The curtain-raising eKasi Challenge in Soweto saw the Highveld Lions beat the Titans by 18 runs on Wednesday.
Acting as a curtain-raiser for the domestic cricket season, the match was not short of quality, displaying a blend of experience and budding stars of the future. Temba Bavuma backed up his recent ODI call-up with a century, while fans got to see Proteas batsmen Stephen Cook and Farhaan Behardien in action.
With over 800 school kids attending, the match was as a good example for the promotion of the game and as a blueprint for the future using cricket as the main ingredient to develop sport at a grassroots level. Those who attended were not disappointed as they witnessed Bavuma’s century (117 off 118 balls). Devon Conway also put on a controlled display of batting scoring 65 runs, as the Lions posted 308-8 at the end of their 50 overs.
The hosts started their innings in a shaky manner with an Aiden Markram run-out towards the end of the second over. Grant Mokoena’s incredible batting display helped steady the match as he edged towards his century picking up helpful partnerships on his way to posting 103 off 158 balls. Eighteen-year-old wonder-kid Wiaan Mulder weighed in with a wicket, while Nono Pongolo (1-41) dismissed the danger man shortly after he lost his partners Behardien (39) and Daniel Sincuba (29). Heinrich Klaasen did well to power on keeping Titans in the match with a hard earned 45 off 40 balls, but he lost his wicket to Keith Dudgeon (3-42) who also picked up the wickets of the dangerous Albie Morkel (21) and Eldred Hawken (0) shortly after.
After a hard fought chase by the Titans, they could not cross the line as they were bowled out for 290 as the Lions claimed their fourth eKasi challenge trophy with the 18-run victory.