Day one of the T20 School Challenge National Finals kicked off on an exciting note at the Powerade High-Performance Centre.
The All-Star team had an opportunity to prepare for their curtain-raiser match ahead of the national finals through an extensive training session with team mentor and former Proteas bowler Paul Harris.
The training session was an important opportunity for the team to get acquainted with each other and establish their team’s strengths. The players got off to a great start and had time to choose Francois Fourie from Westville High School as their captain.
Day two will see the All-Star team go through more drills as Paul will decide the team lineup for their match on Sunday morning.
‘I am surprised to see how quickly the players all got to know each other and how well they play together. I think that our team will be a strong contender for Sunday’s curtain-raiser.’ said an excited Harris, who travelled to the Franchise Finals to select the All-Star Team.
After a very exciting first day of the Schools T20 Challenge, St Stithians and St Charles College are the only unbeaten teams of the tournament. The most exciting game of the tournament to date was between St Stithians College and Paarl Gimnasium, as the teams played to a tie – St Stithians won in a super over.
The St Stithians team won the toss and batted first. They got off to a quick start scoring 81-1 in the first 10 overs. Paarl Gimnasium fought back thanks to good bowling by Bradley Davids who took 2-24 and was assisted by Pieter Rossouw 0-22 and Jandre Burger 0-22. They managed to restrict St Stithians to 151-4.
Paarl Gimnasium batted sagely in their innings and tried to chase down the score without losing too many wickets. Paarl Gimnasium looked like they would win, but St Stithians captain Matthew Lieberman had other ideas. He led from the front by taking the wicket of Floors Brand for 43 which started a quick flurry of wickets that ended with Paarl Gimnasium needing 7 runs to win off the last ball.
Arno Marais faced the last ball and he managed to connect perfectly, hitting it for a six to tie the match. Matthew ended up with only one wicket for 26 runs, but his wicket was crucial in getting St Stithians back into the match.
Paarl Gimnasium batted first in the super over. They scored eight runs for the loss of one wicket. St Stithians subsequently struggled a little and needed seven runs off the last two balls of the super over. The second last ball was hit for a four by Jodi de Sousa and the last ball was hit for a six to win the match.
St Charles dominated both their matches. In the morning match, they scored 170-6 thanks to 53 from Jason Login and managed to restrict St Andrews College to 153-8, winning by 17 runs. The winning margin did not show how much St Charles was in charge of the match.
In their afternoon match, they played against local favourites Hoërskool Waterkloof. St Charles scored 141-6 (James Twycross hitting 61) and then bowled well to restrict Hoërskool Waterkloof to 126 all out. The St Charles captain Wesley Madhevere led from the front and took 3-32. St Charles won by 16 runs.
St Andrews School (Bloem) had mixed fortunes, coming up against a rampant St Stithians in the morning, who managed to win by 46 runs, then followed that up with a win against Hudson Park High School by 130 runs after hitting a mammoth 226-4 in their 20 overs and restricting Hudson Park to 96-7.
To finish off the day, Queens High School put the focus schools in the winning column in their afternoon match when they won against the Warriors champions, St Andrews College (Grahamstown), by 6 wickets.
SATURDAY FIXTURES 9:30am – 12:30pm
Hudson Park (Coastal Focus) vs St Stithians (Lions)
St Charles (Dolphins) vs Queens (Inland Focus)
St Andrews (Knights) vs Paarl Gim (Cobras)
Waterkloof (Titans) vs St Andrews (Warriors)
SATURDAY AFTERNOON 2pm – 5pm
Cross Pool Matches will be decided after the morning fixtures
SUNDAY MORNING 9:30am – 12:30pm
Cross Pool Matches will be decided after the Saturday morning fixtures
Coca-Cola All-Star Team vs CSA Selection side
SUNDAY AFTERNOON 2pm – 5pm
1st A vs 1st B
Photo: Pitchvision/Cricket South Africa