Thursday, 19 December 2019

On moving day in the country’s premier youth tournament, Western Province and Eastern Province sealed their places in the unofficial final of the Khaya Majola Cricket Week in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Thursday.

Nicholas Keevy scored a match-winning century in EP’s 58-run victory against Northerns, while South Africa under-19s fast bowler, Siya Plaatjie, shone to help WP earn a thrilling two-run win against last year’s winners of the main match, the Central Gauteng Lions.

With the 50-over cricket the order of the day for the remainder of the tournament, there were wins for Boland, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal Coastal with Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Northern Cape also picking up deserved victories.

In one of the two matches between the week’s form sides, EP won the toss and chose to bat first, posting a commanding 239/8 thanks to contributions from Jade Smith (51 off 86 balls; 6 fours) and Keevy, who combined for an important 88-run, second-wicket stand.

Although the side from Port Elizabeth suffered a middle-order collapse, Keevy struck eight fours and one six on his way to an unbeaten 125-ball 102 to propel his team over the 200-run mark despite key wickets from Merrick Brett (3/28) and Zeeshan Ismail (3/48).

In their chase, Northerns lost wickets at regular intervals early on, struggling on 57/5, with Siphesihle Madlongolwana (3/20) leading the charge for EP. An undefeated 44 (20) from Daniel van der Merwe was not enough as Northerns fell short, bowled out for 181.

Taking on Gauteng, who had a hundred percent record going into the clash, WP put their best foot forward when they posted 243/5 in their 50 overs after Daniel Smith (87 off 122 balls; 9 fours, 1 six) and Lehan Botha’s (64 off 86 balls; 5 fours) mammoth partnership. The pair put on 137 runs for the third wicket before Guy Sheena smashed an 18-ball 30 batting at number seven.

After a strong start in their reply thanks to Cameron Rowe (61 off 60 balls; 10 fours) and Heinrigh Pieterse’s (57 off 86 balls; 3 fours, 1 six) half-centuries, Gauteng was brought back down to earth by two avoidable run outs and crucial breakthroughs led by Plaatjie’s brilliant bowling.

The right-armer picked up the wickets of Emmanuel Motswiri (31) and captain, Sebastian de Oliveira before showing big match temperament to successfully defend six runs off the last over, taking Gauteng’s last two wickets and helping his side clinch a famous two-run win.

In the other matches on Day 4, Ruan Terblanche (108* off 131 balls;8 fours) recorded the day’s second hundred along with a timely 53 from Andrew Whaits to inspire Boland to a convincing 78-run triumph over Easterns, for whom Leandar Lubbe (54) also notched up a fifty.

In Free State’s victory over KwaZulu-Natal Inland, Mondli Khumalo claimed a stunning hat-trick and figures of 5/35 in a losing effort as his side’s total of 146 all out was chased down by the team from Bloemfontein with 14 overs to spare.

Marco de Kock’s 85 off 110 balls (9 fours, 1 six) was the deciding factor in his team’s successful innings.

Limpopo’s Tiaan Enslin took 5/23 in their close one-wicket win over Namibia, while KZN Coastal’s Thulani Chiliza (4/16) and Gareth Beavan (69) led from the front with the ball and bat, respectively to beat North West by four wickets.

Meanwhile, Nonelela Yikha scored an impressive 68* in his team’s five-wicket loss against Northern Cape, whilst Mpumalanga secured a 38-run triumph over South Western Districts.

Khaya Majola Cricket Week – Day 5 Fixtures

Western Province vs Eastern Province (PMB Oval)

Central Gauteng Lions vs Northerns (St Charles College)

Mpumalanga vs Boland (MHS Gathorne Oval)

Border vs Namibia (MHS Meadows Oval)

Free State vs KZN Coastal (MHS Hannahs Oval)

Northern Cape vs Limpopo (Hilton – Weightman-Smith Oval)

Easterns vs SWD (Hilton – Hart-Davis Oval)

KZN Inland vs North West (Weston – Patterson Oval)