Match Report

5 Nov 2017 - First XI (1A) vs Durbanville

On: 6 Nov 2017

The Cape Town Cricket Club First XI’s recent hoodoo in terms of T20 Semi-Finals continued unabated in 2017/18, as they duly lost their fourth such knock-out match in a row (having begun this unfortunate sequence in 2013/14, after losing in the Final in 2012/13 and missing out on qualifying for the semi-finals last season) – this time against reigning format champions Durbanville at the Ed Fivaz Oval in Durbanville.  Ultimately it went down to the last over, as the visitors rallied strongly in the closing stages to almost snatch what would’ve been a famous victory, but in the end their season-opening run of four consecutive T20 round-robin wins was destined to go unrewarded.

Cape Town had elected to bat first upon winning the toss, but their youthful top order’s lack of experience was evidenced by a slew of ill-advised overly-attacking strokes that had the first four wickets down by barely the halfway mark of the innings - for a combined return of just 26 runs between the departing batsmen.  Veterans William Hantam and Brendan Young worked hard to repair that damage, and due almost entirely to their efforts the visitors ultimately managed to post a competitive total in the end.  Hantam, forced into a consolidation role that left him unable to score off more than half of his 46 balls faced, eventually became the second victim for home team provincial left-arm spinner George Linde, but his efforts had allowed Young a bit more freedom in the closing overs to reach his second-highest career score in the format, from just 33 balls faced.

Indeed, at 123-5 with three overs remaining and Young going well, the visitors were consequently still looking good for a decent finish, but Durbanville’s seam pairing of Leon le Roux and Brandon Viret pulled things back well for the home side – despite contributing further to a generous ration of wides conceded – to keep the hosts well in the frame.

That belief was quickly magnified when Durbanville began their chase, skipper Kuda Samunderu taking 20 runs personally off the opening two overs to get his side off to a flier.  Both openers fell soon thereafter in consecutive overs, but the early momentum that they provided had paved the way for the home side to storm to 63 from the opening six-over PowerPlay – perfectly positioned for a controlled cruise to victory from there without the drama of escalating run rate issues to worry about.

If that initial dominance had laid the foundation for victory, the subsequent half-hour or so thereafter seemed to have all but assured it – as veteran provincial batsmen Jean Strydom and Pieter Malan then combined in a 66-run third-wicket partnership that was all class.  In truth not a lot went Cape Town’s way, with any number of the inevitable mishits dropping safely short and/or wide of despairing fielders, but that took nothing away from a batting demonstration that both put the bad ball away while also still working singles from the good balls.  At the height of their stand between overs eight and twelve as a result, 39 runs were added while just five deliveries were not scored off, leaving Durbanville fairly cruising to victory – needing just 42 more from eight overs with eight wickets in hand.

Twenty20-over matches are seldom that simple though, and visiting skipper Geoff Dods finally got the breakthrough for his side to end Malan’s run-a-ball innings in somewhat anti-climactic fashion with a bunt to short fine leg.  It was just the opportunity that Cape Town needed though, especially when Strydom followed him back barely ten minutes later to end a 33-ball knock of 37.  That left two new batsmen at the crease, and Dods coerced them both to hole out to the same boundary rider within the space of three balls. 

That undoubtedly threw an element of momentary panic into the Durbanville ranks, as two batsmen who had yet to face a ball, now needed to find 19 from the last two overs.  Suddenly from nowhere Cape Town now had their noses in front - and might even have been considered to be favourites to win from there.  However, having been given that sudden and unexpected sniff of hope, it was then cruelly snatched away from them just as quickly - the home side’s two new Stellenbosch University acquisitions calmly taking 18 off the penultimate over to put the outcome beyond doubt.  Thus Durbanville were through to defend their title (which they duly successfully achieved, later in the day), leaving Cape Town with just Two-Day cricket to concentrate on for the rest of the season.