The SA Emerging side secured a 19-run win in a nail-biting match against the University Sports South Africa in Pretoria on Monday.
Leus du Plooy hit a remarkable 103 from 108 deliveries (5 fours, 4 sixes), to help set up the Emerging side’s 277-8 at the end of their allotted 50 overs. He, along with Simon Khomari (51 off 76, 2 fours), were the leading run scorers, while USSA’s Keith Dudgeon continued his good bowling form, taking 4-54.
In reply, USSA’s top and middle order batsmen dominated the innings. Zubayr Hamza once again led the charge, scoring 94 from 118 balls (5 fours, one six), followed by 30s from Thomas Kaber (37), Matthew Christensen (35) and Janneman Malan (34).
Malan and Christensen shared a 56-run partnership for the second wicket after the loss of Yassar Cook (3), followed by 46-run and 43-run partnerships between Christensen and Hamza, as well as Hamza and Wihan Lubbe (25). The former then continued to keep the scoreboard ticking steadily with an 87-run, fifth-wicket stand with Kaber that took USSA to the brink, but the Emerging side had a late burst of inspiration, pinching five wickets in the final five overs for an impressive win in the end.
Mbulelo Budaza (3-40) was the pick of the bowlers, followed by du Plooy, who took 2-12 in two overs. Sibonelo Makhanya took the game-changing wicket when he denied a dangerous-looking Hamza his ton in the 48th over.
Du Plooy, who was named Man of the Match, is relieved to finally get runs after a dry-spell in the first two matches.
‘It’s always nice to contribute,’ he said. ‘It’s been a tough couple of games (for me), I only scored two runs in the last two games, so it’s been pretty tough mentally, but it just goes to show what a great game cricket is. You’re never truly down and out, next game you can score a hundred if you never give up and never doubt yourself.
‘Credit must be given to the USSA side though, they really dominated their batting innings, they had the momentum pretty much throughout the match but one or two wickets at key moments can change a game around,’ du Plooy concluded.
USSA will look to bounce back today when they take on Sri Lanka Emerging at Tuks Oval.
Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images