Great season despite unfortunate results for Inland

2015-02-24 00:00

IT was back-to-back defeats for the KZN Inland cricket team against ­Western Province in Cape Town over the weekend.

On Saturday, WP won the Sunfoil 3-Day Cup match by seven wickets while on Sunday the Capetonians clinched the Cricket South Africa T20 Challenge match by 33 runs.

Inland still had a superb season, ­finishing an overall third in the four-day rankings and very unfortunate not to reach the final, as reigning champions, in the 50-over format.

The T20 Challenge has little value in terms of silverware as there is neither a final nor trophy to be awarded this season. That was scrapped after the original plan that the contest would have been incorporated into a competition that was to have been held on a wider scale fell through.

Inland put WP in and the home team compiled 151 for seven in their 20 ­allotted overs with opener Yaseen Vallie getting 32 as the top of the order put on 38 and 29 by the halfway stage.

Inland struck back and at 77 for four in the 14th over the WP innings had reached a pivotal point.

And it was Inland’s nemesis, the hugely talented SA U19 batsman Zubayr Hamza, who had also been named the Player of the Tournament at the SA U18 Interprovincial Hockey Nationals in 2013, who led the way for WP.

The razor-sharp former hockey sharpshooter who has opted for cricket — given his rich talent, possibly a wise choice in the sense of the disparity in wages between the sports professionally — rotated the strike to great effect. This allowed for Aviwe Mgijima (16 off nine balls) and in particular George ­Linde (32* off 12, three sixes, one four) to tee off at everything flung their way.

Attie Maposa, entering the attack as the second-change, took three for 26. The Inland left-arm quick, as well as captain and seamer Shane Burger, ­left-arm spinner Kyle Nipper and ­right-arm medium-fast St Charles ­College product Gareth Dukes, all went for under seven per over.

Chasing a 152-run victory target, Inland started disastrously, losing Suhail Razack to a run out off the third ball of the innings and the competition’s most successful player at this tier of the game in SA, Nipper, to the sixth ball.

The ever-consistent SJ Erwee (28 off 27) steadied the listing Inland ship and put on 49 for the third wicket with Ruan Pretorius (20 off 22), but the rest of the Inland batters fell relatively quickly and cheaply, apart from wicketkeeper ­Tshepang Dithole (26* off 25). Linde completed a great game for WP with four for 19 as Inland, at 118 for nine, ­ended 34 runs short of success.

Erwee, the richly talented St Charles College product, is surely going to kick on to the higher levels of the game. A class act, Erwee surely deserves ­Dolphins recognition in the franchise four-day competition against the Knights in Durban from this Thursday, especially given the Durban-based side’s woeful second innings in the ­capitulation to the Lions in Johannesburg. Dolphins number three Daniel Sincuba made 0 and 4.

There are five Sunfoil Series four-day matches left for the Dolphins and they simply have to give Erwee an extended run.

There were welcome list A debuts for Inland’s Maritzburg College products Sohail Mahmoud and Kurtlyn ­Mannikam.

3-Day scores in brief: Inland 1st inn 212. WP 1st inn 249. Inland 2nd inn 163 (Suhail Razack 36, Kyle Nipper 30; Mpilo Njoloza 5-42). WP 2nd inn 125/3 (Clyde Fortuin 51, Matt Kleinveldt 51*). WP won by 7 wkts.

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