Onke Nyaku © Gallo Images
Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers romped to a comprehensive victory over the Limpopo Impalas in their CSA 4-Day Challenge encounter at Recreation Ground, thanks to an Onke Nyaku double century and centuries from Blayde Capell and Sean Whitehead. The Badgers prevailed over the Impalas by an innings and 106 runs.
On day one, the Limpopo Impalas won the toss and elected to bat first. The only silver lining to their trainwreck of an innings was a brilliant 188-ball century scored by Louren Steenkamp while the rest of the Impalas batting lineup failed to score more than 40 runs.
One batter, Ntoko Mahlaba scored 38 runs and besides Mahlaba, only Morne Venter scored more than 20 runs. Steenkamp scored 19 fours and two sixes on his way to a career-best 136.
The Impalas were bowled out for 274.
In their reply, the Garden Route Badgers were unstoppable. Blayde Capell set the innings up by hitting 15 fours and a single six on his way to 126 runs from 225 balls. The Badgers had 275 runs on the board when Onke Nyaku and Sean Whitehead joined forces at the crease. The pair constructed a match-winning 336-run partnership over a period of 91.2 overs. In that period, Nyaku scored his maiden first class double century, an unbeaten 201 from 352 balls, and Whitehead scored a career-best 155 not out.
The Badgers declared their innings 611 runs for the loss of five wickets.
Ruan Haasbroek and Louren Steenkamp were the Impalas’ bright sparks in their second innings, but both their efforts were in vain. Haasbroek led the way with a patient 63 from 138 and Steenkamp continued his great run by following up on his first innings century with a half-century, 53 runs from 127 balls. But the Impalas needed more performances like the ones from those two to save the match.
That wasn’t to be.
At stumps on day three, Ruan Haasbroek was on 43 from 79 and on the morning of day four, the former North West Dragons player faced nine more deliveries to bring up his sixth first class half-century. Haasbroek’s innings came to an end in the 55th over. Haasbroek was dismissed by Sean Whitehead after scoring 63 runs from 138 balls. He had also forged a 72-run third-wicket partnership with Louren Steenkamp.
Steenkamp, the Impalas’ hero from day one, could not replicate his century-scoring innings this time around. The 25-year-old was dismissed by Onke Nyaku after recording his second first class half-century, a patient 53 that came off 127 runs. Steenkamp’s replacement in the middle, Liam Peters, barely lasted at the crease. Peters was dismissed by Pheko Moletsane for a run-a-ball 11 runs.
Moletsane struck again 3.9 overs later. The 21-year-old former St. Dominics learner dismissed Morne Venter in the 77th over to leave the Impalas struggling on 207 for six and trailing by 130 runs.
The end looked nigh for the Impalas when they lost their seventh wicket before adding a single run to the total. Sizwe Masondo, the Impalas’ number seven batter, was dismissed by Marcelo Piedt after scoring six runs from 17 balls.
The Badgers inch closer to a comprehensive victory when Sean Whitehead claimed his third wicket of the innings. The Impalas were trailing by 118 runs when Whitehead dismissed Sithembile Langa for a 22-ball four runs. Six balls later, Marcelo Piedt dismissed Ntoko Mahlaba for 11 runs to edge the home team closer to victory. Sean Whitehead administered the last rights of the innings when he dismissed Skhonza Nxasana for a three-ball duck. The Impalas were bowled out for 231 runs.
Sean Whitehead was the Badgers’ most successful bowler with four wickets from 36.1 overs. The spinner bowled nine maiden overs and conceded 79 runs. Whitehead finished the match with eight wickets for 137 runs from 54.1 overs. Marcelo Piedt and Pheko Moletsane took two wickets each in the innings.