Jacques van der Walt hit an unbeaten 150 and Tristan Elam 87 in a third-wicket partnership of 184 to stop a charging St Stithians on their home ground in the opening two-day Fasken St David’s Time Cricket Festival match for both sides, which ended drawn in Johannesburg.
DesDesignsDot feature image (file pic) – : Jacques van der Walt on his way to 100 vs Westlake of New Zealand on Goldstones during last year’s Oppenheimer Michaelmas Cricket Week (2 October 2018).
College lost the toss and St Stithians grabbed the opportunity to take first strike. As College first XI coach and director of cricket Kyle Nipper told KZN10.com last Thursday evening: “It was a good wicket for batting, quite flat with not much in it for the bowlers. We would also have liked to bat first.
The Saints batters progressed to 308/4 off 62.4 overs in their first innings before the Maritzburg College men went in on day one.
“Our bowlers found it tough going on a pitch that was great for batting,” said Nipper.
St Stithians opener Jodi de Sousa (41) and fellow opener Cameron Rowe (37) got the Saints away to a good start before the two other top 4 batters Liam Mostert (124 not out) and Muhammad Manack (71) propelled the innings forward.
College pacemen Mondli Khumalo (1 for 67 in 13 overs) and Sanele Mbatha (1-59 in 12) plus off-spinner Chad Fortmann (2-60 in 12.4) got the Saints wickets.
College used 8 bowlers in a bid to make a breakthrough against the strong Saints batting line-up.
“They batted really well. We had a few chances that we let slip but that’s part of the game. They capitalised on some poor bowling and punished anything loose,” was Maritzburg College coach Kyle Nipper’s summation of the Saints first innings.
It was now up to College in the afternoon on Day 1 to respond. Their first innings was in all sorts of trouble at 13 for the loss of 2 wickets before first XI captain Jacques van der Walt joined opener Tristan Elam.
Said coach Nipper after the close of Day 1: “Tristan Elam (74*) and Jacques van der Walt (44*) were superb with the bat, soaked up lots of pressure in the beginning when we were 13/2 but then shared an unbeaten 125-run partnership to get us back in the game.
“(On Day 2) we will look to get the 2 batters back in again and set up stall for a bit, then hopefully keep some wickets in hand to allow us to accelerate towards the back end of the innings and set up a first-innings lead”
Elam eventually fell for 87 (131 balls, 11 fours and 1 six). The opener, together with his skipper, had put on a match-saving 184 for the third wicket.
Van der Walt was to eventually retire hurt of his own choosing, having developed a back strain after keeping wicket and then batting for a total of well over 100 overs. The captain’s unbeaten 150 came off just 175 balls and included 19 fours and 4 sixes.
Ross Klusener (53* off 45b, 4×4, 1×6) first with his captain and then Chad Fortmann (23*) steered College to declare on 352/4 in 65 overs; Saints having used 9 bowler, as College took a 44-run first innings lead.
St Stithians have a very good attack upfront and it was Tristan Brooks (3-72 from 14 overs) and fellow opener Matthew Lieberman (1-42 off 10) who got the wickets.
“Day 2 saw (our) batsmen continue, scoring freely and with great control,” said Nipper. “After a partnership of 184, Elam fell for a well-played 87, while Van der Walt kept scoring with ease and reached his century. He would end his innings on a superb 150, retiring hurt due to a back strain.”
Nipper added: “Saints came out to bat (second innings) with their only intention to bat for the rest of the (second and last) day, which they did, to reach 235/3 with Michael King (2-18 in 5) being the pick of the bowlers. The match ended in a draw.”
Jodi de Sousa (121 off 153 balls with 10 fours and 3 sixes) and Muhammad Manack (54*, 74b, 4×4 and 1×6) were the chief St Stithians second-innings run-scorers.
College’s Fortmann picked up 1 for 42 from 10 overs to join King as the wicket-takers in Saints’ second innings.
It was certainly quality time spent in the middle for a number of the players from both sides ahead of their participation in the 60th Oppenheimer Micjhaelmas Cricket Week, which starts in Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas on 21 September.
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