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Maties hit the knockout punch to lift maiden Varsity Cricket title

Maties are the Varsity Cricket champions after a commanding batting display took them to a 5-wicket victory against the NWU at the Tuks Oval.

Maties captain, Lehan Botha played an assured captain’s innings of 25* (29), whilst Don Glover 21* (8) finished the game off with two fours and a massive six to put the cherry on top.

SA u.19 captain, George van Heerden with 35 (28), also played a major part in sealing the deal for a deserving Maties outfit who put a master class on chasing a target in a pressure-filled final. The Maroon Machine reached its target of 162 with 14 balls to spare the powerplay in both innings gave Maties the advantage they needed to seal the deal and lift the crown.

Chasing 162 for their first Varsity Cricket victory, the Maties got off to a speedy start reaching 40/2 after two frenetic overs. Ethan Cunningham looked in supreme touch with 20 (6) before he lost his wicket to JP King.

Maties continued on their merry way with Van Heerden 35 (28) providing momentum in classy innings as they chipped away at the target.

Edumisa Dlulemnyango (2/22) bowled Van Heerden to give the NWU a glimmer of hope, but by then Maties were already cruising to victory with a required run rate below 6 an over.

Glover just added the knockout blow with boundaries to put NWU out for a 10-count.

ded to bat making the perfect start when in-form openers Eben Botha 56 (38) and JP King (75 off 53) put on 118 for the first wicket. This was also the highest opening stand of the tournament as Botha and King both smashed the ball to all parts laying their willow on anything loose.

The left- and right-handed combination frustrated Maties as they accumulated 89/0 after the first 10 overs. Maties will also not be happy with their fielding having dropped a couple of chances in a crunch game early on.

They finally got the breakthrough in the Powerplay over when the Player of the Tournament, Benjamin Ward, got the crucial wicket of Botha after the latter tried to up the scoring rate.

Ward showed he had the magic arm when he also got the wicket of NWU captain, Chris Britz in the same over for a duck to turn the game in Maties favour.

In the next over, the pick of Maties bowlers on the day, Phillip Kleynhans (2/18), struck as Heinrigh Pieterse was dismissed LBW for a golden duck. In the next couple of overs, the Maties had the upper hand with tight and economical bowling as they managed to restrict NWU to 161/5 with great death bowling. The NWU will feel that they ended 20-30 runs short after such a fantastic opening partnership.

This proved to be the case as Maties’ supreme ability in chasing targets in this tournament once again came to the fore as they can now add the Varsity Cricket title to their trophy-laden cabinet.

By Wouter Pienaar


NWU: 161/5 – 20 overs

Maties: 164/5 – 17.4 overs

Maties beat NWU by 5 wickets

Suzuki Player of the tournament: Benjamin Ward (Maties)

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