This match could well be up for an Oscar nomination, the category – drama. Although University of Johannesburg (UJ) pulled it through at the end, winning by three wickets, this match won’t be remembered as a spectacle. This was about which side could best grind out a win. UJ did just that, and in dramatic fashion as it turned out.
Ashley Cupido got off to a brisk, albeit far from explosive start after George Banda departed for a single run. Aided by Zubair Hamza, the pair dug in and carefully crafted what must have been an exceedingly irritating partnership from UJ's perspective.
After ten overs they cruised to 77/1 with a variety of gentle nudges, a loft here and a darting single there. There were only a few boundaries, coming off Cupido’s wide willow. He was the destroyer-in-chief, but one could not help but feel that they were both more hesitantly peckish than ravenously hungry.
It was Cupido who broke the budding bromance in the middle when Harry van Straaten had him caught behind for 65. Hamza, clearly the monogamous type, succumbed to Van Straaten directly after, for 62.
UWC called for the Power Play in the 18th over and lost two wickets in the first two deliveries. For fear of retribution Keith Dudgeon won't be visiting the Western Cape soon. UWC ended on 168/5 and UJ started 10/0 without a ball being bowled.
UJ looked settled at 31/0. Those 10 'gifted' runs surely helped, but after losing Delano Potgieter and Mohammed Cook within the space of a few runs, things looked to be tearing at the seams.
Neels Bergh and Ryan Rickelton then combined at the pace of about a run-a-ball each on a track that wanted to fizzle rather than produce fireworks. Matthew Parks saw it fit to end Bergh's stay at the crease for 25 (off 25). Harry van Straaten took nine deliveries to score seven runs before Ashley Cupido caught him off Dawood Christians' bowling. Not long after that, Rickelton's valiant innings of 53 from 48 came to an end.
Then, the drama began. Wickets started to tumble as the score got closer. The runs dried up and UJ were finally only able to seal it with two balls to spare. Thank goodness games are typically remembered by how they end.