Madibaz the new Club Champs
Captain Umar Abrahams and Man of the Match Rudi Second shared an unbeaten second wicket partnership of 161 to guide Mecer NMMU Madibaz to a resounding nine-wicket victory over the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and clinch the 2011 Cricket South Africa (CSA) National Club Championships title at SuperSport Park Stadium on Saturday.
The Madibaz were the form team in the tournament, which involved 12 clubs from around the country. They were unbeaten throughout the week, although they had a battle royal against Tuks on Friday, squeaking home by three runs in what was a virtual semifinal, and they dominated UJ from the start of the rain-interrupted final.
UJ, who were also unbeaten in the round robin stage of the competition, won the toss and chose to bat first. It was their worst performance of the week, as wickets tumbled throughout their innings, with Andre Seymore falling in the first over to set the pattern.
Only Craig Currin (46) and Anton van Nieuwenhuizen (44) made any meaningful runs, with the rest failing to get past 20. They UJ batsmen failed to build partnerships, with the biggest partnership the 41 runs for the third wicket between Currin and Matt McGillivray.
The Madibaz shared the wickets among them, with Brent Kops, Sisanda Magalka, Simon Harmer and Konrad de Villiers taking two wickets each, while David White and Lionel Vaaltyn weighed in with one wicket apiece. UJ were all out for 170, with three balls remaining.
With the match reduced to 42 overs a side, the Madibaz were given a revised target of 174 for victory. Shaun Jamison bowled White in the third over to give UJ a momentary sniff of hope, but superb batting by Abrahams (60) and Second (86) had the UJ bowlers toiling in vain. Second faced 101 deliveries and hit 10 fours and three sixes, including a massive six to end the match.
“All our hard work pre-season paid off,” beamed an ecstatic Abrahams. “We knew it was going to be a tough week, and we thought it might be very difficult today, with an early season pitch and the ball going all over the place.”
He ascribed the Madibaz’ success to teamwork, but said Second, White and Colin Ackerman had all shone at different stages during the week.
“Most of our team are in the amateur provincial team, but I think quite a few of them are knocking on the door for selection to the Warriors franchise team,” he said. “Rudi, in particular, has been on the verge of selection for some time, and I think the selectors will find it hard ignore him after his performance here.”
For UJ, it was heartbreak for the second time in two days – on Friday, the UJ rugby team lost to Pukke in the final of the rugby club championships, but manager Karel Mouton said he was very proud of the way the team had played throughout the tournament.
“We gave our all, but we lost to a better team today,” he said.
CSA Senior Cricket Manager Max Jordaan said the tournament had been a resounding success.
“The club championships provide an excellent platform for young players to show off their talent, and that has been the case once again,” he said.
“The club championships are a microcosm of cricket development and are the bedrock of skills development,” he said.