Friday, 20 December 2019

A superb hat-trick from Ethan Frosler, combined with three crucial half-centuries from the batsmen, helped Eastern Province earn a historic 98-run victory against Western Province in the unofficial final at the Khaya Majola Cricket Week in Pietermaritzburg on Friday.

Frosler finished with figures of four for 26, taking the four wickets in consecutive deliveries as EP restricted WP to 159 all out after the team from Port Elizabeth posted a commanding 257/7 thanks to fifties from the captain, Luke Beaufort, James Mullins and Nicholas Keevy.

On Day 5 of the under-19, inter-provincial tournament there were wins for the Central Gauteng Lions, Free State, Boland, Easterns, North West and Northern Cape, while Namibia claimed their only success of the Week against Border.

After losing the toss and being asked to bat first in overcast conditions at the City Oval, EP recovered from losing opener, Jade Smith, for a duck, as Mullins and Keevy put on a dominant 133-run partnership for the second wicket. The former amassed 61 off 91 balls (4 fours), while Keevy continued his strong form, raising his bat for his second half-century of the week, notching up a 106-ball 77 (3 fours, 1 six). 

The pair looked unbeatable at the crease, before Jonathan Bird made the breakthrough with his left-arm unorthodox spin, removing both batsmen in relatively quick succession.

Those wickets brought Beaufort to the crease, who, although, began to lose partners around him, showed exactly why he’s been picked to represent the South Africa under-19s at next year’s World Cup. The wicket-keeper batsman dispatched five fours and one six as he raced to 79 off 65 balls to give his side a defendable total.

Bird led the bowling chart for WP, with a return of three for 29 in 10 overs.

In their chase, WP fell victim to some brilliant pace bowling from Siyathemba Mdlankomo (2/27) and Elih Thorne (2/11), with Keevy (1/25) and Aiden Meyer (1/29) also chipping in with spin. The team from Cape Town lost wickets early on and never fully recovered before an inspired spell from Frosler took the game away from them in the 38th and 40th over.

The right-armer bowled with speed and accuracy to take the wickets of Tebogo Faas (24), Guy Sheena (0) and Siya Plaatjie (0) to claim the tournament’s third hat-trick this year, before taking his fourth on the first ball of his next over to leave WP reeling on 138/9.

Despite efforts to hang around from WP’s tail-enders, Mdlankomo took the final wicket to help crown EP as the unofficial champions of the Khaya Majola Week for the first time since 2003.

Elsewhere, the first of two hundreds on Day 5 came from Ruan Terblanche’s bat (122 off 140 balls; 11 fours) as Boland claimed a mammoth 160-run win over Mpumalanga. Border’s Stuart Else scored an unbeaten 102 (off 132 balls; 7 fours) in his side’s surprise defeat against Namibia, as the visiting nation chased down 220 with five wickets to spare. 

JP Coetzee’s fiery 96 off 94 balls (7 fours, 4 sixes) helped Free State also earn a five-wicket triumph over KwaZulu-Natal Coastal, whilst a Man of the Match performance from Maxwell Meyer (81) gave Easterns a dominant 101-run win over South Western Districts.

Meanwhile, North West and Gauteng also ended their Khaya Majola Week’s on a positive note with victories over KwaZulu-Natal Inland and Northerns, respectively. Northern Cape sealed their second victory of the week by beating Limpopo by 56 runs.

Scorecards from the 50-over matches on the fifth and final day of the Khaya Majola Cricket Week can be found on www.websports.co.za