Match Report

8 Oct 2017 - First XI (1A) vs Western Province CC

On: 9 Oct 2017

 

Having won their opening match the day before, the Cape Town First XI completed a very successful opening weekend of the 2017/18 season with a reasonably comfortable win over hosts Western Province CC as well – a team that they had previously only managed to beat once in their last eleven encounters across all formats since March 2007.

Playing at the Wally Wilson Oval in altogether better conditions than had prevailed the day before, Cape Town elected to bat first upon winning the toss.  Their opening pair of Mathew Goles and William Hantam gave them a dream start too, cruising to 82 without loss in the 13th over – Cape Town’s fourth-highest first-wicket partnership in the competition’s history - to set up a great platform for an all-out assault in the closing overs.  Denied much of the strike in his innings the day before, Goles hit his straps this time around in a scoring spurt of three consecutive fours, followed by a six, in the course of the fifth over, to dominate the stand thereafter.  The fifty stand came from 53 balls, and by the time that Hantam holed out to extra cover for 22 from 35 balls, looking for a fourth boundary, Goles was just one away from his own half-century.

That fifty (in just his second innings in the format) duly arrived from 43 balls faced, including three sixes and four fours, before he was adjudged lbw to left-arm spinner Dan Moriaty soon after striking a fourth six.  Goles thus became the first of three wickets spaced evenly across Moriaty’s last three overs, as the spinner went on to exert the most decisive influence over the closing overs of Cape Town’s innings.  Such was his stranglehold that the visitors were unable to find the boundary at all during overs 16 to 19 following Goles’s departure, while just 15 runs accrued to the total.  A parting salvo of 14 from the last over added a touch of respectability to the final total, but one couldn’t help feeling that after their good start, Cape Town had ended a few runs shy of posting a really challenging target.

That suspicion was only reinforced when two consecutive fours off the bat of home team skipper Derek Mitchell in each of two consecutive overs, moved Western Province CC smoothly to 28 without loss from the first five overs in reply.  However, once the first wicket fell to create an opening, off-spinner Matthew Olsen grabbed the initiative for Cape Town with both hands to turn the tide completely.  Striking in each of his first three overs, at which point his figures were an astounding 3-0-6-3, his dismissal of Mitchell (24 from 29 balls) in his second over at a stroke denied the home side any further contribution from their best batsman, gave wicketkeeper Clinton Botha the 200th dismissal of his Cape Town First XI career and handed Olsen the distinction of becoming the first Cape Town bowler to reach 50 career wickets in the T20 format.

The handbrake thus applied to the middle overs of Western Province CC’s innings – just 29 runs from six overs while losing four wickets in the process - proved decisive, as the required rate spiralled ever upwards.  Dayyan Galiem tried hard, hitting two sixes and a four in his 36 from 34 balls, but he too was unable to break the shackles, managing only singles as his last 13 scoring strokes.  Indeed, had the skied return catch offered by Michael Pepper on 7* been held, Cape Town might even have secured a bonus-point victory for themselves.  It was spilled however, allowing Pepper to remain to the end and add 16 further runs from his next seven balls faced to deny the visitors that at least.  Still, with 37 required from the last eleven balls and just three wickets in hand, Cape Town were never in any real danger of not securing the win, and though some expected tough opposition still lie in wait for the weekend ahead, two wins from two outings have left the Plumstead-based outfit well-placed as the only undefeated team left in Group A.