An absolute cliff-hanger of a 2018 Varsity Cricket final saw Tuks reclaim the Varsity Cricket title with a 5 wicket victory with 2 balls to spare at Senwes Park.
The heroes for Tuks were Niel Brand (59 off 57) with an unbeaten half century as he carried his bat together with Corbin Bosch (41 off 21) as they took Tuks to victory with the score on 157/5, surpassing NWU’s 154/4.
Bosch played a brilliant cameo as he and Brand hit a match winning unbeaten 78 run stand to silence the home fans. NWU batted first and got off to a decent start with Janneman Malan and Shane Dadswell hitting a few glorious boundaries that got the partisan crowd pumping.
Their opening partnership of 47 was ended when Gideon Peters got the big wicket of Dadswell caught by Katleho Bala at cover with an excellent back pedalling catch. Tuks’ spinners began to assert their authority with Niel Brand putting in a tidy spell of (2/21) and in the process getting the wicket of Bredenkamp for 1.
Ruan Haasbroek (48 off 36) and Malan (53 off 51) then put up a fantastic partnership as they brought NWU past the 100-run mark in the high pressure environment. Malan departed shortly afterwards for a well played 52, as he became Brand’s second wicket.
Haasbroek and Van Wyngaardt then pushed NWU to a competitive score of 155/4 at the end of 20 overs with the former hitting the final ball of the innings for six. Haasbroek then continued his great form when he got the massive wicket of De Zorzi LBW for a golden duck.
Mitchell van Buuren and Brand then started a good partnership, but then NWU struck back with Katleho Leokaoke taking a brilliant catch, diving forward in the deep to get rid of Van Buuren. Leokaoke was at it again as he took another catch in the deep to send Ruben Hermann packing for 4 with Julian Soutter getting his second wicket.
Tensions were high at the strategy break as Tuks needed 96 from 60 balls with 7 wickets in hand. NWU got the better start after drinks, when Dyllan Matthews clean bowled Katleho Bala to leave Tuks on 66/4.
NWU’s spinners were wreaking havoc at this stage as Ferreira played a rash shot to give Leokaoke his first wicket of the night. Tuks’ opener Brand though was still the danger man and he held the innings together with Corbin Bosch.
Van Wyngaardt bowled the crucial Power Play Plus over and kept things tight until the final two overs with Tuks needing 20 from 12. Bosch, though, hit Soutter for a massive six and from there on Tuks took the momentum and sealed the win in the final over to snatch the win from under NWU’s noses.
In the end Tuks showed their pedigree and BMT with a brilliant showing when it mattered most.
Samsung Man of The Match: Niel Brand (Tuks)
FNB Best Batsman: Niel Brand (Tuks)
FNB Best Bowler:
Steers Best Catch:
Samsung Player of the Tournament: Niel Brand (Tuks)
By Wouter Pienaar