University of Pretoria (Tuks), University of Western Cape (UWC), University of Free State (Kovsies) and Nelson Mandela University (Madibaz B) all qualified for the final on the penultimate day of the University Sport South Africa A Week in Stellenbosch on Thursday.
Inspired by Zubayr Hamza’s call-up to the Proteas squad for the forthcoming Test series against Pakistan, UWC caused one of the big upsets of the week by ousting University of Stellenbosch (Maties), who the day before had upset Tuks.
The 23-year-old batsman did not have a chance to make too much of a physical impact on the game after his team bowled out their opponents for just 76. This thanks to 3/24 from opening bowler Shabir Mallie, with Hamza unbeaten on 10 in the end as UWC eased to their target six down in 22.1 overs to win by four wickets. Quinton Dreyer top-scored with 38.
UWC will now meet Tuks in the section A final after the Pretoria side thumped North West University (Pukke) by nine wickets in their semi-final encounter.
After winning the toss and batting, the team from Potchefstroom were rolled over for just 70 in 34.4 overs – Gideon Peters nabbing 3/18. Former South Africa U19 opener Jiveshan Pillay then struck an unbeaten 50 to take Tuks home with more than 26 overs remaining.
The hair-raising moment of the day, though, came from the clash between UFS and the University of Fort Hare, with the former bowling the latter out for a woeful six runs to win by 170 and qualify for the section B final.
The first half of the game went according to plan for Fort Hare after they won the toss and elected to field first. Thabang Sqoko grabbed 3/29 as they restricted Kovsies to 176-9. But the match turned on its head during the reply, as Fort Hare were shot out in an astounding 13.3 overs. Only one batsman made any runs – Thabo Linake contributing three – with eight ducks recorded and Athule Kotta retiring hurt. The other three runs were from extras – two wides and one leg bye.
So who were the bowlers? Beyers Swanepoel returned remarkable figures of 7-6-1-5, while Jonathan Draai was only slightly more expensive after claiming 4/4 in 6.3 overs, including five maidens.
The Free Staters will now meet Madibaz B in the final after they surprised University of Witwatersrand (Wits) with an 18-run win.
Todd Walker starred with bat and ball for the Eastern Cape outfit, first hitting 51 out of a total of 179-9, and then claiming three for 24 to help bowl out the opposition for 161.
There was another stellar all-round showing in the match between University of Johannesburg (UJ) and University of Cape Town (UCT), with Delano Potgieter starring in a slender three-run win for the Gauteng side. He struck 63 not out and Mohammed Mayet hit 75 as their side posted 213 for five. Potgieter then claimed three for 26 as UCT fell just short at 210 all out in their 50 overs.
Elsewhere, Kenan Smith took 4/32 as Madibaz A overcame Central University of Technology (CUT) by five wickets, while Ruan Havenga (5/14) helped North West University (Vaal) slay Walter Sisulu University (WSU) by 178 runs – Wilhemus Fourie (57) and Jako Hauptfleisch (59) hitting half-centuries for the winners in that game.
And finally, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) saw their winless week continue after they fell to a six-wicket loss to Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).
Thomas Hobson, who claimed 4/15 and then struck 35 in a low-scoring encounter, was the key man for TUT.
Photo: Cricket South Africa