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Posted on: Wednesday, 13 January 2010

South African Sports News – 13 January

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Morne Morkel

Morne Morkel

Proteas come up short again
Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell helped England to an improbable draw in the third test against South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town last Thursday. England now leads the series 1-0 with only one test remaining.

However, a sudden batting collapse after tea transformed the contest from a dull and lifeless encounter into a nail biter. England had lost nine wickets at the end of the match, with their final pair having to stave off the last 17 balls to earn a draw. This is the third time in less than a year that England have been nine wickets down on the last day and still managed to get a draw. One of those occasions was the opening test of this series, and South Africa will be gutted to have twice come so close to getting a win …

When the visitors resumed after tea at 231/5 they appeared to have things under control. South African paceman Friedel de Wet was struggling with a back injury and the rest of the bowlers were lacking penetration with the significant exception of Dale Steyn. When 20 overs were completed without a wicket being captured after the break, many wondered how long it would be before both captains agreed on a stalemate.

Then skipper Graeme Smith handed JP Duminy the ball just after the drinks break that commenced the final hour, and the local star got the breakthrough South Africa had been desperately looking for. Duminy forced Collingwood to edge a delivery to Jacques Kallis at slip with 13 overs remaining, which got the Newlands crowd buzzing again. Just two overs after Collingwood left the scene for his 188-ball 40, Duminy struck again, removing Matt Prior for four when he had the Englishmen expertly caught by AB de Villiers at silly mid-on. That left the score at 287/7 with 11 overs to go, and South Africa was looking ominous.

Bell and Stuart Broad chewed up another eight overs before spinner Paul Harris achieved another breakthrough by getting rid of Broad who gloved Paul Harris to AB de Villiers. For the next over – the third-last of the day – Smith made another inspirational move and handed the ball to paceman Morne Morkel (pictured). With his opening delivery Morkel forced an edge from Bell, the last recognised batsman. Smith bagged the catch, and Bell departed for a patient 78 that came off 284 deliveries.

Smith made certain he had his two most successful bowlers, Morkel and Steyn, trying to blast out tail-enders Graeme Swann and Graham Onions for the remaining three overs, but neither player could snare the wicket South Africa so desperately wanted, as Onions proved to be an immovable object in the final over.

In the end, it was another case of so close and yet so far for the Proteas who just can’t seem to finish off their English opponents when it matters most. A team has to get 20 wickets to win test matches and that is something that South Africa just can’t seem to do at the moment.

The Proteas are clearly missing the likes of a Shaun Pollock who could tie up the opposing batsmen for hours on end and create so much pressure that they would be forced to play a rash shots and eventually concede their wickets.
The fourth and final test starts at the Wanderers in Johannesburg tomorrow and the Proteas will be desperate to salvage the series with a win. However, they will have to try and accomplish this without the services of De Wet, who has been declared unfit as a result of the back injury he aggravated at Newlands. His place is likely to be taken by Warriors’ speedster Wayne Parnell, who, if he plays, will be making his test debut for the Proteas.

Whatever happens it should be another fascinating contest between two very well matched teams with no quarter asked or given. Play starts at 10.30am.

Scores in brief
South Africa: 291 & 447/7 declared
England: 273 & 296/9
Result: Match Drawn

Steven Pienaar

Steven Pienaar

Pienaar’s stroke of genius makes Moyes happy
Bafana Bafana midfielder Steven Pienaar (pictured) scored probably the best goal of his career to help his English Premier side Everton to a useful 2-2 draw against Arsenal at a snow-swept Emirates Stadium on Saturday. The talented Pienaar started his run towards goal all the way from the halfway line before expertly chipping ‘keeper Manuel Alumunia to make it 2-1 to the Toffees after 80 minutes.

Arsenal managed to equalise in the second minute of extra time, courtesy of a goal from Thomas Rosicky, but the Gunners’ ability to salvage a draw didn’t detract from Pienaar’s superb effort. “It’s one of the best goals I’ve scored, maybe the best,” said an elated Pienaar after the match. Everton manager David Moyes was full of praise for his player. “That was an unbelievable finish, especially on that pitch, with snow on it. It will take something special to beat it for goal of the season,” said Moyes.

Makhaya Ntini

Makhaya Ntini

Ntini makes a statement as Warriors crush Eagles
An superb unbroken second-wicket partnership of 163 between JJ Smuts and Colin Ingram steered the Chevrolet Warriors to a commanding nine-wicket win (Duckworth/Lewis method) over the Diamond Eagles in an MTN40 match in Bloemfontein on Sunday. The Warriors were coasting along at 95/1, seeking to overhaul the Eagles’ total of 223 all out, when the heavens opened for a second time in the afternoon, necessitating the target to be reduced to 165 from 28 overs at a rate of seven to the over.

Smuts and Ingram achieved the revised target with 12 balls to spare with Smuts finishing on 75 not out and Ingram on an unbeaten 80. Smuts’ knock included nine boundaries and came off 83 deliveries while Ingram’s contribution included seven boundaries and three glorious sixes off just 65 balls.

Earlier, an excellent bowling spell by axed Proteas’ paceman Makhaya Ntini (pictured) laid the foundation for victory when the 32-year-old helped his side to bowl the Eagles out.  Ntini, smarting after being left out of the Proteas’ team for the final two tests against England, tore through the Eagles’ batting lineup to grab 5/26 in eight overs.

For the Eagles, Ryan Bailey stroked 77 off 77 balls and was involved in two vital partnerships with Con de Lange and Adrian McLaren for the fourth and fifth wickets to get his side back in the game – only to be run out by Ntini who didn’t put a foot wrong all day. Ntini and opening partner Wayne Parnell hampered the Eagles’ ability to score runs with Ntini, in particular, being very economical with the new ball, shedding just eight runs off his first four overs.

The Warriors started their run chase poorly when Justin Kreusch (two) was trapped leg before by Johan van der Wath in the third over with the total on two. The match was then disrupted by rain after 4.5 overs, with Smuts (two) and Ingram (eight) the unbeaten men at the crease.

After the rain abated, the pair added 93 for the second wicket before additional rain forced another delay. Smuts was on an undefeated 47 off 58 balls and Ingram on 42 off 41 deliveries when the target was reduced. Smuts reached his fifty off 80 balls with six boundaries while Ingram reached the same mark off 70 balls with three boundaries and two sixes as the duo zeroed in on the victory target.

Ingram eventually recorded the winning runs off the final ball of the 25th over to earn his side their third win of the tournament and move them up to third on the log. For the Eagles, this was their seventh defeat and it leaves them stone last in the standings. The Warriors will have been delighted with their win and Ntini, in particular, must be thrilled with his outstanding performance with the ball, which will have proved to the national selectors that he can still take wickets.

Other results
Last Wednesday

The Lions beat the Eagles by three wickets at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
The Cobras beat the Dolphins by 66 runs at Kingsmead in Durban.
The Lions beat the Dolphins by six wickets at Kingsmead in Durban.
The Cobras beat the Eagles by two runs at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley.
The Titans beat the Warriors by two wickets at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
The match between the Titans and the Dolphins at Willowmoore Park in Benoni was abandoned.

Titans and Cobras still hold all the cards
At the MTN 40 competition draws to a close the Nashua Titans and the Cape Cobras (pictured) are way out in front on 29 and 28 points respectively with the Warriors (12 points) and the Lions (also 12 points) third and fourth. The Dolphins (10 points) and the Eagles (nine points) are fifth and sixth respectively, but the Dolphins still have three games in hand whereas the Eagles only have one game in hand.

Upcoming fixtures
Warriors vs Dolphins- Buffalo Park, East London: 4.15pm
Cobras vs Warriors – Newlands, CapeTown: 4.15pm
Eagles vs Dolphins – Diamond Oval, Kimberley: 4.15pm
Titans vs Lions – SuperSport Park, Centurion: 4.15pm
Dolphins vs Titans – Pietermaritzburg Oval: 10.00am
Lions    vs Warriors –  Senwes Park, Potchefstroom: 10.00am

Nkosinathi Joyi

Nkosinathi Joyi

Joyi gets IBF title shot
South Africa’s Nkosinathi Joyi (pictured left) will fight on home soil when he challenges Raul Garcia of Mexico for his International Boxing Federation (IBF) mini-flyweight belt in March, promoter Branco Milenkovic has announced.

Milenkovic, of Branco Sports Promotions, won the purse bid to promote the fight in South Africa when he edged Bob Arum of Top Rank with a bid of R1 166 660. The 26-year-old Joyi (20-0; 15 KO’s) earned the right to challenge for the title after outpointing Filipino Florante Condes in East London on June 26 last year.

Garcia (27-0-1; 16 KO’s) is a southpaw who captured the belt in June 2008 by defeating Florante Condes on a split decision. The fight is scheduled to take place on March 26 at an as yet undetermined venue.

Charl Schwartzel

Charl Schwartzel

Charl makes it two in a row
Charl Schwartzel (pictured) bogeyed the 18th hole in the final round of the R12 million Africa Open at the 6 191m, par-73 East London Golf Club on Sunday, but he still did enough to successfully defend his title by a single stroke from countrymen Thomas Aiken.

Schwartzel’s final round of 67 enabled him to finish on 20-under 272 for the tournament, which was co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour, the third event in the 2010 Race to Dubai.  It was Schwartzel’s fourth European Tour win – he took the 2004-5 Alfred Dunhill Championship, the 2007 Open de Espana and the 2008 Madrid Masters – and it must have been a relief for the 25-year-old to finally have tasted success after a good run of form that, until Sunday, had not produced a tournament victory.

Aiken, who led into the final round with Trevor Fisher Jnr, was left ruing a double-bogey six on the fairly straightforward 303m fifth. That allowed Schwartzel to open up a gap, which was eventually too large to close. He enjoyed a three-stroke advantage on the 16th tee and then had to wait patiently as Aiken recorded a birdie on 15 to reduce the gap to two shots. In the end, Aiken needed to sink a 15-foot put for birdie, and although his effort came very close to the hole, he wasn’t able to force a playoff.

Jbe’ Kruger and Fisher were third on 18-under 274, while Australia’s Rick Kulacz, England’s James Morrison and South African Chris Swanepoel were one shot behind in fifth position. Branden Grace of South Africa produced the best round of the day, a seven-under-par 66 that included three eagles, to finish on 16-under 276, which was good enough for a share of eighth place with fellow South Africans James Kingston and Michiel Bothma, Swede Pelle Edberg and England’s Miles Tunnicliff.

As is most often the case, consistency wins tournaments, and Schwartzel’s performance epitomised this as he dropped only five shots during the tournament. The next round of the Sunshine Tour is the Joburg Open, which will be held at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club from tomorrow until Sunday.

Top 12 finishers (RSA unless stated)
272 – Charl Schwartzel 67 70 68 67
273 – Thomas Aiken 67 67 69 70
274 – Jbe’ Kruger 69 68 67 70
275 – Rick Kulacz (AUS) 72 69 67 67, James Morrison (ENG) 68 70 69 68, Chris Swanepoel 71 68 68 68, Trevor Fisher Jnr 66 66 71 72
276 – Branden Grace 70 70 70 66, James Kingston 68 69 71 68, Michiel Bothma 69 69 70 68, Pelle Edberg (SWE) 69 68 70 69, Miles Tunnicliff (ENG) 68 71 67 70

Meanwhile, in international action, Rory Sabbatini just missed out on a victory in the SBS Championship in Hawaii on Sunday, carding a brilliant final round of 63, which put the South African a stroke adrift of eventual winner Geoff Ogilvy of Australia.

Ogilvy’s final round of 67 was good enough to secure victory, although the Australian must have been very relieved that the 33-year-old Sabbatini missed a 10-foot putt on the 18th, which would have enabled him to draw level with the Australian and force a playoff. However, it was not to be and Ogilvy became only the seventh player in the tournament’s 58-year history to win in consecutive years. Another South African, Retief Goosen, finished joint sixth on 17 under 275.

Ralph Pitchford

Ralph Pitchford

De Villiers and Pitchford still going strong
Nasser Al-Attiyah, from Qatar, won his third stage on the 2010 Dakar Rally on Monday and led home another first, second and third for the Volkswagen team between Copiapo and La Serena in Chile. Al-Attiyah, and his German co-driver Timo Gottschalk, finished 5 mins, 59 secs ahead of Spanish team-mates Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz and 7 mins, 38 secs in front of South African Giniel de Villiers and German Dirk von Zitzewitz. The BMW crew of Guerlain Chicherit (France) and Tina Thörner (Sweden) were fourth – 10 mins, 13 secs behind Al Attiyah.

American Mark Miller and his South African co-driver Ralph Pitchford (pictured) came fifth – 10 mins, 48 secs behind team-mates Sainz and Cruz and 6 mins, 38 secs ahead of the French duo of Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret in their BMW. VW’s still dominate the rally; occupying the first three places overall with Sainz in first position with five special stages remaining.

The Spaniard is 8 mins, 36 secs ahead of Al-Attiyah and 27 mins and 17 secs clear of Miller and Pitchford.
Peterhansel and Cottret are fourth – 2 hrs, 28 mins and 27 secs behind Sainz and 1 hr, 46 mins and 35 secs behind Miller. Defending champions De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz improved to seventh overall – 4 hrs, 36 mins and 28 secs behind team-mate Sainz.

The rally crosses back into Argentina from the Atacama Desert today with a 3 500m high traverse of the Paso Libertadores through the Andes mountains.

Photo Credits:
Proteas come up short again – Photo – Morne Morkel: Source – cricinfo.com
Pienaar’s stroke of genius makes Moyes happy – Photo – Steven Pienaar: Source – dailymail.co.uk
Ntini makes a statement as Warriors crush Eagles- Photo – Makhaya Ntini: Source – zimbio.com
Joyi gets IBF title shot – Photo – Nkosinathi Joyi: Source – blogs.dispatch.co.za
Charl makes it two in a row – Photo – Charl Schwartzel: Source – guardian.co.uk
De Villiers and Pitchford still going strong – Photo – Ralph Pitchford: Source – quickpic.co.za

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What Others are Saying

2 comments about South African Sports News – 13 January
  1. January 14th, 2010 at 16:53
    Brenton says:

    Hi Guy.What do you think SA chances are against Mexico in the world cup.I would say SA have no chance of winning against Mexico. Do you agree with me, and what will be the outcome when SA dont even pass the first stage.Will it leed to bloodshed?

  2. January 15th, 2010 at 13:58
    Guy Mortimer says:

    Hi Brenton.

    Mexico are quite a strong side and I would definitely be surprised if a defensive minded team like Bafana Bafana were to come away with a win against the Central Americans.

    However, if Steven Pienaar can produce the kind of magic that he did against Arsenal over the weekend then anything is possible. Bafana may surprise both of us yet, but of course soccer remains a team sport and individual perfromances can only take you so far.

    So yes, the odds are undoubtedly stacked against us, but there’s always a chance we could qualify for the second round.

    All we need to do is to string a couple of good perfromances together and we could get there. However, I would definitely say that we just don’t have what it takes to get further than that.

    Crowd violence is unfortunately always possible if expectations are high and teams don’t produce the goods, so as far as bloodshed goes it’s definitely not impossible.

    However, let’s hope that the authorities have the necessary protocols in place to deal with this sort of thing effectively.

    I worked as a media assistant at the 2003 Cricket World Cup and security was very tight.

    I realise that the World Cup is a much larger event attracting far more people, but if security is as good as it was in ’03 their shouldn’t be problems.

    Enjoy the weekend.