Raynard van Tonder scored 250 for Free State in a CSA 3-Day Cup clash against Gauteng on Thursday but failed to make the Knights’ starting XI for their 4-Day clash with the Warriors, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
The talented No 3 batsman saved his side from defeat in Free State’s 3-Day Cup clash against Gauteng.
The 20-year-old hit his first double-century, going on to score an unbeaten 250 runs in a match that saw no other batsman score more than Dilivio Ridgaard’s 53, the next best score being Sean Whitehead’s 34 down the order.
After both of Free State’s opening batsmen lost their wickets in quick succession, the former SA U19 captain was left to battle alone in answering Gauteng’s first-innings 344.
Van Tonder built his side’s innings to 462-9 before declaring after 137.2 overs.
The youngster was honest in his individual assessment, despite being evidently upset by his side not being able to churn out a victory.
‘It felt really good and tiring,’ Van Tonder told SACricketmag.com.
‘My dream is still to score a Test double-century one day, so scoring my first double-century in first-class cricket is definitely a step in the right direction and I’m very proud of it.’
Van Tonder (whose first-class average is 40.05 after 20 innings) continued by explaining how he stayed calm while the rest of the Free State lineup collapsed around him.
‘I just stuck to my routines before every ball and made sure I was focused on the ball every time the bowler started his run-up and, before I knew it, I was on 99.
‘I tried to keep numbers out of my head and just focused on the process, which was having a clear mind when the bowler was running in and then watching the ball as closely as possible.
‘After being injured for quite a while now and missing games, I was really motivated to make a big score and also the week before this game I was 12th man and I really didn’t enjoy that and told myself if I get myself in I’m going to make sure I go big, so when wickets fell around me I just made sure I stayed focused.’
Van Tonder proved his ability in the best way possible and was named in the Knights’ squad to face the Warriors starting on Monday but, disappointingly, missed out on selection for the playing XI.
With the Knights reduced to 94-5 shortly after lunch on day one of their match against the Warriors, Van Tonder’s omission from the starting XI might (with the benefit of hindsight) seem like a mistake. However, the Knights’ top-order batters have all been in the runs this season so it would have been tough to pick someone for Van Tonder to replace.
On a positive note, the healthy competition for batting spots is sure to give cricket in the ‘heart of South Africa’ a boost.
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images