T20 a fitting climax to Inland club season

2011-03-31 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Premier League’s Twenty20 competition tomorrow and Saturday brings to an end the most exciting club season in years.

In general terms, the clubs’ first XI teams have been more competitive, the standard of cricket has been higher and the KZN Inland Cricket Union’s innovations — in which they have tweaked the rules and regulations here and there — have been to the benefit of the players and clubs, and have met with considerable success.

The KZN Inland T20 knockout competition is a great way to end the season with a bang and presents the perfect opportunity for those players and supporters outside the ambit of their club’s first XI squad to come along and support their premier team.

The action takes place as a day-night affair at the Maritzburg Oval from 4 pm to 10.30 pm tomorrow when the first two quarter-finals see Premier 40 champions Standard against Cosmos (4 pm) followed by Young Natalians versus Varsity (7.30 pm).

Saturday’s last-eight fare begins at the University grounds off Golf Road when Ladysmith’s K&L tackle Midlands on the Varsity Oval from 9 am and Lancashire meet Premier 55/50 champs Zingari at the same time on the university’s number-two oval.

At the same time across the way at the PMB Oval, the first semi-final will see the winners of tomorrow’s Standard-Cosmos clash take on the victors from the Young Natalians-Varsity encounter.

The winners of the quarter-finals at Varsity then come across to the PMB Oval for the second semi-final, which takes place from 1 pm to 4 pm and will see the victors in the K&L-Midlands clash facing the winners of the Lancs-Zingari battle.

Saturday’s KZN Inland T20 grand final then takes place under the PMB Oval lights from 6 pm to 9 pm.

The KZN Inland Premier 55/50 competition ended as a damp squib last Sunday with all the matches washed out by the inclement weather.

Premier 40 runners-up Zingari won the title with a total of 112 points with Lancashire (72), Standard (53) and Midlands (48) in their wake. They were followed by Varsity, K&L, Young Natalians and Cosmos.

The final KZN Coastal Premier 50 averages make for interesting reading. Crusaders’ Grant Hodnett topped the batting averages by a country mile with 866 runs at 72,17, while former PMB boys Gareth Roderick and SJ Erwee (both DHS Rhythm) were in third and fourth place, respectively.

KZN Coastal and Dolphins leg-spinner Abdul Razak was the top bowler and joint-leading wicket-taker with 38 scalps at just over seven runs apiece. Crusaders’ Mark Johnson was second with 38 wickets at 10. Erwee finished in 14th spot.

The KZN Coastal T20 League was also blighted by the weekend weather, leaving DHS Rhythm winning pool A just ahead of Crusaders, while Pinetown topped pool B with Berea Rovers second.

In women’s cricket, the inter-provincial derby between KZN Inland and the powerful KZN Coastals side was pretty much one-way traffic at the Varsity Oval over the weekend.

Inland were all out for 57 in 37 overs with Cheri Cannon hitting 40. Coastal’s Rashika Maharaj (five wickets for three runs) destroyed Inland’s hopes of giving their bowlers something decent to defend.

Coastal won the match by eight wickets, finishing on 59 for two with Nikita Sole unbeaten on 25.

Meanwhile, the KZN Coastal team to meet Northerns in the Provincial Challenge encounters in Pretoria from Thursday is as follows: Khaya Zondo (capt), Cody Chetty, Bradley Barnes, Byron Whatmore, Nashen Govender, Cameron Delport, Keshav Maharaj, Brendon Young, Keagan Eccles, Abdul Razak, Bruce Kruger, Vyash Gobind and Gareth Roderick. Coach: Simon Sakhele.

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