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Posted on: Wednesday, 10 February 2010

South African Sports News – 10 February

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Dale Steyn

Dale Steyn

Proteas crush India in just four days
India made a valiant effort to stave off an innings defeat against South Africa in the first test at Jamtha Stadium in Nagpur yesterday, but in the end it was to no avail as they crashed to an innings-and-six run defeat. The Proteas’ win was set up by a mammoth 340-run third wicket, first innings partnership between Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis, which knocked the stuffing out of the home side.

Amla eventually carried his bat through the innings to finish on a brilliant 253 not out, which came off 473 balls and included 22 fours. Kallis weighed in with 173 runs (15 fours and two sixes) off 351 deliveries although he must have been disappointed at not going on to score that elusive double ton. There were also useful contributions from AB de Villiers (53) and Mark Boucher (39) to help the Proteas to 558/6 declared off 176 overs …

If India were hoping the South African bowlers would be unable to match the performance of their batsmen, they were sorely mistaken as Dale Steyn (pictured) cut a swathe through the ranks of their batsmen to finish with a personal best test innings wicket haul of 7/51. Virender Sehwag top scored for the home side with 109 (15 fours) off 139 balls and Subramaniam Badrinath contributed 56, but the rest of the home side’s batsmen had no answer to Steyn’s destructive combination of blistering pace and bewildering swing as they crashed to 233 all out in just 64.4 overs.

Trailing by 325 runs on the first innings India faced the daunting task of having to bat for the rest of the match to salvage a draw, and were doing rather well on 192/4 until Sachin Tendulkar was bowled by left arm spinner Paul Harris for a well played 100 (13 fours) off 179 balls. The Indian cricket legend’s departure heralded the beginning of the end for his side as they lost their remaining five wickets for just 127 runs to finish on 319 all out. Harris bowled exceptionally well and was rewarded with 3/76 off 38 overs to go with his 1/39 off 17 overs in the first innings.

The lanky Harris was considered fortunate to keep his place in the Proteas’ test line up after a string of mediocre performances in the recent home series against England. However, a match analysis of 4/115 off 55 overs speaks for itself as Harris proved the perfect foil for Steyn and the other Proteas’ speedsters. In the end it was a fantastic and memorable victory for the Proteas who thoroughly outplayed their opponents in all facets of the game.

Caretaker coach Corrie van Zyl will be over the moon after his side’s convincing victory and will hoping the Proteas can keep up their winning ways when they face India in the second test at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday.

Scores in brief
South Africa: 558/6 declared
India: 233 and 319
Result: South Africa won by an innings and six runs.

Rayno Benjamin

Rayno Benjamin

Blitsbokke lose their way again
The Springbok Sevens team lost their third consecutive IRB Sevens Plate final when they were beaten 26-22 by Australia in the Wellington Sevens on Saturday. This was the second time in three tournaments that the Blitsbokke have lost to Australia in a Plate final and they also had to endure the misfortune of being beaten in a Cup quarter-final again by Fiji, the third consecutive occasion that this has happened in as many tournaments.

Fiji went on to win the tournament, beating Samoa 19-14 in the final after dispatching England in the semis. Samoa earned the right to face the Fijians after surprising New Zealand in their semi-final.  The victory propelled Fiji to within four points of series leaders New Zealand who won the first two rounds in Dubai and George before losing to Samoa in the Wellington semis. Samoa now move up to third place ahead of England.

Blitsbokke coach Paul Treu made four changes to the squad that went to George, enlisting the services of a number of young players, but could only hold his head in disbelief as his senior players threw away a 17-0 lead to lose the game in the second half in the Plate final.  After an opening try by Chase Minnaar, Rayno Benjamin (pictured) made it 12-0 when he intercepted a reckless pass to dot down for the Blitsbokke.

Australia quickly replied with tries from James Stannard and Bernard Foley, but then with the game evenly balanced, a missed tackle by debutant Hoffman Maritz allowed Kimami Situati in for a try to put the Aussies in front.  Captain Mzwandile Stick brought the Boks back into the lead with a clever chip and chase, but the Blitsbokke’s lack of pace was badly exposed as the Aussies kicked ahead and Clinton Sills easily out sprinted Benjamin in the chase to clinch the victory for his side.

Earlier, the Blitsbokke repeated their performances in Dubai and George, doing all the hard work against Fiji, but obtaining scant reward to lose 21-5 and bow out of the Cup competition. The fourth round of the IRB Sevens series will be played in Las Vegas this weekend.

Juan Smith

Juan Smith

Bulls begin Super 14 defence against Cheetahs
The Bulls begin the defence of their Super 14 championship when they take on the Cheetahs at Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein on Friday evening in what is likely to be a fierce encounter with no quarter asked or given. The Bulls won last year’s Super 14 final with a 61–17 thrashing of the Waikato Chiefs and will be looking to repeat their success this year although it will take same doing in an extremely arduous competition that stretches over four long months.

Cheetahs captain Juan Smith (pictured) believes his team have a good chance of pulling off a win if they can neutralise Bulls and Springbok flyhalf Morné Steyn by denying him penalty opportunities. “You have to concede as few penalties as possible against Morné. You have to try and play the rugby in their half as Morné will hurt you with three points from anywhere within your half,” said Smith.

The Cheetahs captain was part of the Springbok team when Steyn secured the series against the British and Irish Lions with a penalty for the Boks at Loftus Versfeld last year. His success for the Springboks aside, Steyn’s deadly accurate goal kicking also played a big part in the Bulls’ success in last year’s Super 14 campaign. The 25-year-old kicking machine was the leading points-scorer with 191 at the end of the series and also slotted incredible 11 drop goals for good measure.

Smith believes it’s crucial for the Cheetahs to begin the Super 14 season on a positive note, which makes it all the more important for Steyn to be kept under control. “It’s a long season awaiting us, but a good start makes it feel shorter,” he said. Referee Jonathan Kaplan’s interpretation at the breakdowns and how the Cheetahs’ play at the breakdown will also help determine how many goal- kicking opportunities Steyn receives. Smith realises that the Cheetahs have a huge task ahead of them in their opening game of the season, but adds that he and his teammates would not have it any other way. “We could not have asked for a bigger challenge at the start of the tournament. To play against the Super 14 champions first up is huge,” explained Smith. Kick off at Vodacom Park is at 7.10pm.

Other fixtures (South African teams in bold)
Blues vs Hurricanes – Auckland – 8.35pm
Western Force vs Brumbies – Perth – 1.05pm

Crusaders vs Highlanders – Christchurch – 8.35pm
Reds vs Waratahs – Brisbane – 10.40am
Lions vs Stormers – Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg – 5.05pm
Sharks vs Chiefs – The Absa Stadium, Durban – 7.10pm

Sibusiso Khumalo

Sibusiso Khumalo

Celtic and Swallows fight to a draw
The Absa Premiership is rapidly drawing to a close with all league fixtures set to be completed by Saturday, February 20. At this late stage it seems like a toss up between log leaders SuperSport United and second placed Mamelodi Sundowns as to who will walk away with this year’s championship laurels. Both teams have had a very successful season and continued on their winning ways this past weekend with victories over Ajax Cape Town and struggling Free State Stars.

SuperSport downed Ajax 2-0 at the Super Stadium in Atteridgeville on Saturday evening courtesy of goals from Dario Monteiro and Daine Klate, while Sundowns defeated Stars 1-0 thanks to a goal from Lebo Mokoena. United then made it two wins out of two games in the space of four days when they defeated fourth paced Santos 2-1 at the Athlone Stadium last night. However, top teams aside, the pick of the weekend’s games could well have been the hard fought clash between seventh placed Bloemfontein Celtic and eighth placed Moroka Swallows on Sunday afternoon.

A first-half goal from Sibusiso Khumalo (pictured) and a well-placed header by Patric Malokase in the second half saw both teams share the spoils at the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium. The opening half saw the Birds enjoy the majority of possession, with their birthday boy and captain, Lefa Tsutsulupa, dominating proceedings in the middle of the pitch. Khumalo, too, proved a danger in the midfield, causing a lot of problems for the Celtic defence with his speed and shoot-on-sight philosophy.

The first attempt on goal came after just four minutes when Khumalo unleashed a tremendously powerful shot from 30 yards out that just singed the wrong side of the post. Thereafter Swallows continued to apply pressure on their opponents and were rewarded for their efforts after 24 minutes when Khumalo scored a magnificent goal from the left edge of the 18-yard box. Goalkeeper Patric Tignyemb remain rooted to the spot as the ball curled past him to land in the top right hand corner of the net, putting Swallows 1-0 to the good.

Celtic battled to create any decent chances in the first half and goalkeeper Greg Etafia was only tested in the 40th minute when Prince Olomu uncorked a shot from outside the 18-yard area. However, Etafia made the save with ease and Celtic were still goalless when the referee sounded his whistle to signal the end of the opening 45 minutes. When play resumed after the interval, Celtic made more of an effort to get back into the match and began to apply considerable pressure on their opponents.

Etafia was called upon to make a magnificent save in the 64th minute that prevented Celtic from equalising. Substitute, Patrick Malokase powered down the right flank and fired in a perfect cross to Tlou Segolela inside the box, but Segolela’s well-directed header was superbly saved by the outstretched hand of the keeper. Etafia, however, could do nothing to stop Malokase from scoring nine minutes later. On this occasion Malokase benefited from another excellent cross as he climbed above the Birds’ defence to head his side level. Both teams tried hard to net a winner after that, but in the end neither side could break the deadlock as the game ended in 1-1 draw.

Last Wednesday
Free State Stars 3 Santos 3
Mamelodi Sundowns 0 Bloem Celtic     0
Black Aces 1 Bidvest Wits 1
Orlando Pirates 0 SuperSport United 0
Over the weekend
Bidvest Wits 0 Orlando Pirates 0
Platinum Stars 1 Santos 0
Kaizer Chiefs 2 Jomo Cosmos     2
SuperSport United 2 Free State Stars 0
Maritzburg United 1 Golden Arrows    0
AmaZulu 0 Black Aces 0
Bloemfontein Celtic 1 Moroka Swallows 1
Ajax Cape Town 0 Mamelodi Sundowns 1
Santos 1  SuperSport United 2
Golden Arrows 0 Kaizer Chiefs 0

Lebo Mokoena

Lebo Mokoena

Sundowns eager to continue good form against Stars
It’s business as usual in the PSL this week with another round of fixtures taking place all over the country. The pick of today’s games is likely to be the encounter between second placed Mamelodi Sundowns and ninth placed Platinum Stars at the Super Stadium this evening.

Sundowns are enjoying an excellent campaign in the PSL this season and are expected to get the better of Stars who haven’t had the best of seasons despite recording some good results. However, these good results have been interspersed with some poor ones, which has left Stars out of contention for championship honours this season. Nevertheless, they will looking to cause an upset against their more fancied opponents and cannot be underestimated.

Weekend action pits Stars against draw specialists Free State Stars and Sundowns against always the dangerous Santos. Sundowns striker Lebo Mokoena (pictured) will be looking to continue his goal scoring form in what should be a titanic tussle at the Super Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Free State Stars vs Bidvest Wits – Goble Park: 3.30pm
Mamelodi Sundowns vs Platinum Stars – Super Stadium: 7.30pm
Black Aces vs Maritzburg Utd – Puma Rugby Stadium: 7.30pm
Jomo Cosmos vs Bloem Celtic – Rand Stadium: 7.30pm
Moroka Swallows vs Ajax Cape Town – Dobsonville Stadium: 8.00pm
Orlando Pirates vs AmaZulu – Orlando Stadium: 8.00pm

Platinum Stars vs Free State Stars – Moruleng Stadium: 3.30pm

Mamelodi Sundowns vs Santos – Super Stadium: 3.30pm

Gulam Bodi

Gulam Bodi

‘Rock Star’ cricket competition thrills crowds
The 2009/10 Standard Bank Pro20 Series competition has provided plenty of excitement thus far this season and although this shorter version of the ‘gentleman’s game’ might not appeal to the purists it certainly has proved to be a big hit with fans. From the players’ bright attire, to the attractive dancing girls, booming music and the increasing popular ‘dunking pools’ the competition bears little resemblance to the rather dour first class format of the game. However, the marketing guru’s have been right on the money here and the crowds have been flocking in to experience the ‘thrill a minute’ action first hand.

That action was evident for all and sundry to see on Sunday afternoon when the Nashua Titans turned back the challenge of the Nashua Cape Cobras to prevail by 17 runs (D/L method) at SuperSport Park in Centurion. Gulam Bodi (pictured) stood out like a shining star for the Titans with a brilliant career-best 88 not out to steer his side to an imposing 139/1 in a match that had been reduced to 12 overs due to a severe thunderstorm. Bodi and fellow opener Blake Snijman produced 70 runs for the first wicket with Bodi then adding a further 66 for the second with Faf du Plessis who made 18 not out.

In response, the Cobras made a determined push for victory, especially with Herschelle Gibbs at the crease. Although the veteran batsmen clearly wasn’t firing on all cylinders he still looked like taking the game away from Titans with some enterprising stroke play. However, when he fell to a brilliant catch by Albie Morkel for 48, it was always going to be a struggle for the Cobras to pull the ‘fat out of the fire’ and so it proved as the accurate Titans’ attack managed to pick up wickets at regular intervals to leave the Cobras well short of their victory target on 122/6. The Titans’ victory was built largely on the efforts of Bodi who dispatched the Cobras’ attack to all corners of the park with ruthless efficiency. The left-hander was especially brutal to seamers Charl Langeveldt, who conceded a massive 45 runs off just three overs, and Vernon Philander who shed 24 off two.

For the Cobras, only left-arm spinner Robin Peterson achieved any success with the ball, when he trapped Snijman leg-before for 27. The Cobras made a poor start to their innings when opener Andrew Puttick was caught and bowled by seamer Basheer Walters for nine and the trend continued as the Cape franchise lost wickets at regular intervals with only Gibbs and Justin Kemp (20 not out) providing any resistance.

Walters had a good outing with the ball grabbing 2/30 off three overs with Morkel (2/22 off two overs), Pierre Joubert (1/19 off three overs) and Roelof van der Merwe (1/15 off two overs) also getting amongst the wickets. Joubert won the Master Blaster bowling award for his tidy spell as well as the vital wicket of the always-dangerous Gibbs.

Scores in brief
Titans: 136/1
Cobras: 122/6
Result: Titans won by 17 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis (D/L) method.

Other results
Cobras beat the bizhub Highveld Lions by 42 runs.
Chevrolet Warriors beat the Diamond Eagles by 3 runs.
Nashua Dolphins beat the Warriors by 23 runs.

Upcoming fixtures
Dolphins vs Eagles – Sahara Stadium Kingsmead, Durban: 6.00pm
Titans vs Lions – Willowmoore Park, Benoni: 6.00pm
Lions vs Warriors – Bidvest Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg: 6.00pm
Cobras vs Dolphins – Sahara Park Newlands, Cape Town: 6.00pm
Eagles vs Titans – De Beers Diamond Oval, Kimberley: 6.00pm

Raven Klaasen

Raven Klaasen

Klassen’s challenge eventually fizzles out
Raven Klaasen’s challenge at the South Africa Open in Montecasino came to an end last Thursday when the local player was beaten 6-4 7-5 by seventh seed Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan. The 375th-ranked Klaasen, who obtained a wildcard entry into the tournament courtesy of his victory in the recent South African Closed Championships, put up a courageous display against Lu but was ultimately undone by an avalanche of accurate ground strokes that eventually wore him down.

Klaasen was 5-4 and 40-0 up on Lu’s serve up in the second set and was perfectly placed to level the match, but the visitor’s powerful and relentless ground strokes proved decisive as he reeled off three games in succession to clinch victory. The tournament was eventually won by third seeded Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez who beat eighth seeded Stephane Robert of France 7-5 6-1 in Sunday’s final.

Photo Credits:
Proteas crush India in just four days – Photo – Dale Steyn: Source – www.cricinfo.com
Blitsbokke lose their way again: Photo – Rayno Benjamin: Source – www.blitzbokke.com
Bulls begin Super 14 defence against Cheetahs – Photo – Juan Smith: Source – www.lions.ireland.com
Celtic and Swallows fight to a draw – Photo – Sibusiso Khumalo: Source – www.daylife.com
Sundowns eager to continue good form against Stars – Photo – Lebo Mokoena: Source – www.teamkickoff.com
‘Rock Star’ cricket thrills crowds – Photo – Gulam Bodi: Source – www.cricinfo.com

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