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Posted on: Wednesday, 20 January 2010

South African Sports News – 20 January

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JP Duminy

JP Duminy

Proteas finally get it right
Paceman Morne Morkel grabbed four wickets to guide South Africa to victory by an innings and 74 runs over England as the home side squared the series on the fourth day of the fourth Castle test match at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Sunday.

The towering Morkel finished with the impressive figures of 4/59 off 16 overs as the visitors were dismissed for 169 just before the lunch interval. The result means that the Castle test series ends 1-1 and South Africa therefore keep the Basil D’Oliveira Trophy. Paul Collingwood was the only England batsman to pose a threat to the Proteas’ bowlers as the right-hander put together a superb 71 off 88 deliveries, which included 12 boundaries and a glorious six.

Overall, it was a poor batting display from the visitors after they started the day on an already precarious 48/3. England simply had no answer to the aggression of Morkel and the persistence of the other South African bowlers, and lost their last seven wickets for just 121 runs with Morkel proving to be the destroyer-in-chief.

Debutant left-arm swing bowler Wayne Parnell initiated the collapse when he had Kevin Pietersen (12) caught behind after the South African born batsmen nicked one through to ‘keeper Mark Boucher. Morkel then cut a swathe through the England middle order as he bagged three wickets in just six deliveries to return figures of 3/15 off five overs in his second spell.

Ian Bell (five) was the first to go, snapped up at second slip, before Matt Prior (nought) skied a short delivery and was caught by skipper Graeme Smith who sprinted all the way from first slip to take the catch behind Boucher. Stuart Broad (one) was then caught down the leg-side by Boucher after the Proteas had asked for the decision to be reviewed, as England crashed to 104/7 after shedding three wickets for a single run. Graeme Swann (20) stuck around for 17 balls before he edged an away-swinging delivery from paceman Dale Steyn through to AB de Villiers at third slip.

Part-time off-spinner JP Duminy (pictured) then hammered the final nail into England’s coffin when he had Collingwood caught at deep backward square leg before disturbing the left-handed Ryan Sidebottom’s stumps. The England seam bowler made 15 off 17 balls. Duminy, who has been in poor form with the bat in this series, redeemed himself somewhat with the ball by returning the impressive figures of 2/10 in the innings while Parnell also did well with his 2/17 off eight overs. Steyn, who recorded 2/64 off 14 overs, finished with a match analysis of 7/115 while Morkel was even better with overall figures of 7/98. However, the man of the match adjudicators could not pick a winner between the two, and decided that the award should be shared between the two speed merchants.

South Africa, and Smith in particular, will be relieved at being able to draw the series, but will not be happy with their overall performance in a series they should have won comfortably.  The Proteas’ inability to mop up the English tail in Centurion and again at Newlands, together with their pathetic second innings batting display at Kingsmead, cost them a series win and does not bode well for next month’s tour of India. Indian pitches seldom provide any assist for quick bowlers and with the South African selectors only naming two recognised spinners (the out of form Paul Harris and the controversial Johan Botha) in their test squad for their tour of the sub-continent, things don’t look that rosy for the Proteas.

The South Africans will play two tests and five one day internationals (ODI’s) against their more illustrious opponents in a tour that will stretch throughout February.

Scores in brief
England: 180 & 169
South Africa: 423/7 declared
Result: South Africa won by an innings and 74 runs

SA squads for India
Test squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Ryan McLaren, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Alviro Petersen, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn and Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

ODI squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Loots Bosman, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Alviro Petersen, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Roelof van der Merwe

Ahmed Amla

Ahmed Amla

Dolphins shock Titans to earn semi-final berth
The Nashua Dolphins produced undoubtedly their best performance of the MTN 40 competition when they vanquished the previously unbeaten Nashua Titans by 32 runs at the City Oval in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday. The win was enough to secure the Dolphins a spot in the semi-finals of the competition after a somewhat lacklustre campaign, which saw the KwaZulu-Natalians win only three of their 10 league matches.

However, the Dolphins were in superb form at the picturesque Oval ground on Sunday and were full value for their victory against arguably the best team in the competition this year. Ahmed Amla (pictured) was the proverbial ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ for the home side as he steered the Dolphins to 237/7 with a superb 85 off just 72 balls, which included six stylish boundaries. Amla helped the home side to pick up the run rate as he and Dale Benkenstein (27 off 16 balls) plundered 46 runs between the 30th and 34th overs. The men in green were able to improve their score from an uninspiring 140/3 in the 30 over to their final total courtesy of Amla’s efforts.

Imraan Khan (60 off 93 balls) and Andrew Hall (25 off 29 balls) had earlier helped the Dolphins to score 55 runs in the first ten overs to get the home side off to an excellent start. Roelof van der Merwe, with 2/39 from eight overs, and Jacques Rudolph with 2/10 from 1.5 overs were the pick of the Titans’ bowlers.

Chasing a victory target of 238 in 40 overs the Titans got off to a solid start with Blake Snijman notching up 64 off 70 balls, which included nine boundaries and a well struck six. However, when Snijman departed with the score on 88/2 the Dolphins’ bowlers began to put the clamps on the Titans’ batsmen. Left-arm spinner Kyle Nipper (2/38 from eight overs), leg-spinner Daryn Smit (1/22 from three overs), slow medium-pacer Pierre de Bruyn (1/16 off three overs) and paceman Jonathan Louw (1/36 off 5.4 overs) all combined well to hamper the progress of the chasing Titans.

Medium pacers Alfonso Thomas (2/30 off eight overs) and Hall (2/41 off six overs) also played an important role in dismissing the top and middle-order of the Titans with Thomas, in particular, making good use of the slower delivery and off-cutter.

In the end it was all too much for the Titans to cope with as they were bowled out for a rather modest 205 in 38.4 overs. Both teams will face each other again on Sunday at SuperSport Park in Centurion in the competition’s second semi-final. The first semi-final will be between the Nashua Cape Cobras and the Chevrolet Warriors at Boland Park in Paarl on Friday. If the Dolphins were to be victorious again on Sunday it would be a major disappointment for the Titans who, along with the Cobras (7-2-1), dominated the competition with seven wins, one loss and two no results from 10 outings.

Scores in brief
Dolphins: 237/7
Titans: 205
Result: Dolphins won by 32 runs

Other results
Last Wednesday

Warriors beat the Dolphins by three wickets at Buffalo Park in East London.
Cobras beat the Warriors by 52 runs at Newlands in Cape Town.
Eagles beat the Dolphins by 37 runs at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley.
Titans beat the Lions by 91 runs at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
Warriors beat the Lions by seven wickets at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom.

Ruben Groenewald

Ruben Groenewald

Mchunu to defend SA belt against Groenewald
Unbeaten, but relatively untested Thabiso ‘The Rock’ Mchunu returns to the ring after a frustrating eight month absence when he squares off against veteran Ruben Groenewald (pictured right) at the Bloemfontein City Hall on Friday night.

The 21-year-old Mchunu (6-0; 5 KO’s) is one of South Africa’s most promising young boxers. However, an inability to secure bouts has hampered Mchunu’s development as a fighter and the former amateur star will be hoping to kick-start his career by winning impressively against the 32-year-old Groenewald (23-7-3; 10 KO’s). At stake will be Mchunu’s South African Cruiserweight (also known as junior heavyweight) title.

Mchunu, who also holds the lightly regarded World Boxing Association (WBA) Pan African Cruiserweight title, is a very talented pugilist with heavy hands, but has a tendency to lose concentration in the ring, sometimes displaying a seeming disinterest in his craft. However, there is no doubt that the young man from KwaXimba in Cato Ridge, a small farming community situated not far from Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu Natal, has all the tools necessary to become a legitimate world champion one day.

Mchunu, a clean living young man who treats his body as a temple, has been boxing since he was eight and is so skilled defensively that he has never been dropped in the ring, either as an amateur or as a professional. He also possesses the ability to turn up the heat on an opponent as he demonstrated when he blasted out the experienced Ghanian Marciano Commey in just 32 seconds in Bloemfontein in October 2008.

However, with only one fight (a lacklustre eighth round TKO over Soon Botes in May 2009) since that scintillating victory, Mchunu’s career has stalled and he will be hoping to revitalise it with a convincing victory over the highly experienced Groenewald who is coming off a September 2009 victory (TKO 1) over rugged brawler Ronnie Lategan.

Groenewald has seen it all in a 14-year professional career where he has faced the likes of the highly regarded German based, Ukranian born cruiserweight contender Alexander Frenkel (L TKO 5), current World Boxing Council (WBC) super-middleweight champion Carl Froch (L TKO 5) and former European super-middleweight champion Danilo Haussler (L PTS 8).

Mchunu, on the other hand, has faced mostly handpicked opponents and should not under-estimate the capable Groenewald, who boasts impressive wins over the likes of former World Boxing Union (WBU) Middleweight champion Anthony Farnell (W PTS 12) and former WBU Continental light-middleweight champion Elvis Adonisi (W KO 10).

However, it must be stated that Groenewald is not a natural cruiserweight, having started his career as a welterweight back in 1996. Indeed, the Brakpan resident has only had four fights as a cruiserweight (3-1; 3 KO’s) and his soft body tone indicates that he is still more suited to the light heavyweight, or even super-middleweight division. Mchunu, in stark contrast, is a natural cruiserweight and has a physique to rival that of many body builders. However, good looking punches rather than good looking muscles win fights, and Mchunu will have to ensure that he keeps up his work rate in order to beat the wily Groenewald, who has only been stopped twice in a 33 fight career.

The fight will be televised live on SABC 2 at 10 pm.

Charl Schwartzel

Charl Schwartzel

Red-hot Schwartzel wins again
There just seems to be no stopping Charl Schwartzel (pictured) at the moment as the 25-year-old local golfing sensation recorded a runaway six-stroke victory in the lucrative R15.6-million Joburg Open played on the par-71 Royal Johannesburg and Kensington East course on Sunday. The tournament is the richest of the four Sunshine Tour events co-sanctioned by the European Tour, and is the fourth in the 2010 Race to Dubai.

Despite his overnight four-stroke lead over Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke, Schwartzel suffered the misfortune of a bogie at the 434m par-four 3rd hole after he had been seen sitting nervously in the players’ lounge ahead of his final round.  He calmed down quickly with two solid pars after that and, after birdying the 530m par-five 6th, his confidence soared spelling doom for the rest of the field.

Schwartzel birdied the 8th to go one-under for his round, added birdies at 10 and 14, which put him clear of the pack, and then underlined his dominance with further birdies at 17 and 18 as he cruised home for his second consecutive victory after winning the Africa Open in East London a fortnight ago.

Fellow South African Keith Horne finished with a seven-under 64 (the best round of the day) to tie for second place with Clarke who shot a final round of 68 for a 17-under 267. Danny Willett of England and South African James Kamte also finished with 68’s to share fourth position with England’s Peter Whiteford, Joost Luiten of the Netherlands, Soren Hansen of Denmark and local player Hennie Otto tying for sixth on 12-under 272. However, no matter what the achievements of the other golfers were over the four days, the tournament was undoubtedly dominated by Schwartzel who simply had far too much in his arsenal for the rest of the field to compete with.

Schwartzel now leads the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit from nearest competitor Horne by over R2.4-million and, even though the season is still in its infancy, it’s highly unlikely that he will be caught by the end of the year.

Top 16 finishers (RSA unless specified)
261 – Charl Schwartzel 63 68 64 66
267 – Keith Horne 68 65 70 64
Darren Clarke (NIR) 63 69 67 68
270 – Danny Willett (ENG) 65 67 70 68
James Kamte 67 66 69 68
272 – Peter Whiteford (SCO) 66 69 70 67
Joost Luiten (NED) 66 69 69 68
Soren Hansen (DEN) 66 70 68 68
Hennie Otto 67 66 69 70
273 – Josh Cunliffe 68 70 67 68
John Parry (ENG) 66 67 71 69
274 – Neil Cheetham (ENG) 67 69 72 66
Louis Oosthuizen 70 66 70 68
Warren Abery 69 67 70 68
Paul Broadhurst (ENG) 66 68 69 71
Jaco Van Zyl 71 64 67 72

Giniel De Villiers

Giniel De Villiers

De Villiers and Pitchford do South Africa proud in Argentina
Ralph Pitchford, the 2009 South African off road champion co-driver, navigated American Mark Miller to third place overall in their Volkswagen Race Touareg in the 32nd Dakar Rally, which ended in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Saturday.

The Volkswagen team were all smiles as they recorded an historic and emphatic 1-2-3 finish and a second consecutive victory after the success of South African Giniel De Villiers (pictured) and German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz in last year’s event, and Miller and Pitchford’s second place.

Spain’s Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz won their first Dakar Rally after two weeks and over 9 000 km of driving, completing the 14 special stages and 4 800 km of racing section in a time of 47 hrs and 10 mins. Nasser-Al Attiyah of Qatar and German co-driver Timo Gottschalk were second in the closest finish seen in the car category of the Dakar, 2 mins and 12 secs behind their Volkswagen team-mates. Miller and Pitchford were 32 mins and 51 secs behind at the finish.

Volkswagen’s dominance was highlighted by the fact that their closest rivals were the French pairing of nine-times former Dakar champion Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret in a BMW X3, who completed the rally 2 hrs, 17 mins and 21 secs behind the winners.

Defending champions De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz lost all chance of repeating their 2009 triumph when they experienced electrical problems on their Touareg on day three, and had to wait close on three hours for assistance from their support crew. From then on the duo were required to play a support role to their team-mates, carrying additional spares and having to stop and provide assistance when needed. They eventually finished a respectable seventh, 5 hrs, 10 mins and 19 secs behind Sainz and Cruz.

Theron and Cruickshank make a statement ahead of Dusi
The 2010 Dusi Canoe Marathon begins in Pietermaritzburg tomorrow and some of the race’s top contenders took full advantage of the opportunity to test their speed last week at the FHM Night Race at Victoria Lake in Germiston. Five laps around the lake plus four compulsory portages comprised the 15km distance.

Jacques Theron paired up with last year’s K1 winner Piers Cruickshank to take line honours in 66 mins and 44 secs after a tight sprint finish. Dusi gold medallists Mike Harris and Brandon Collyer dropped out of the leading pack after just two laps due to diarrhoea, paving the way for Theron and Cruickshank to take command of proceedings. The duo out sprinted rivals Alex Robert and Gavin Page to win by just four seconds.

Gavin Shutter and Ivan Kruger (66:49) took third place with Harris and Collyer (71:11) fourth just ahead of the young Murray Burgess and seasoned veteran Malcolm Stoddard who finished in 71:14. Morgan Ziervogel and Tamlyn Bohm won the women’s race in 76:35.

Photo Credits:
Proteas finally get it right – Photo – JP Duminy: Source – www.zimbio.com
Dolphins shock Titans to earn semi-final berth – Photo – Ahmed Amla: Source – www.content.cricinfo.com
Mchunu to defend SA belt against Groenewald – Photo – Ruben Groenewald: Source – www.flickr.com
Red-hot Schwartzel wins again – Photo – Charl Schwartzel: Source – www.golfwrx.com
De Villiers and Pitchford do SA proud in Argentina – Photo – Giniel De Villiers: Source – www.quickpic.co.za

Sporting Links:
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