Mncedisi Malika’s back-to-back half-centuries and Thomas Kaber’s 10-wicket haul in the match were instrumental in Eastern Cape Iinyathi’s 141-run victory over Eastern Storm in their CSA 4-Day Challenge match at Buffalo Park.
Malika scored a patient 52 from 106 balls in the first innings and then scored another 52, this time unbeaten and from only 64 deliveries, in the second innings to provide Eastern Cape Iinyathi with useful lower-order runs to rescue the match from collapsing. Thomas Kaber, on the other hand, was the star of the bowling attack. The left-arm spinner took 10 wickets for 156 runs in the match.
On the morning of day one, Eastern Cape Iinyathi won the toss and chose to bat first. But, their first innings started on a less-than-ideal note when they lost their opener early in the innings. However, the innings was rescued by brilliant half-centuries from Nonelela Yikha (58), Jerry Nqolo (67), Mncedisi Malika (52) and Jade de Klerk (55). The quartet of half-centuries propelled Eastern Cape Iinyathi to a total of 336.
In their reply, Eastern Storm limped through their first innings but benefited from half-centuries from Wesley Coulentianos and Kabelo Sekhukhune. Coulentianos scored 50 from 94 and Sekhukhune remained unbeaten on 90. Sekhukhune ran out of partners before he reached his second first-class century. Eastern Storm was bowled out for 231.
Besides Mncedisi Malika’s half-century, Eastern Cape Iinyathi’s second innings did not have many highlights. They had a few scores in the thirties and nothing beyond that. The home team eventually declared their second innings on 194 for seven with a 300-run lead over Eastern Storm.
On day four, Jason Niemand and Joshua van Heerden gave Eastern Cape Iinyathi a solid start by compiling a 70-run second-wicket partnership that helped extend Iinyathi’s lead over Eastern Storm. Niemand and Van Heerden’s partnership was broken by Tumelo Simelane in the 21st over when the left-arm spinner dismissed Niemand for 34 runs off 66 balls.
Van Heerden followed Niemand back to the dressing room exactly five overs later. The 24-year-old who debuted for Germany in their T20 match against Italy earlier in November was dismissed by Nico van Zyl for 32 off 67. Barely before Van Heerden had taken off his pads in the dressing room, he was joined by Jerry Nqolo . Nqolo’s knock was only nine deliveries long and added five runs to the total. Nqolo was also Van Zyl’s second wicket of the innings.
4.5 overs after Nqolo’s dismissal, it was official that Eastern Cape Iinyathi’s middle order was collapsing. The hosts lost their fifth wicket when Thomas Kaber was dismissed for a 14-ball 10 runs. Kaber was dismissed by Simelane. 9.3 overs later, Eastern Cape Iinyathi lost their sixth wicket when Nonelela Yikha was trapped lbw by Van Zyl after scoring 34 from 63 balls.
Eastern Cape Iinyathi had a 9.4-over period of respite before they lost their seventh wicket to Divan Posthumus’ bowling. Posthumus broke Mncedisi Malika and Joshua Dodd’s 40-run partnership when he dismissed Dodd for 13 runs. Malika, on the other hand, scored his second consecutive half-century moments later. Malika faced 64 deliveries to bring up his half century.
Eastern Cape Iinyathi declared their second innings on 194 runs for the loss of seven wickets. Mncedisi Malika was unbeaten on 52 and Joshua Dodd was not out for two runs from two deliveries. They had a 300-run lead.
Nico van Zyl was Eastern Storm’s most successful bowler with three wickets from 16 overs. Van Zyl bowled five maiden overs and conceded 35 runs. Tumelo Simelane was the second-best bowler with two wickets from 12 overs.
Eastern Storm found themselves in choppy waters in the first over of their second innings when Wesley Coulentianos was dismissed for a first-ball duck by Phaphama Fojela. That was a less-than-ideal start for the visitors. Nine balls later, Eastern Storm was in greater trouble when they also lost Mark Pearse for two runs. Pearse was dismissed by Sinovuyo Ntuntwana.
Eastern Storm was still in need of 265 runs to secure victory when they lost their third wicket. Kabelo Sekhukhune was the next man to head back to the dressing room after scoring 19 runs from 42 balls. Things went from bad to worse when Joshua Dodd claimed his second wicket in the over, two balls after dismissing Sekhukhune when he dismissed Shane Dadswell for a two-ball duck.
Aron Visser and Mangaliso Mosehle managed to fend off the Eastern Cape Iinyathi’s bowling attack for 12.3 overs, during which they added 62 runs to the total. Their partnership was broken by Phaphama Fojela when he dismissed Visser for 36 from 71 balls. Divan Posthumus replaced Visser at the crease, and the 28-year-old pacer faced 16 deliveries and scored two runs before he was dismissed by Thomas Kaber in the 31st over.
Five overs after Posthumus’ dismissal, Jade de Klerk took the important wicket of former Proteas player Mangaliso Mosehle. Dismissing Mosehle exposed the Eastern Storm’s tail to the Eastern Cape Iinyathi bowlers. Mosehle was dismissed for a 62-ball 45 runs.
Mykyle Pillay and Amaan Khan provided a rearguard defense against the Eastern Cape Iinyathi bowlers that lasted for 9.5 overs. In that period, they only added 15 runs to the total. The partnership was broken by Thomas Kaber when he dismissed Khan for eight runs from 32 balls.
Tumelo Simelane, the next batter in, faced six balls in his innings. The pacer scored only two runs as he tried to keep a settled-looking Mykyle Pillay as Eastern Storm fought to save the match. Simelane was dismissed by Thomas Kaber. Only 4.3 overs later, Kaber claimed his fourth wicket to deny Eastern Storm a draw. Kaber dismissed Nico van Zyl after the number 11 batter had faced 15 deliveries for his eight runs from him. Pillay remained unbeaten on 23 from 72.
Thomas Kaber was Eastern Cape Iinyathi’s best bowler with four wickets from 19 overs.
Kaber bowled four maidens and conceded 77 runs. Kaber ended the match with 10 wickets from 40 overs for 156 runs. The match figures are now Kaber’s best bowling figures in a match, his previous best was 9-118 runs.