Match Report

18 Feb 2017 & 25 Feb 2017 - First XI (1A) vs Durbanville

On: 22 Feb 2017

Having played themselves into an unassailable position of power after completely dominating the first day's play from start to finish in their Two-Day match against Cape Town at the Ed Fivaz Oval, Durbanville duly wrapped up a crushing innings victory over their guests barely an hour after Lunch on Day Two.  The thumping has probably effectively ended Cape Town's last lingering hopes of securing any silverware in the 2016/17 season, slipping them down two places on the log to fifth - now a substantial 27 points behind leaders Bellville with just two rounds left to play.

The visitors had begun their second innings at the start of Day Two trailing by a massive 133 runs on the first innings, clearly needing a special kind of miracle just to avoid defeat.  It was soon clear, however, that there was to be no such salvation for them.  Facing a largely pinpoint accurate attack on a slow pitch surrounded by an even slower outfield, as they had on Day One Cape Town again found themselves hard-pressed to find any runs, and the scoring rate only once – very briefly - reached two to the over as a result.  Indeed, whenever a batsman tried to attack, he invariably got himself out instead.  Thus the home side merely picked up again from where they had left off the week before, systematically working their way through the Cape Town batting line-up at little cost to themselves.

As on the first morning, left-arm paceman Brandon Viret made the early inroads, dismissing both opening batsmen within the first hour.  Still, by the mid-session drinks break the visitors had lost no further wickets and were still looking like they might just make a fight of it - until first-innings bowling hero Pieter Malan made a double breakthrough immediately afterwards to trigger a mini-collapse of three for seven in 20 balls.  That reduced Cape Town to 33 for five, and effectively ended any last doubts about the match's outcome.

By the Lunch interval 40 minutes later they were six down already, and after the break opening bowler Nathan Swartz returned to quickly run through the lower middle order with three wickets in four overs.  Home team skipper Kuda Samunderu - sending down the only five overs of spin used by Durbanville in the entire match - then wrapped up the crushing win with his second scalp, skittling the visitors for a paltry 82 from 50 painstaking overs.  Their sad total represented Cape Town’s lowest ever total against Durbanville since the sides met for the very first time in their respective histories in March 2005, and was also Cape Town’s first innings defeat in twelve seasons.

The seeds of Durbanville's triumph had already been sown on Day One though, when, after winning the toss to insert Cape Town on a pitch offering decent assistance to the seamers, they took immediate control of proceedings with a wicket in the very first over - and never thereafter relinquished that dominance for even a moment.  Viret struck that first blow for the home side just three minutes into the encounter, and by the end of his fourth over he had reduced the visitors even further to a rather shaky eight for two.  Opening bat Mathew Goles and his skipper William Hantam tried hard to steady the ship for Cape Town thereafter, holding out for 15 overs together until shortly after the mid-session drinks break.  They never looked convincing against a swinging ball, but they did give the visitors some expectation of reasonably successfully riding out the storm as the side moved to within 15 minutes of the Lunch interval with seven wickets still in hand.

Disaster then struck though, as Malan, having just rejoined the attack for his second spell, struck three times in eight deliveries during the course of those final 15 minutes of the morning session.  With Viret chipping in with a third scalp at the other end too, Cape Town consequently lost four wickets for two runs in 14 deliveries, taking them into the Lunch interval on a calamitous 71-7.  It was a meltdown from which no recovery was possible, though Hantam tried bravely to lead from the front by digging in obstinately for more than 3½ hours of protracted defiance while marshalling a further 1½ hours’ worth of resistance from the last three wickets after the break.  The bowling was never bested though, the total painstakingly inching forward at under two to the over.  Thus, when Malan failed to dislodge Hantam, he simply went around him instead.  As a result, although some four catches ultimately went down off his bowling, Malan duly wrapped up the tail to complete his five-for and knock the visitors over for just 115.

Needing to strike early and often in the 50 minutes remaining before Tea if they were to claw themselves back into the match, the visitors’ new-ball bowlers instead made poor use of the conditions – and the home side’s opening pair of Samunderu and Byron Boshoff took full advantage.  Allowed to strike boundaries on both sides of the wicket, the pair hit nine fours in the twelve overs sent down before the interval, allowing them to race along at more than five to the over and take Durbanville into a very handsome position indeed at 61 without loss.

Cape Town regained a measure of control for a while once the evening session began, Marc de Beer joining the attack to dismiss both openers in consecutive overs.  When a third wicket went down soon thereafter too, the visitors were hanging in there and threatening to make a contest out of it after all.  They might even have managed to do so, had they been able to capitalise on a very nervous start to his innings by Dale Campbell.  Beaten repeatedly and managing just three singles from his first 24 balls faced, he offered chances in two successive overs before he had reached double figures.  Both chances were grassed though, and thereafter he increasingly found his feet.  Guiding Durbanville into a first-innings lead with seven wickets and 30 overs in hand, Campbell then found fluency in partnership with Hayes van den Berg.  Four boundaries in fairly quick succession brought him within sight of his fifty, which he duly reached from 88 balls faced.  Van den Berg at the other end played the perfect supporting role, striking just one boundary during his 23 overs at the crease, but turning over the strike regularly in his 77-run stand with Campbell.

Eventually left-arm spinner Tommy Jansen dismissed them both in successive overs, thereby reaching 50 Two-Day career wickets for the Cape Town First XI, but that only served to bring Nathan Swartz to the crease.  With a lead of 84 already established, Swartz’s mandate was to maximise that advantage to the full in the six overs remaining to him before the compulsory 60-over declaration, and he managed that in some style.  With three overs left the lead was still in double-digit territory, but a stunning assault in the last two overs in particular brought 35 additional runs as Swartz hammered two sixes and three fours in an undefeated 28-ball blitz of 41.  That boost propelled Durbanville to just shy of the 250-run mark, giving them a massive first-innings advantage of 133 runs by the close.  As it turned out, that was more than enough to secure a very handsome victory the following week.