University of Pretoria (UP-Tuks) won their final group stage match by beating the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (Madibaz) by 36 runs on Friday at the NWU-Puk Oval in Potchefstroom.
Madibaz were off to a flying start when Jason Davidson claimed the wicket of Sean Phillips in the opening over, caught behind by wicket-keeper Vian Maritz. All-rounder Thomas Kaber carried the Tuks batting innings on his shoulders. The former Affies player was the highest scorer for UP-Tuks on 62 as he steered his side to a score of 169/8 in their allotted twenty overs.
Captain Tony de Zorzi was next in and somewhat steadied the innings for the defending champions. De Zorzi along with opener Jiveshan Pillay kept the scoreboard ticking with a partnership of 25 runs for the second wicket. It was however short-lived as the Madibaz struck in quick succession, Pillay in the fifth and de Zorzi in the sixth over for 6 and 24 runs respectively.
Eighteen-year-old Pillay played a mistimed slog from the brilliant bowling of Solo Nqweni, which found the top edge of his bat and taken comfortably at mid-wicket by Tian Koekemoer. In the following over, Koekemoer struck again, this time with the ball as he bowled de Zorzi for 24.
Rubin Hermann and Kaber, in similar fashion to de Zorzi and Phillips, seemed as though their partnership would bring some stability to the Tuks innings. The men from Pretoria just couldn’t get the right momentum to establish a good run chase for the Madibaz. With the score on 65/3 in the tenth over, Koekemoer struck again when he clipped the bails of Hermann. Suddenly, halfway through their innings, UP-Tuks found themselves in desperate need of a few runs. In the 11th over Kirwin Christoffels delivered a gem of a ball which sent Blake Schraader packing after adding just two runs to his side’s score.
Tuks found themselves at 67/5 and posting any decent total for the Madibaz was a huge ask. Right hand-batsmen Thomas Kaber along with Migael Pretorius restored the dignity of the defending champions. The Powerplay Plus Over worked very well for Tuks, they scored nine runs which was doubled and brought up their century, 106/5. The pair posted a healthy partnership of 55 runs, with Kaber making his half-century and Pretorius supporting him brilliantly by adding 21 runs before he was bowled by Brad Haller in the 16th over with Tuks on 122/6.
In his fourth and final over Jason Davidson claimed the very important wicket of the in-form Kaber after Koekemoer took a brilliant catch on the long-off boundary. The Namibian-born bowler claimed the wicket of Abel Mokhuane off his last delivery in the 19th over, Tuks were on 151/8. A massive 17 runs, which included two fours and a six, was added by Craig Kirsten and Ruben Trumpelmann in the final over of the Tuks’ innings, setting a target of 169 for Madibaz at a run rate of 8.72 per over.
The Madibaz were off to a rather shaky start, they lost the wicket of Michael Hansel in the opening over when Pillay took a catch while running in off the long-on boundary, off the bowling of Pretorius. Madibaz only managed to add 20 runs over in their first four overs before another wicket fell. Wicket-keeper Maritz played a rather indecisive shot which was comfortably taken at deep mid-wicket by Pretorius. Madibaz soon found themselves in worrisome conditions, with a run rate of 5.00, almost half of what was required, on 32/2.
Craig Kirsten dealt another devastating blow for the Madibaz when he took the wicket of Mathew Christensen which meant that both batsmen at the crease were new with the score on 42/3. The right-hand batsman added 26 runs.
Just before drinks the top scoring batsman for Tuks, Kaber, stepped up and took the wicket of Koekemoer, trapped before his wicket, LBW.
Madibaz called for the Powerplay Plus Over ahead of the 12th over, at this stage they required 108 from 48 deliveries. They could only add 15 runs but what made the 12th over even more painful for the Port Elizabeth side was when Onke Nyaku was forced to retire on seven runs after he picked a nasty injury that did not allow him to continue batting.
Madibaz were on 76/4 with a run rate of 6.33 but requiring 11.62 runs per over. The Tuks bowling attack restricted the Madibaz’ batsmen, Solo Ngweni and Aubrey Ferreira, to just nine runs in the 13th and 14th over. Ngweni was the next to head back into the locker rooms after he was run-out for 18 runs, Madibaz were 94/4 and in serious trouble. Next to go out was Ferreira, caught and bowled by Kaber.
Despite requiring a mammoth 18 runs per over for a victory, the Madibaz never gave up. Kevin Carroll and Davidson stood their ground, but matters seemed to be getting worse for Madibaz when Carroll lost his wicket in 18th over.
Madibaz needed 55 runs off the last two overs, which meant they needed to score 27 runs from 12 balls. Davidson hit a six and four off the first two balls of the 19th over, which seemed like light there was light at the end of the tunnel after all. A carefully placed short-ish delivery from Kirsten tempted Davidson to pull the ball for the maximum, but the ball did not clear the boundary rope which de Zorzi comfortably took. Tuks went onto to secure a (44) run victory and with that qualify for the 2017 Varsity Cricket semi-finals on Saturday.
FNB Best Bowler: Craig Kirsten (Tuks)
Steers Best Batsman: Thomas Kaber (Tuks)
Samsung Man of the Match: Thomas Kaber (Tuks)
By Lyndon Julius