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Posted on: Wednesday, 24 February 2010

South African Sports News – 24 February

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Wayne Parnell

Wayne Parnell

Late rally not enough as South Africa lose by one run
The Proteas lost their second consecutive match against India when they went down by a single run to the home side in the first One Day International (ODI) at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Sunday. The agonising defeat came just four days after their innings and 57 run loss to the same opponents in the second test match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, and was a bitter pill to swallow for Jacques Kallis’ men.

Chasing a daunting victory target of 299 at a rate of 5.98 to the over the Proteas were dismissed for 297 when Wayne Parnell (pictured centre) was run out by Shanthakumaran Sreesanth off the last ball of the innings. Parnell and fellow ‘tailender’ Dale Steyn batted superbly to take South Africa to the brink of victory, but in the end it was to no avail as the courageous duo perished in the final over …

The Proteas had looked down and out on 225/8 with only seven overs left, but Parnell and Steyn surprised India with some excellent batting which nearly pulled the game out of the fire. The left handed Parnell was more circumspect than his right handed partner, accumulating 49 runs off 47 balls while Steyn smashed 35 off just 19 deliveries in a ninth wicket stand that yielded 90 much needed runs. Parnell struck four fours and one six during his knock while Steyn hammered three sixes and one four in his brief, but spectacular innings.

Despite the heroics of Steyn and Parnell and the usual solid display from Kallis who contributed a valuable 89 off 97 balls (6×4; 1×6), it was a rather ordinary batting performance from the tourists who struggled to cope with the varied Indian bowling attack and lost wickets at regular intervals. Herschelle Gibbs (27 off 40), Alviro Peterson (9 off 21), Albie Morkel (2 off 8 ) and Mark Boucher (5 off 9) never got going and used up too many deliveries in the process, which ultimately proved to be the difference between the two sides.

The strange exclusion of Hashim Amla from the starting line-up also played straight in the hands of the Indians and they must have been jumping for joy when they heard that he wouldn’t be playing. Amla has had a superb tour of the sub continent thus far, racking up scores of 253 not out, 114 and 123 not out in the drawn Test series, leaving him with an incredible batting average of 490 for the series.

Although Amla is not exactly the quickest accumulator of runs the world has ever seen, his presence in the top order would have given the Proteas the stability they needed to beat India – a team who always put constant pressure on their opponents. Instead he was left out, with Loots Bosman (29 off 23) opening with Gibbs followed by Kallis, AB de Villiers (25 off 23) and Peterson at three, four and five respectively. The plan clearly didn’t work and the South African selectors would be foolish not to bring Amla back into the one day starting line-up.

The Indian innings was built around the efforts of Virendar Sehwag (46 off 37) and Dinesh Karthik (44 off 56) with middle order batsmen Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja also making valuable contributions with 58 and 22 respectively. Kallis, standing in as captain for the injured Graeme Smith, was the pick of the Proteas’ bowlers with 3/29 off seven overs while Jadeja scooped the man of the match award with his knock and a wicket haul of 2/29 off 10 overs.

The second ODI of the three match series starts in Kanpur today at 5.30 am with the third being played in Ahmedabad on Saturday. That match begins at 11am.

Bryan Habana

Bryan Habana

Stormers turn back tide to sink Waratahs
The Vodacom Stormers recorded a convincing 27-6 victory over the Waratahs in their first home Vodacom Super 14 match of the season at Newlands on Saturday evening. The Cape outfit soaked up a lot of pressure in the opening 20 minutes as the Waratahs attempted to try and breach their defences by launching a wave of furious attacks.

It seemed only a matter of time before the Stormers would crack under the pressure, but much to the dismay of the Waratahs their defence held firm and after 30 minutes of play the Australian team began to run out of steam. Live- wire flanker Pieter Louw had come on for the injured Schalk Burger after 23 minutes and his entrance into the fray seemed to galvanise the Stormers when Francois Louw scored the opening try of the match. Towering lock Andries Bekker secured the ball from a lineout, following which the Stormers’ pack made a powerful drive for the line, which resulted in Louw burrowing over.

From this point on the Waratahs were on the back foot as the Stormers applied constant pressure, which resulted in the Aussie outfit conceding two crucial penalties shortly before the break. Dimunitive fullback Joe Pietersen made no mistake with the attempts at goal, slotting both of them to make the half time score 13-3 in favour of the home side. It had been an excellent fight back from the Stormers who had arguably got the worst of it for the majority of the opening half only to come back with a vengeance in the final 10 minutes.

The hosts went further ahead only four minutes after the break when Kurtley Beale had a kick charged down in the corner by Springbok wing Bryan Habana (pictured right) who gathered the loose ball to dot down. The Waratahs had scored first in the second stanza courtesy of a Berrick Barnes penalty, but Habana’s opportunistic score had given the Stormers a 14-point cushion and plenty of confidence.

Scrumhalf Ricky Januarie heaped further misery on the visitors when his sniping run paved the way for Habana to score his second try of the match. The decision to include the hard-working Januarie ahead of Dewaldt Duvenage proved to be an excellent one as his aggressive tackling proved to be a thorn in the side of the Waratahs. To compound matters for the Aussies, Duane Vermeulen, Tiaan Liebenberg, Pieter Louw, Juan de Jongh and Jaque Fourie all put in some heavy hits that severely disrupted their rhythm.

After Habana had scored his second try and the Stormers’ third to put the Cape team 21 points ahead with just 24 minutes to go, there was clearly no way back for the visitors and they looked a well-beaten team when the whistle sounded. It was the first time since 2004 that the Stormers have won two consecutive games at the start of the season, and if they can carry on playing like they are at the moment, they will fancy their chances of securing a semi-final berth in this year’s Super 14.

Scorers
Stormers: 27 (13) – Tries: Francois Louw, Bryan Habana (2). Conversions: Joe Pietersen (3). Penalties: Pietersen (2).
Waratahs: 6 (3) – Penalties: Berrick Barnes (2).

Other results (from left to right; SA teams in bold)
Friday
Highlanders 15 – Blues 19 – Dunedin
Reds 41 – Crusaders 20 – Brisbane
Sharks 20 – Cheetahs 25 – Durban
Lions 65 – Chiefs 72 – Johannesburg

Saturday
Hurricanes 47 – Western Force 22 – Wellington
Bulls 50 – Brumbies 32 – Pretoria

Morné Steyn

Morné Steyn

Bulls the early favourites as Super 14 heats up
As the Super 14 enters its third week the mighty Vodacom Bulls top the log with 10 points, one clear of the Hurricanes and the Chiefs and two clear of the fourth placed Stormers who themselves are two clear of the fifth placed Reds. The Bulls are looking like the early favourites after convincing victories in their opening two games, and with points machine Morné Steyn (pictured) in their ranks it would take a brave man to bet against the Pretoria outfit from retaining their trophy this season.

Steyn was in magnificent form for the Bulls over the weekend, scoring 35 points against the Brumbies at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday afternoon. His prolific boot accounted for 25 of those points with the remainder coming from two tries, proving that the Bulls’ No 10 has far more to offer than just slotting the ball between the uprights. The men in blue face the Waratahs in the bullring on Saturday and it will be a major surprise if the Aussie outfit could come away with a win, especially after their disappointing performance against the Stormers over the weekend.

Other fixtures (SA teams in bold)
Friday
Crusadersvs Sharks – Christchurch: 8.35am
Stormers vs Brumbies – Newlands Rugby Stadium: 7.10pm

Saturday
Hurricanes vs Lions – Wellington: 8.35am
Reds vs Blues – Brisbane: 10.40am
Western Force vs Chiefs – Perth: 1.05pm
Cheetahs vs Highlanders – Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein: 5.05pm

Itumeleng Khune

Itumeleng Khune

Soweto derby ends in goalless draw
The Soweto derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs ended in a 0-0 stalemate at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday afternoon – the second time this season that the traditional rivals have been deadlocked after 90 minutes. While the first meeting was a bore, this match was a lively and entertaining encounter featuring plenty of positive and attractive football, but in the end neither side was able to breach each other’s defences.

Pirates started quickly and put Chiefs under a lot of pressure, especially down the right flank where Rooi Mahamutsa and Dikgang Mabalane were finding plenty of space. However, it was the Amakhosi who nearly netted an early goal when Knowledge Musona sprinted away from the Pirates backline, only for goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs to dart off his line and make a strong tackle.

Katlego Mashego then forced Itumeleng Khune (pictured) to make an excellent save, firing off a low, left footed shot that the young keeper blocked with his left hand. After absorbing a considerable amount of early pressure Chiefs gradually began to find their feet and were able to create some goal scoring opportunities. Musona headed wide of goal from a Josta Dladla free kick just after the half hour mark, and then Siphiwe Tshabalala and Abia Nale narrowly missed scoring opportunities shortly before half time.

The pattern of the second half mirrored that of the first, with Pirates starting strongly only for Chiefs to improve as time passed. Khune had to make two tremendous saves in succession just past the hour mark, twice denying Lucas Thwala headers that were aimed for the back of the net.

Chiefs almost broke the deadlock on 85 minutes when substitute Nkosinathi Nhleko hit the upright with a glancing header, but in the end it was not to be, as the score remained 0-0 at the whistle. The Amakhosi move back up to third on the Premier Soccer League (PSL) standings with 45 points, one ahead of Santos in fourth with Pirates a further point back in fifth place and having played a game more than all of the top four.

Other results (from left to right)
Last Wednesday
AmaZulu 1 – Free State Stars 0 – Moses Mabhida Stadium
Platinum Stars 0 – SuperSport United 1 – Royal Bafokeng Stadium
Maritzburg Utd 2 – Orlando Pirates 1 – Woodburn Stadium
Mamelodi Sundowns 3 – Moroka Swallows 3 – Super Stadium
Bidvest Wits 0 – Santos 3 – Bidvest Stadium

Saturday
Black Aces 0 – Bloem Celtic 0 –  Puma Rugby Stadium

It’s SuperSport vs Sundowns as PSL heads into final stages
With only two rounds left in the 2009/2010 PSL standings it’s a toss up between SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns as to who will walk away with title honours. Log leaders United (57 points) are up against struggling Bidvest Wits at the Super Stadium this evening while second placed Sundowns (53 points) square off against bottom feeders Jomo Cosmos at the Rand Stadium. Both United and Sundowns should come away with maximum points against their lowly opponents who have had seasons they would rather forget.

The pick of this week’s matches could well be the middle of the table clash between Moroka Swallows and Platinum Stars at the Dobsonville Stadium this evening. The Birds held Sundowns to an exciting 3-3 draw at the Super Stadium last week and should have the beating of Stars, who suffered a 1-0 defeat to SuperSport in their last match.

Other fixtures today
Free State Stars vs Maritzburg Utd – Charles Mopeli Stadium: 7.30pm
Santos vs Amazulu – Athlone Stadium: 7.30pm
Golden Arrows vs Ajax Cape Town – Chatsworth Stadium: 7.30pm
Kaizer Chiefs vs Black Aces- Loftus Versfeld Stadium: 7.30pm

Jacques Rudolph

Jacques Rudolph

Titans tame Warriors to book semi-final berth
The Nashua Titans recorded an emphatic 55-run victory over the Chevrolet Warriors in their Standard Bank Pro20 encounter at SuperSport Park in Pretoria Accommodation on Sunday. The Titans lost opener Blake Snijman (seven) early on in their innings, but recovered well to post an imposing score of 182/4 off their allotted 20 overs.

Gulam Bodi and Jacques Rudolph (pictured) took the Warriors’ bowlers to the cleaners as they boosted the Titans from 25/1 to 94/2 before Justin Kreusch caught Bodi off the bowling of medium pacer Garnett Kruger for a well-played 44 (37 balls). Faf du Plessis joined Rudolf at the crease and the duo took the score to 131 before Du Plessis fell victim to paceman Makhaya Ntini for a conservative 18 off 14 deliveries.

Next-man-in Heino Kuhn quickly got stuck into the Warriors’ bowling, smashing three sixes and a four in his unbeaten knock of 28, which came off just 14 balls. Rudolph was equally harsh on the Warriors’ bowlers, despatching them to all corners of the park on his way to a swashbuckling 69 (37 deliveries), which included six fours and three glorious sixes.

The former Proteas’ batsmen was eventually caught by Nicky Boje (another ex Protea) off the bowling of Kruger in the 17th over, but by that stage the damage had already been done as Kuhn and David Wiese (10 not out off seven deliveries) took the Titans to their imposing total. Kruger was the pick of the Warriors’ bowlers with 3/26 off four overs.

Chasing 183 for victory at a rate of 9.15 to the over was always going to a tough ask for the Warriors, and in the end a tough ask it proved to be as the Eastern Cape franchise crashed to a dismal 127 all out in 18.4 overs. Medium pacer Wiese was the destroyer in chief as he tore through the Warriors’ line-up to finish with the extraordinary figures of 5/19 off four overs.

Opener Jon-Jon Smuts (34 off 29 balls) was the only Warriors’ batsmen to offer any resistance as the rest of his team-mates simply had no answer to the likes of Wiese, left-arm spinner Paul Harris (2/24 off four overs) and medium-pacer Pierre Joubert (3/23 off 3.4 overs).

The Titans’ crushing win ensured them a place in the semi-finals of the competition where they will be up against the bizhub Highveld Lions while the Warriors will square off against the Nashua Cape Cobras in the other ‘best of three’ semi-final.

Other results
Last Wednesday
Eagles beat the Cobras by eight wickets – Boland Park, Paarl

Friday
Warriors beat the Cobras by 19 runs – St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth
Lions beat the Dolphins by six wickets – Senwes Park, Potchefstroom

Sunday
Lions beat the Eagles by two runs – OUTsurance Oval, Bloemfontein

Upcoming fixtures
Today
First semi-final: Lions vs Titans – Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg: 6.00pm

Friday
Second semi-final: Warriors vs Cobras – St George’s, Port Elizabeth: 6.00pm

Hekkie Budler

Hekkie Budler

‘Hexecutioner’ out to make a statement
Crowd favourite Hekkie ‘The Hexecutioner’ Budler (pictured left) gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he swaps leather with Philippine veteran Juanito Rubillar for the vacant International Boxing Organisation (IBO) junior flyweight title in Kempton Park on Saturday evening. The diminutive South African (13-0; 5 KO’s) will have a tough nut to crack in Rubillar (48-13-7; 23 KO’s) who has shared a ring with a number of the world’s best junior flyweights.

Many pundits believe that Budler has been overmatched in this fight, citing Rubillar’s vast experience at top level. However, the Phillipino is somewhat long in the tooth and could find himself in trouble against the tireless Budler who always applies intense pressure on his opponents with his relentless, swarming style.

In other bouts on the bill, promising youngster Thomas ‘Tommy Gun’ Oosthuizen (9-0; 7 KO’s) squares off against Zambian John Chibuta (8-3; 1 KO) for the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) International super middleweight title, while former Commonwealth bantamweight champion Tshifhiwa ‘The Atomic Spider’ Munyai (18-1-1; 9 KO’s) will trade punches with Carlo Magali (12-5-2; 6 KO’s) of the Philippines.

The action continues when rising lightweight star Jason Bedeman (10-0-1; 8 KO’s) takes on Bilal Mohammed (14-3; 11 KO’s) of Zambia and Florante Simba (2-0; 2 KO’s) tackles debutant Devi Jose in a four round cruiserweight contest. The tournament is being presented by Golden Gloves and will be held at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park. The action will be televised live on SuperSport 2 (SS2) from 7pm.

In other fight action this weekend, Zolani Tete (12-0; 11 KO’s) squares off against Richard Garcia (20-9-1; 5 KO’s) of the Philippines in an International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight eliminator scheduled for 12 rounds. The heavy handed Tete, who hails from Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape, should have the beating of the light punching Garcia who has been knocked out five times in his 30 fight career. The fight will take place at the Wembley Indoor Arena in Johannesburg and will be televised live on SABC 2 from 10pm.

In domestic action, Bonakele Bikitsha (1-0; 1 KO) engages in unarmed combat with novice Lwandile Zinto for the vacant Eastern Cape junior featherweight title. Little is known about both fighters so it’s anyone’s call as to who will emerge victorious in Mdantsane on Sunday afternoon.

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Photo Credits:
Late rally not enough as SA lose by one run – Photo – Wayne Parnell: Source – www.abc.net.au
Stormers turn back tide to sink Waratahs – Photo – Bryan Habana: Source – www.ur7s.com
Bulls the early favourites as Super 14 hots up – Photo – Morné Steyn: Source – www.lions.ireland.com
Soweto derby ends in goalless draw – Photo – Itumeleng Khune: Source – www.footballfevr.com
Titans tame Warriors to book semi-final berth – Photo – Jacques Rudolph: Source – www.content.cricinfo.com
‘Hexecutioner’ out to make a statement – Photo – Hekkie Budler: Source – www.gvgatchalian.blogspot.com

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