says DP World Lions men’s bowling coach and South African cricket legend Allan Donald, whose own career was linked so massively with the Bullring.

The DP World Lions may have gone down by four wickets in the last over to the Dolphins at Kingsmead in midweek for the first loss of our campaign, but Donald preferred to give credit to the opposition rather than worry about a rare off night for the team in one of the most difficult places in the country for visiting teams.

As such, our Pride, and Donald especially, are really keyed up for two massive home games coming up this weekend, against the Momentum Multiply Titans on Friday evening and the in-form World Sports Betting Western Province team on Sunday afternoon.

“It looked a beautiful pitch in Durban, absolute gun for batting, but then it nipped a little and it was tough to hit down the ground. The Dolphins bowled exceptionally well to use that bit of nip, and for us to get to 155 I thought was really good,” Donald said.

“We took two early wickets but then Bryce Parsons played magnificently and he had really good support at the end, he took his chances against spin. And yet we still managed to take it to the last over against a side that knows how to play there, it’s a tough place, and all credit to them because they were zero-for-two in the competition.

“But this competition is a marathon and you need to be very patient. Now we have two derbies against the Titans and Western Province that are always very closely-contested, and I think they are going to be two absolute crackers based on the pitch we had against the Rocks.

“We’re coming up against two quality teams and home games are massive. I expect a run-fest and whoever defends best will win. It will be a battle of inches and the bravery and execution and skill of the players is going to be tested to the limit,” Donald said.

Rickelton took advantage of an excellent wicket in the DP World Lions’ opening match against Boland to blaze his way to 75 off 39 balls, and his clean striking will again be a key factor at the Wanderers on Friday and Sunday.

But it is a revitalised Temba Bavuma who is top of the national averages after his fluent 53 not out off 40 balls against the Dolphins kept the Pride in the game. Rassie van der Dussen and Reeza Hendricks have also made good runs in the T20 campaign already and Mitchell van Buuren showed his progression in the shortest format in the SA20.

“Temba batted exceptionally well on a slow pitch and Mitchell was batting beautifully too. Winning at home is a massive deal and I’m sure all those guys are going to step up,” Donald said.

With batsmen expected to hold sway, it is perhaps the wicket-taking ability of the attacks that will be vital in stemming the flow of runs. For the DP World Lions, there can be no-one better than the graceful Kagiso Rabada, with the action as smooth as silk but delivering lethal weapons, to lead their attack.

Left-arm quick Kwena Maphaka will be alongside him again and the 17-year-old has made an incredibly smooth transition to senior domestic cricket.

“It’s so nice to see the national team players like KG turning out for us, it really gives the team a boost and they bring a lot of calmness,” Donald said. “And the more I watch Kwena, the more I realise he is just something else. He’s only 17 years old but he’s not scared, he doesn’t take a backwards step.

“It’s going to be great to see how he does and it’s going to be a wonderful festival at the DP World Wanderers this weekend. It won’t be easy to defend, we’ll have to be extremely smart and decision-making is going to come to the fore. When things are really tight, which is likely against two very good teams, that’s when you need to be on the money,” Donald said.

Like snogging a slobber-mouthed dog as Titans set up for win while title slips away 0

Posted on March 14, 2023 by Ken

Young JP King shone with the bat for North-West.

If a tie is like kissing your sister then winning your last game but seeing your trophy hopes disappear could be like snogging a slobber-mouthed dog. The Northerns Titans maybe felt a bit like that as they set themselves up for a comfortable victory over the North-West Dragons at Centurion, but had to accept that they can no longer win the first-class competition.

The KZN Dolphins have assured themselves of the CSA 4-Day Series title and R1.5 million in prizemoney, even if they lose to the Central Gauteng Lions in Potchefstroom, because the 8.58 bonus points they gathered in the first innings push their tally to 118.04, which none of the other teams can overtake.

The Titans also face a battle for second place and the R750 000 prizemoney because if the Eastern Province Warriors bowl Western Province, currently 129 for three, out for less than 339 on Wednesday then they will pip Northerns by 0.5 of a point. There is no prizemoney for finishing third.

Northerns made heavy weather of bowling North-West out for 360 on Tuesday, letting catches slip and bowling messily. That left them with a potentially awkward target of 190 for victory, but openers Neil Brand and Modiri Litheko did a great job of lifting spirits in the home changeroom with a dashing unbeaten stand of 53 before stumps.

The Titans were probably eyeing the spoils of victory before tea when they claimed three early wickets on the third morning to reduce North-West to 90 for four, still 81 behind.

But Senuran Muthusamy and JP King took advantage of the crisis to prove their mettle. Muthusamy showed why new Test coach Shukri Conrad rates him so highly as he made a determined 62 to go with the six wickets he took in the Northerns first innings, while King, playing just his second game at Division I level, defied the Titans for four hours.

King eventually fell to the natural away-swing of Matthew Boast with the second new ball, but his 92 was a great effort, and the 10 fours and a six he struck showed he has the strokes to go with the determination.

Once Muthusamy was dismissed though, bowled by an excellent yorker from Boast, to leave North-West on 207 for five, just 36 ahead, there was a general laxity to the Titans performance. Perhaps the news had reached them that they were no longer playing for the title, but one would hope a R750 000 prize would still be motivation enough.

The Dragons tail wagged with enthusiasm in response and they added another 153 runs to give themselves a chance of winning their first four-day match this season. Duan Jansen was again an obstacle with 30 and then Juan James, the concussion substitute for Khaya Cotani, who was struck on the head first ball by Junior Dala, lashed 37 off 35 balls and put on 39 for the ninth wicket with Lwandiswa Zuma (15).

Boast was the best of the Northerns bowlers, finishing with three for 62 in 19 overs.

The Titans would have been unhappy with having let North-West come back into the match, but Brand was solid as ever at the top of the order as he reached 17 not out at stumps, while Litheko was in a rush, racing to 29 not out as he banished the memory of scoring just four runs in his last three innings.

Lions guts

The Central Gauteng Lions showed plenty of guts on Tuesday as they fought back superbly on the third day of their CSA 4-Day Series match against the KZN Dolphins in Potchefstroom.

The Dolphins had been calling the tune until Tuesday as they scored 329 and then reduced the Lions to 171 for eight. But the Central Gauteng team began their fightback with some brilliant resistance with the bat, led by Malusi Siboto.

Coming to the wicket at a difficult 128 for six, Siboto was involved in important partnerships of 27 with Connor Esterhuizen (36), 16 with Lutho Sipamla (12) and 26 with Codi Yusuf (14). But at 197 for nine, the Lions still faced a deficit of 132.

But Siboto and 19-year-old Liam Alder, making his first-class debut, then added a defiant 62 for the last wicket, making the trophy-hunting Dolphins really fight for the final wicket.

Siboto ended with a marvellous 54 not out off 167 balls, while Alder eventually fell for 23 off 63 deliveries. The last pair had crucially reduced the Lions’ first-innings deficit to just 70.

The bowlers then did a great job maintaining the comeback vibe for the Lions with Siboto having both Tshepang Dithole and Keegan Petersen caught behind, and spinner Alder claiming the wicket of first-innings top-scorer Marques Ackerman for just 10 as the Dolphins slipped to 68 for four.

Khaya Zondo (65) and Jason Smith (59) then added 111 for the fifth wicket, but Evan Jones then showed some proper skills with the old ball as he ripped through the lower-order, taking five for 46 as the Dolphins crashed from 179 for four to 222 all out.

Set a target of 293 for victory, the Lions were in good condition at stumps as they reached 64 for one.

Thando Ntini drew first blood when Josh Richards was unfortunate to be adjudged lbw for just 2, but instead of venting his spleen, captain Dominic Hendricks went about setting a solid foundation with his 32 not out.

Kagiso Rapulana also looked adept at the crease as he went to 30 not out, he and Hendricks adding 49 as the Lions went to stumps on 64 for one.

Needing another 229 runs to win, the Lions have certainly impressed with the way they have stayed professional right until the final day of the season, even though they can no longer win the four-day title, the Dolphins having accrued too many bonus points in the first innings to be overtaken.

Newlands

The Eastern Province Warriors are pushing hard for second place as they set Western Province a target of 339 to win at Newlands, the home side reaching 129 for three at stumps.

Glenton Stuurman had Jonathan Bird caught behind for 5 early on, and then returned to claim the key wicket of Zubayr Hamza, bowling him for 51.

Stuurman had earlier top-scored for the Warriors with his 38 lifting them to 184 all out. Left-arm spinner George Linde was the destroyer-in-chief for Western Province, taking three for 25 in 13 overs.

Knights hammer Rocks

The final round’s other game has already been completed with the relegated Free State Knights hammering the Boland Rocks by nine wickets.

Despite a second-wicket partnership of 146 between Pieter Malan (86) and Clyde Fortuin (133), Boland were bowled out for 319 with 23-year-old slow left-armer Monde Maqunqu taking six for 82 in 26.4 overs.

Thanks to his efforts, the Knights were left needing just 39 for victory, with Pite van Biljon and Raynard van Tonder scoring those runs in half-a-dozen overs.

A 50% winning record that hit all the targets 0

Posted on March 14, 2023 by Ken

It is not often that one can say a tour of Europe with a 50% winning record is a resounding success, but it is a fair evaluation that the Springboks have ended up hitting their targets for 2022.

It was after the Rugby Championship that I wrote a column saying we still did not know whether the Springboks would be genuine World Cup contenders next year as they were simply not clinical nor ruthless enough in finishing second to the All Blacks in a southern hemisphere competition that is no longer the gold standard for the global game.

There also did not seem to be much growth to their game and I ended with the hope that they would express themselves more in Europe.

It is with delight that I can now write that the Springboks have answered my questions in the affirmative.

That is despite losing to both Ireland and France. But both those defeats were by desperately narrow margins and it is fair to say that Ireland would have been beaten if South Africa had fielded a proper goalkicker, and France would surely have been seen off if Pieter-Steph du Toit had not received his unfortunate red card.

The Springboks played superbly in Marseille to dominate the World Cup favourites, and it was great to see the same ambition bear fruit the following weekend when they hammered Italy.

Last weekend’s win over England at Fortress Twickenham must rank somewhere on the hit parade of top Springbok wins, such was the all-round quality and sheer authority of their performance.

While the Springboks’ strength still undoubtedly lies in their magnificent pack – how incredible were they in the scrums? – perhaps the biggest surprise was the wonderful attacking intent shown by a backline missing their chief offensive organiser in Lukhanyo Am and playing with a relatively new, untested flyhalf in Damian Willemse.

While opposition teams might find a way to get around the physicality, defensive steel and aerial prowess of the Springboks, having that extra string to their bow in terms of the brilliant counter-attacking ability they have shown, makes them very tough to beat.

The Springboks now seem able to not only strangle or batter their opposition into submission, but also make the sharpest, most precise of surgical incisions into the heart.

Jacques Nienaber has done all this while still ensuring that he now has quality cover in all positions.

Perhaps the only negative from the end-of-year tour was the director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus, copping another ban for attacking the officiating at international level.

The Springboks’ relationship with the referees is at the lowest ebb since the dark days of the early 2000s, when they had a reputation for being the dirtiest, most ill-disciplined team in the game.

When Jake White took over the coaching reins in 2004, he knew the Springboks could only start getting fair treatment from the referees if they fixed that perception. The World Cup would never have been won in 2007 were it not for the hard work captain John Smit put in to win the referees over. Nowadays, charming the referee is considered one of the staple jobs of the captain.

The smart-arse in Erasmus may be entertaining the social media hordes and he is probably enjoying the cult status he is growing there. But the continual haranguing of the referees is hurting his team.

The saying goes that nobody ever ended a war by lifting up a sword. The talk of there being a conspiracy against the Springboks may or may not be justified, but railing against the officials is only going to make it worse.

As director of rugby, Erasmus needs to put personal desires aside and make sure the Springboks take the high road. The World Cup defence could depend on it.

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    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.



↑ Top